Cesena vs. Juventus: How the Bianconeri Will Line Up in Pre-Season Friendly
Juventus take on newly-promoted Cesena on Wednesday, in what is the first real chance Massimiliano Allegri has to assess the players at his disposal. The players taking part in the World Cup only returned to training this week, so the new coach has spent little time with some of the most important members of his squad.
Having little match fitness, those stars are unlikely to feature heavily, meaning it could be a weak-looking line-up when this fixture gets underway. Over the following pages is a look at the most-likely XI to take the field.
Marco Storari is expected to start the match, given that Gigi Buffon is among those with only a few days of training under his belt. The club captain may make an appearance, but long-time reserve Rubinho may also see some action here.
Storari has proven to be a solid and reliable deputy for Buffon since his arrival in 2010, and that should continue next term.
Allegri opted to field a four-man back line in his first outing as Juve boss, and that is expected to continue on Wednesday. In the previous encounter against Lucento, the coach went with a defence comprised of Marco Motta, Frederik Sorensen, Angelo Ogbonna and Luca Barlocco.
Matteo Liviero may replace the latter, while Pol Garcia may also step into the defence for this fixture, with the majority of the defence having only recently returned. Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Stephan Lichtsteiner could also make their pre-season debuts at some point.
Allegri retained Antonio Conte’s midfield three, selecting Simone Padoin, Luca Marrone and Simone Pepe last week, given he was bereft of his major stars. Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal are all now available, although the fitness of the latter remains questionable.
The coach may also opt to hand new signing Roberto Pereyra his debut, although he could also be deployed further forward to support a central striker.
Against Lucento, Allegri fielded a 4-3-2-1 formation, and that is likely to be carried over to the Cesena match. Among his forwards, the coach has no players returning from World Cup duty and is free to select the regular attacking players at his disposal.
However, injury has robbed him of Alvaro Morata, and the Spanish striker could be essential to his new system, as discussed previously here. Wednesday should see Carlos Tevez and Sebastian Giovinco feature behind Fernando Llorente in what could be an exciting attacking trident for the Bianconeri.
Pereyra, Pepe and Kingsley Coman could all also see some playing time in attack as Allegri searches for answers for his preferred formation.