The defending champions head into 2015-16 in search of a record equalling fifth straight Italian league title and it all starts in the J Stadium against Udinese on Sunday afternoon. Our football tipsters will also give you their views on Sunday’s match.
Juventus looking to make history after a summer of change
Coach Massimo Allegri will be glad to get the season off and running after a frenetic summer saw the Old Lady make major changes to its squad. As Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez headed for pastures new; the 48-year-old tactician has been charged with the task of overseeing a transitional period in Turin whilst still producing silverware at the end of the season. His new look strike force, Argentinian youngster Paulo Dybala and Croatian international Mario Mandžukić, have been excellent during pre-season (both scoring in the 2-0 Italian Supercup win over Lazio earlier this month) although the player brought in as an indirect replacement for Pirlo, German midfielder Sami Khedira, will have to wait until October to make his Serie A debut due to a leg injury picked up in pre-season. In the build up to Sunday’s opening game, the Bianconeri have also welcomed 24-year-old Brazilian full-back Alex Sandro to Turin after he completed a €26 million move from Porto on Thursday.
New coach, new hope for Udinese
Now under the stewardship of newly appointed coach Stefano Colantuono, Udinese will be looking for a big improvement on last year’s dismal 16th place finish as the club got pushed into an end of season dogfight to avoid relegation. The former Atalanta tactician has had to do some diligent work in the transfer market this summer on an incredibly tight budget and has managed to bring in young Colombian striker Duvan Zapata on loan from Napoli and Brazilian midfielder Marquinho on a free transfer from Roma. Once again the hopes of the tifosi will rest on the shoulders of veteran striker Antonio Di Natale. The 37-year -old former Italian international remains the heartbeat of the club as he starts his 11th season at the Stadio Friuli. Do our football betting experts give any hope to Udinese this weekend?
Juventus: The champions have injury problems ahead of this weekend’s opening fixture. Italian international midfielder Claudio Marchisio is out for at least two weeks with a thigh injury and Spanish striker Alvaro Morata is unavailable due to a calf injury. Defender Giorgio Chiellini is returning to fitness after his torn thigh muscle but it seems as though he will start on the substitute’s bench on Sunday. Coach Allegri looks set to go with a 3-5-2 system with Uruguayan defender Martin Cáceres being preferred to Roberto Pereyra in a three-man backline.
Injured: Khedira, Marchisio, Asamoah, Morata
Udinese: Colantuono has almost a full squad to choose from with only defender MollaWagué unavailable due to suspension. Udinese look set to go like for like with Sunday’s opponents with a 3-5-2 system that sees Di Natale leading the line with Frenchman Cyril Théréau. New boy Zapata will start on the bench for this one. Young Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes should be preferred in midfield ahead of the inconsistent PanagiotisKone.
Probable Starting Line-Ups
Juventus (3-5-2) Buffon; Cáceres, Bonucci, Barzagli; Evra, Pogba, Padoin, Sturaro, Lichtsteiner; Dybala, Mandžukić
Udinese (3-5-2) Karnezis; Piris, Danilo, Heurtaux; Adnan, Fernandes, Guilherme, Badu, Edenilson; Di Natale, Théréau
Head To Head
Udinese’s last win in Turin against Juventus came back in January 2011 – their four visits since then have all ended in defeat. Last season’s corresponding fixture ended in a 2-0 home win with Carlos Tevez and Claudio Marchisio grabbing both goals. The J Stadium has been a fortress for the Bianconeri since their move there in 2011 having only been beaten twice. The last team to return home with all three points was Sampdoria back in January 2013.
Juventus 1.28 Draw 5.50 Udinese 11.00
(Courtesy of Bet365)
By Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)