Juventus travel to Sampdoria’s Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Wednesday evening in their final Serie A fixture of 2019.
Locked in a tense battle for the title with Inter, Maurizio Sarri will be hopeful of heading into the winter break on a high and his side travel to the Italian coast on the back of Sunday’s comfortable win over Udinese.
Sampdoria, conversely, have been locked in a relegation battle for the majority of the 2019/20 season. However, former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has overseen a reversal of their fortunes since his late October arrival and guided them out of the relegation zone with Saturday’s 1-0 victory over local rivals Genoa.
Where to Watch?
|When is Kick Off?
||Wednesday 18 December
|What Time is Kick Off?
|Where is it Played?
||Stadio Luigi Ferraris
|TV Channel/Live Stream?
||Premier Sports 2
Juventus are without long-term absentees Giorgio Chiellini and Sami Khedira, while Gianluigi Buffon could continue to deputise in goal if Wojciech Szczęsny fails to recover from his shoulder injury in time.
The injured trio aside, Maurizio Sarri has a full-strength squad at his disposal – bolstered by the return of Miralem Pjanic and Juan Cuadrado from suspension.
Ranieri’s biggest selection headache comes in the centre of midfield, where Sampdoria recently lost Jakub Jankto, Andrea Bertolacci and Edgar Barreto to injury.
||Audero; Thorsby, Ferrari, Colley, Murru; Depaoli, Vieira, Ekdal, Ramirez; Quagliarella, Gabbiadini
||Buffon; Danilo, Bonucci, De Ligt, De Sciglio; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Ronaldo, Higuain
Juventus travelled to Sampdoria as Serie A champions on the final day of the 2019/20 season, but Massimiliano Allegri’s final game as I Bianconeri manager was not to end happily. Late goals from Gregoire Defrel and Gianluca Caprari consigned Juve to a 2-0 defeat at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Earlier that season, Juventus had run out 2-1 winners in the reversal of this fixture – courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo double either side of Fabio Quagliarella’s penalty.
Dropping points in the 2-2 home draw with Sassuolo was followed by a 3-1 defeat at Lazio’s Stadio Olimpico, as Juventus suffered a mini-blip and enabled Inter to briefly steal the initiative in the title race. However, Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Udinese and impressive first-half performance indicated that the domestic slump is now behind them.
Claudio Ranieri has lost just three of his nine games since taking charge, winning three and temporarily guiding Sampdoria out of the relegation zone. A 4-3 defeat to Cagliari aside, the old head has added steel and resilience to a team that was far too easily beaten in the early stages of the season.
|Genoa 0-1 Sampdoria (14/12)
||Juventus 3-1 Udinese (15/12)
|Sampdoria 0-1 Parma (8/12)
||Bayer Leverkusen 0-2 Juventus (11/12)
|Cagliari 4-3 Sampdoria (2/12)
||Lazio 3-1 Juventus (7/12)
|Cagliari 2-1 Sampdoria (5/12)
||Juventus 2-2 Sassuolo (1/12)
|Sampdoria 2-1 Udinese (24/11)
||Juventus 1-0 Atletico Madrid (26/11)
Despite the Ranieri mini-revival at Sampdoria, it’s hard to see beyond a Juventus victory on Wednesday evening. With Inter looking set to push them all the way in their bid to retain the title, Sarri can’t afford a slip up ahead of the winter break.
Prediction: Sampdoria 0-2 Juventus