Assessing the Juventus Lineup That Should Start Against AS Roma

Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonardo Bonucci
Juventus put in a strong display against Sampdoria | Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

As far as initial tests go, Andrea Pirlo has passed with flying colours.

The collective eyes of Italy - nay, the world - were on Juventus' curtain raiser under their new charismatic coach, as many doubters and critics drew their blades, ready to stick the knife in at the first sign of trouble.

They're still waiting.

I Bianconeri cruised to a 3-0 victory over Sampdoria, with goals from Dejan Kulusevski, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo seeing off their battered opponents. It was such a commanding display, that Samp coach Claudio Ranieri believed the scoreline flattered his own side, as Juve carved out chance after chance in a commanding and free-flowing display.

But that game has gone, and a new challenge awaits. And that challenge comes in the shape of AS Roma. Stadio Olimpico has not been a happy hunting ground for Juve in recent years, who have struggled against I Giallorossi in the Italian capital. Pirlo comes up against Roma at their lowest ebb however, in crisis behind the scenes, and with a shed load of injuries on the pitch.

Paulo Fonseca's side drew 0-0 with Hellas Verona last Saturday, but that result was replaced with a 3-0 defeat, after they fielded the ineligible Amadou Diawara, whom they had forgotten to register.

Paulo Fonseca
Fonseca's reign at Roma is seriously in doubt | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

So, chaos then? Yep. Two clubs at differing ends of the spectrum, but this is football. And we just don't know. Pirlo will have Alvaro Morata available after arriving from Atletico Madrid this week, and Paulo Dybala could be set to return to the fold after an injury layoff.

But who should start? 90min takes a look at Juventus' probable lineup for Sunday evening.

Goalkeeper & Defenders

Wojciech Szczęsny (GK)

Wojciech Szczesny
Authority in a picture | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

The most straight-forward selection on the pitch, Wojciech Szczesny walks into the team and will perform his usual duties of marshalling this typically-tight defence. He'll have a tougher job on his hands again however, as Pirlo may be forced into a similarly make-shift backline to the one which shut out Samp.

Juan Cuadrado (RWB)

Juan Cuadrado
Cuadrado is now a fully-converted wing-back | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Another position which faces little competition, Juan Cuadrado will be starting as a dynamic right-wing back for I Bianconeri. The Colombian has grown into this role since his transition from a pacy winger, and he'll have his work cut out against the tricky Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Danilo (CB)

Danilo Luiz da Silva
Danilo performed well at centre-back against Samp | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

The undoubted weak-link in this defence. Danilo is not the best defender on the planet, and he has often been able to mask his deficiencies with some impressive attacking moves down the right flank. But at centre-back, he'll have no choice other than to defend stoutly against Roma, and he'll have a serious physical battle on his hands against the combative Edin Dzeko.

Giorgio Chiellini (CB)

The Juventus defence never looks quite the same without Giorgio Chiellini at its heart, and his long-term absence last year certainly did Maurizio Sarri no favours. The ageing Italian is back with a bang however, and he looks as if he could do this job for another few years.

Leonardo Bonucci (CB)

A solid defender, even if he remains pretty far from his peak. Leonardo Bonucci is nailed on to start in this team, given the number of injuries to their alternative centre-backs. His understanding with Chiellini cannot be underestimated, either. Consistency in the team breeds consistency in results.

Gianluca Frabotta (LWB)

It's so great to see a young lad come through and get some first-team action. Injuries to Alex Sandro and the sale of Luca Pellegrini to Genoa may have fallen in his favour, but Gianluca Frabotta will do everything to make this spot his own. The young Italian starlet put in a solid performance against Samp, and it should be enough to confirm his place in the starting lineup once more.

Midfielders

Weston McKennie (CM)

Weston McKennie
McKennie did a good job on his Juve debut | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Another excellent debut display for I Bianconeri. Weston McKennie adapted immediately to the rigours and demands of Serie A, and the biggest compliment you could pay is that he never looked out of place in the Juve midfield. It goes without saying then, that he's done enough to merit another start against sterner opposition.

Adrien Rabiot (CM)

Adrien Rabiot
Rabiot has the chance of a fresh start this year | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

If you had to categorise Adrien Rabiot's first season as a success or a failure, you'd have to concede it was the latter. But Sarri's departure has presented the Frenchman with another opportunity to stake a claim as a worthy contender. It has to be said, he looked far more confident under his new coach. Rabiot's physicality and tireless engine give him all the makings of a top Serie A midfielder - time to unlock it.

Aaron Ramsey (CAM)

Yes, we know, everyone looked a lot better on Sunday. But how much better did Aaron Ramsey look? The Welshman could have had a hat-trick of assists for the wasteful Cristiano Ronaldo against Samp, although they did finally combine successfully in the dying minutes. More of the same please, Rambo.

Forwards

Dejan Kulusevski (ST)

A remarkable talent, and ready to show it off on the biggest stage. Dejan Kulusevski announced his arrival at the Italian champions with a clinically-taken goal inside the opening quarter of an hour, and he went on to deliver a wonderfully creative performance. Although he won't be playing as an out and out striker, he'll be the closest thing they have to one on the night.

Cristiano Ronaldo (ST)

As will this man. Ronaldo did bag loads of goals last year, but there was the feeling that he never quite fitted into the team - or the team just wasn't right. Either way, here's hoping Pirlo knows how to get the best out of him, and he'll tuck away those chances without a second thought. Timeless.