As Juventus prepare to face Ajax in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final tie on Wednesday night, Massimiliano Allegri certainly has a few things to ponder when choosing his strongest XI.
With both teams in excellent form in their respective leagues, the stage is set for another enthralling Champions League clash, with Cristiano Ronaldo poised to return from injury and play.
However, after Moise Kean’s dramatic winner for Juventus on Saturday, it will be interesting to see who Allegri favours up front as his team prepare to take on a strong Dutch side.
Here’s how the Italian’s team could look against Ajax.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – Former Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny will most likely be between the sticks for Juventus for their trip to Amsterdam. The Poland international has earned himself 23 league appearances this season, and will surely start against Ajax on Wednesday night.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – The Portugal international has firmly established himself as Juventus’ first choice right back ahead of Mattia De Sciglio and is expected to start on Wednesday.
Daniele Rugani (CB) – The young Italian has been given more game time lately, particularly since compatriot Giorgio Chiellini has been injured and wasn’t included in the squad for Wednesday. Having played averagely during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Milan, Rugani will have to improve if he hopes to keep his starting spot going forward.
Leonardo Bonucci (CB) – For the seasoned Bonucci, the trip to Ajax will be a challenge he should be able to step up to, given his reputation as one of the centre backs in the world.
Alex Sandro (LB) – Although the 28-year old certainly made some mistakes against Milan at the weekend, his technical ability and Champions League experience could still see him earn another starting place again on Wednesday.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – After putting in some excellent crosses against Milan on the weekend, the Uruguayan continues to make a name for himself as he grows into his role at the club. His presence on the field and ability to create has earned him 27 appearances this season.
Blaise Matuidi (CM) – The World Cup winner is a massive asset for Juventus, with his tireless running and endless defensive contributions making him priceless to Allegri.
Miralem Pjanic (CM) – The pass master in this Juve team, the 29-year-old will be expected to pull the strings in midfield and will be key to the Serie A champions’ hopes of qualifying for the semi finals.
Federico Bernardeschi (RW) – Arguably the strongest performer out of the starting XI during Saturday’s victory, there is a reason Bernardeschi is touted as one of Italy’s hottest prospects. The talented attacking midfielder has been given freedom in recent games and has begun to get himself more directly involved in goals. He could certainly offer something good on Wednesday night.
Mario Mandzukic (ST) – Having recently signed a new deal Turin, Mandzukic’s contribution certainly cannot be underestimated. He’s only scored one goal in this year’s Champions League, but expect him to be heavily involved against Ajax.
Cristiano Ronaldo (LW) – Although the Portuguese star is 34, his appearance to goal record this season – 19 goals in 26 league games – speaks for itself. Despite Moise Kean’s recent star performances for Juve, the youngster will perhaps serve his side better as a substitute late on. In a match where Juventus can certainly be challenged by the Dutch side, Allegri could certainly look to UCL veteran Ronaldo to help guide his team to victory.