Soccer Italy Serie A Prediction
Sassuolo vs Juventus - Match Preview
⚽ 16 April 2023 - 16:00 GMT +0
As far as football cliché go ‘nothing to play for’ probably applies to Sassuolo, with the Neroverdi comfortably clear of relegation but also too far away from the European places to make a realistic late charge. That’s not to say there’s nothing on the line against Juventus though, as they’ve lost five of their last six Serie A (SA) home H2Hs (D1), a record they’ll want to cap off before it gets any longer.
Encouragingly, Sassuolo have seen an uptick in their home performances of late, winning three of their last five home SA outings (D1, L1), with that sole defeat coming against runaway league leaders Napoli. All three wins came by the same single-goal margin that eight of Sassuolo’s ten league victories this season also arrived by, hinting at a tight affair if the hosts are to come out on top.
A 1-0 UEFA Europa League (UEL) victory over Sporting Lisbon in midweek leaves Juventus just 90 minutes away from reaching the semi-finals, with the second leg taking place in the days after this clash. With such a quick turnaround, the Old Lady may have half an eye on Thursday’s reverse in Portugal, especially as winning the UEL is their most likely route into next season’s Champions League.
A rather large eight points separate Juventus from SA’s top-four ahead of the round, and with an indifferent run of away league results across their last six such games (W3, L3), it’s hard to predict just what Juve side will turn up. Rumours of a dressing room rift between boss Massimiliano Allegri and Leandro Paredes certainly isn’t timely either as Juventus bid to avoid successive league defeats for the first time since October 2021.
📋 Key battle: Quick out the blocks, Sassuolo’s Armand Laurienté has seen three of his four home goals this term serve as game-openers. After Wojciech Szczęsny was withdrawn with chest pains on Thursday, Mattia Perin is likely to deputise in goal for Juventus which perhaps isn’t the best omen as he’s lost four of his last five personal SA H2Hs (W1).
⚡ Hot stat: Juventus’ away league games have seen a league-low two goals scored in the opening 15 minutes.
Sassuolo vs Juventus - Match Preview
⚽ 16 April 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
A narrow 1-0 victory away to Torino saw Roma end last weekend third in the Serie A (SA) table. Yet, José Mourinho publicly acknowledged that he remains all too aware that could all change if Juventus - seventh on 44 points coming into the round - are successful with their points-deduction appeal. Roma will be keen to keep going full steam ahead but did suffer a big double setback in midweek when they not only lost 1-0 to Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals but also watched key man Paulo Dybala exit the game with an injury.
On a lighter note, Roma has been flying at Stadio Olimpico in 2023, winning nine of their 11 competitive home matches (L2), and keeping a clean sheet on all nine occasions. In fact, with the Portuguese strategist on the bench, Roma has won each of their last three top-flight matches without conceding. Mourinho has also won five of his seven personal meetings with Udinese (D1, L1) and will be eager to keep their top-four run going here.
However, it may not be so straightforward as the only defeat in that run was a 4-0 H2H thrashing earlier this season. Despite winning just three matches in 2023 (D6, L5), Udinese’s latest 2-2 draw against Monza - in which they scored a penalty in the dying moments - was enough to keep them inside the top half at the end of the round.
Playing away against teams that start this round in the top half hasn’t brought much joy to Udinese this term, highlighted by the fact they’ve picked up just two points from seven attempts (D2, L5), failing to score in four of those matches. Eight defeats in nine away H2Hs won’t boost confidence in the travelling camp either.
📋 Players to watch: Georginio Wijnaldum has already scored two second-half goals for Roma after returning from his lengthy injury layoff, with both arriving at home. Successful from the spot last time out, Portuguese forward Beto netted his tenth league goal for Udinese and remains just one short of last season’s tally.
⚡ Hot stat: Roma is the only SA side yet to lose a single point when scoring first at home this league season (W9).
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