Juventus FC

The Juventus lineup that should face Cagliari on Sunday

Max Cooper
Mar 13, 2021, 4:30 PM GMT
It might be bad news for this guy
It might be bad news for this guy / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images
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It's time to get up off the mucky turf, dust yourselves down and go again, Juventus - you've got a title to defend!

The Champions League dream may be dead for another year, but I Bianconeri do have a Coppa Italia final in the bag, and sit 'only' 10 points behind leaders Inter in the Serie A table, albeit with a game in hand.

Andrea Pirlo Juve GIF by JuventusFC - Find & Share on GIPHY

While it may sound like a bit of a chasm, stranger things have happened in football. And no matter who is in charge in Turin, they can put the heebie-jeebies up any team which finds itself top of the pops approaching the final twists and turns.

So, it's looking unlikely, but it's not over - not by a long stretch. But who should Andrea Pirlo deploy to shake off Juve's European hangover when they travel to Sardinia to take on struggling Cagliari? 90min runs through the Italian coach's best XI for the trip south.

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Leonardo Bonucci
Bonucci will wear the captain's armband again / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Wojciech Szczesny (GK) - Juve like to rotate Gigi Buffon in when they can, but with the veteran goalkeeper not fully fit, big Woj will keep his place between the sticks.

Danilo (RB) - Juan Cuadrado did a good job on the offensive against Porto, but his energetic performance may well have caught up with him. Danilo has always stepped up when given the chance, so that right-back spot is in safe hands.

Leonardo Bonucci (CB) - When Giorgio Chiellini is missing, Bonucci is the next in line to steady the ship. He's not a huge favourite in Turin, but he does a job.

Matthijs de Ligt (CB) - The best defender at the club right now? Almost definitely. Although he lacks the experience of his colleagues, De Ligt is a world class centre-back in the making. A giant at the heart of their backline.

Federico Bernardeschi (LB) - He's basically retired as a winger, but Bernardeschi looks a much more professional prospect at left-back, where he can do less harm (to his own team) in the final third. Surprisingly solid at the back, though. Another of Pirlo's masterstrokes.

2. Midfielders

Weston McKennie
McKennie recently made a permanent move to Juve / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Weston McKennie (CM) - McKennie has been brilliant since he joined the club from Schalke. Can also play wide if Pirlo wants to shift from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, or vice versa.

Arthur Melo (CM) - After a slow start to his Juve career, Arthur is beginning to look like the midfielder they thought they'd bought.

Adrien Rabiot (CM) - With Rodrigo Bentancur and Aaron Ramsey unavailable, Rabiot will start (possibly by default).

3. Forwards

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ready to burst into tears / Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Federico Chiesa (RW) - The star of the tragedy in midweek. Chiesa was the unluckiest man on the field to end up on the losing side, and he'll be full of rage and determination to get his revenge on Sunday.

Alvaro Morata (ST) - Much like Ramsey, Juve look a much more balanced and dangerous team with Morata in their midst. The Spaniard leads the line well and has struck up a nice relationship with Chiesa. Watch this space.

Cristiano Ronaldo (LW) - Whether he needs a rest or whether Juve would be a more threatening prospect without him, they simply can't afford to drop Ronaldo this weekend, with all the rumours which continue to swirl. He'll have plenty of fire in his belly too, so expect a double hat-trick from the Portuguese legend.

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