MX23RW : Tuesday, May 11 04:21:51| >> :120:28441:28441:
Apr 21, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Juventus Stadium
Sandro (43', 47'), de Ligt (68')
McKennie (23'), Ronaldo (90+3')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Brugman (25')
Hernani (88'), Karamoh (90+2')

Preview: Juventus vs. Parma - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Serie A clash between Juventus and Parma, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Currently at the epicentre of the storm ripping through football's elite, Juventus host relegation-bound Parma on Wednesday, with their top-four place in jeopardy after a costly weekend defeat.

Losing to close rivals Atalanta on Sunday served as a prelude to breaking news of their club's central role in the new European Super League, so Juve's players must now focus on matters at hand against Serie A's 19th-placed side.

Match preview

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Having contrived to lose against a club that last tasted league success versus Juventus back in February 2001 at the weekend, coach Andrea Pirlo would justifiably have expected questions about his long-term - and even immediate - future to dominate the Italian sports media on Monday.

However, the Bianconeri's 1-0 defeat to an Atalanta side that subsequently moved above them in the table was all but forgotten when news of their president Andrea Agnelli leading a breakaway league for Europe's 'top' clubs emerged.

As one of 12 clubs agreeing to join the posited European Super League, Juve declared that they would also leave the European Club Association, with Agnelli stepping down as the organisation's president.

Whatever their future, on-field affairs have been troubled too, as qualification for next season's Champions League - should they ultimately deign to participate - is in real jeopardy, with Napoli and Lazio lurking close behind Pirlo's fourth-placed side.

With the Coppa Italia final still to be played against Atalanta next month, there remains much on the table heading into the run-in, but Juventus have now won just three of their last six league games after crashing out of Europe against Porto.

Back-to-back wins had relieved some of the mounting pressure on rookie coach Pirlo - who recently graded his debut campaign a six out of 10 - after his team previously picked up just a point from fixtures against struggling sides Benevento and Torino.

Failing to turn over an outfit surely destined for Serie B, though, would almost certainly seal the former midfield maestro's fate, as his club head into a similarly uncertain future.

Parma manager Roberto D'Aversa pictured in June 2020© Reuters

Staring into the abyss at 3-1 down with more than an hour played on Saturday, Parma's last opponents Cagliari clawed their way back from the brink to steal a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Gialloblu and crush their hopes of a late revival in the quest to avoid demotion.

Knowing failure would make relegation a near-certainty, the side led by Roberto D'Aversa led for almost all of the 90 minutes but conceded an equaliser in the 91st, before substitute Alberto Cerri's 94th-minute headed winner sparked wild celebrations at the Sardegna Arena and left Parma with nothing but the bitter taste of defeat.

With the club's remarkable renaissance now set to be brought to a halt by relegation to the second tier - as the Crociati are 10 points adrift of safety and have played a game more than 17th-placed Torino - they must keep their heads high, faced by a tough-looking fixture list which still features Lazio and Atalanta, after this week's trip to Turin.

Following three seasons at the highest level - after their ascent from the depths of Serie D in 2015 - changes of management, scattergun transfer policy, plus a bloated and unbalanced squad have left them with some of the worst statistics in Serie A.

Returning coach D'Aversa has found no solutions to Parma's troubles at the back, with their tally of 63 goals conceded better only than bottom side Crotone, who have the leakiest rearguard in the top five European leagues. Not only that, but his team have the least effective attack - currently averaging just over a goal per game.

As they were thumped 4-0 by Juventus in their previous meeting, just before Christmas, Parma can only hope that the many distractions surrounding their hosts will prevent a repeat dose at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday.

Juventus Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Parma Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Team News

Juventus attacker Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Serie A clash with Benevento on March 21, 2021© Reuters

Juventus top scorer and Capocannoniere leader Cristiano Ronaldo suffered a thigh injury last week so sat out the loss to Atalanta, with the rare prospect of the evergreen striker missing back-to-back matches a very real prospect on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, winger Federico Bernardeschi is expected to remain absent with COVID-19 and both Weston McKennie - who picked up a back injury on Sunday - and Federico Chiesa (taken off with a thigh problem) are in doubt.

Dejan Kulusevski is therefore expected to come in for Chiesa on the left of Andrea Pirlo's flexible 4-4-2, with the versatile Danilo set to start at full-back after getting over a toe injury. In Cristiano Ronaldo's absence, Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata would again start up front.

Influential Parma midfielder Juraj Kucka suffered a thigh strain, having scored in a losing cause last time out, and may not be ready to start in Turin, while Riccardo Gagliolo (calf), Roberto Inglese (ankle), Simone Iacoponi (knee) and Wylan Cyprien (tendon tear) are among those certainly unavailable to Roberto D'Aversa.

Both Milan loanee Andrea Conti and Brazilian midfielder Hernani are struggling to make the squad too, as D'Aversa is expected to once again turn to veteran striker Graziano Pelle to lead the line - with Andreas Cornelius (one goal in 22 games) dropping out. Former Roma star Gervinho could come in for Kucka.

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Chiellini, Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur, Rabiot, McKennie; Morata, Dybala

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Laurini, Bani, Osorio, Pezzella; Grassi, Brugman, Kurtic; Man, Pelle, Gervinho

SM words green background

We say: Juventus 3-0 Parma

Parma have leaked seven goals in their two most recent outings, so will hardly be expected to keep Juve's array of attacking stars at bay for a full 90 minutes, even if they are far short of peak form - both individually and collectively.

If Cristiano Ronaldo must sit out another one, with his time at the club potentially coming to a close, Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala can step up to administer an overdue goals-injection to the ailing Old Lady.

Top tip

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Aaron Ramsey in action for Juventus on February 27, 2021
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