Juventus: Predicting Starting XI for the New Serie A Season

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIAugust 13, 2012

Juventus: Predicting Starting XI for the New Serie A Season

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    Juventus will begin their Serie A title defense with some new faces next season, as they've made some strong moves in the transfer market so far.

    There could be one more addition for the club, and you can expect it to be a forward. The Turin club have been in search of a forward during the summer, but have had no luck with any of their supposed targets.

    Last season, Juventus employed a variety of formations, with 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 being the two most used, according to Whoscored.com's breakdown of their Serie A games. (You can find the formation breakdown at the bottom of page.)

    Of these two formations, it is likely that Juventus will use the 3-5-2 formation for the majority of their games this season. Most of the team picks itself and, barring injury, this predicted group will very likely be the starters.

    Here's my predicted starting lineup for Juventus' next season.

Goalkeeper: Gianluigi Buffon

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    Gianluigi Buffon is now the full-time captain for the club and is coming of a great season for both Juventus and Italy.

    Last season Buffon was back to his best as he led the league in clean sheets, with 21, and had a goals against average of 0.46 per game.

    If Juventus' opponents do get through their defense, they will find it tough to get past arguably the world's best goalkeeper.

Right Centre-Back: Leonardo Bonucci

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    Like his fellow central defenders, Leonardo Bonucci is used to the 3-5-2 system and will have no problem performing throughout the season.

    Bonucci was a regular for the team in the 2010/11season and played appeared in over 35 games last season.

    His composed play will come in especially handy with a three-man defense and he would be just as effective should the team switch to a four man setup for any given game.

Centre-Back: Andrea Barzagli

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    Andrea Barzagli played a key role for Juventus on his return to Italian football last season. He'll most likely get the starting nod, with new signing Lucio providing cover.

    He knows how to play with both Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini and that will be extremely important with only three at the back.

    His form with the club helped him gain a recall to the Italian national side and he went on to feature for Italian's four times en-route to their final appearance in Euro 2012.

Left Centre-Back: Giorgio Chiellini

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    A mainstay in Juventus' defense for the past few season, Giorgio Chiellini will complete what would be a formidable back three for the "Old Lady."

    Chiellini is one of the vice-captains for Juventus and is well-known for his hard-tackling approach as well as his usefulness while on offensive set-pieces.

    Chiellini has the ability to play both left-back as well as in central defense and would be comfortable playing as part of a four-man defense or a three-man defense. He has appeared in over 200 games for the Bianconeri since joining the club in 2005.

Right Midfield: Simone Pepe

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    Pepe's high-energy displays down the right flank have made him a valuable player for Juventus, and he is a sure starter for the club. His versatility helps as well.

    He will have competition from the likes of Mauricio Isla and Stephan Lichtsteiner but the way he improved his performance from the 2010/11 season to 2011/12 makes him a favourite to start when fit.

    Pepe scored seven goals and added seven assists for the club last season.

Central Midfield: Claudio Marchisio

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    Claudio Marchisio provided some important goals from midfield for Juventus last season, and will be looking to improve even more with the Champions League to look forward to as well next season.

    Marchisio is one of the few youth products in this Juventus team and with 39 appearances last season, he will be set to continue in his starting berth.

    Juveentus did make midfield additions with Kwadwo Asamoah and Paul Pogba. Asamoah could very well be deployed on the left side of the midfield five while Pogba is not yet ready for a starting spot.

Central Midfield: Andrea Pirlo

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    Andrea Pirlo will continue to sit in front of the back three and dictate play from deep. Pirlo enjoyed a return to top form with his 41 appearances for the club last season and will again be the key play-maker for Juventus.

    There is no one else in the Juventus squad who can dictate a game like Pirlo and, with energetic and versatile players like Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal beside him in the center of midfield, he will look to continue pulling the strings for the team.

Central Midfield: Arturo Vidal

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    Arturo Vidal had an excellent debut season for Juventus and, if his one-goal, one-assist performance in the Supercoppa Italiana says anything, he looks set to continue performing at a really high level for the club.

    Vidal provides a presence similar to Claudio Marchisio in the center of midfield and he, along with Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo, does not have much competition for a starting spot with Simone Padoin, Paul Pogba and Luca Marrone behind him.

    Vidal scored seven goals and had four assists in the Serie A last season.

Left Midfield: Kwadwo Asamoah

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    This call was a bit tough, as it leaves both Paolo De Ceglie and Reto Zeigler—left backs who could provide more defensive cover for Juventus down that flank—on the bench.

    What may work against him is the fact that he could be preferred as cover for the more central midfielders.

    Asamoah has the energy and skill to provide a similar presence that Pepe does on the right, and has already made a good case for a consistent starting spot with his goal and all-round performance against Napoli in the Supercoppa Italiana.

Forward: Sebastian Giovinco

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    Sebastian Giovinco may not have gotten on the score-sheet against Napoli, but he provided a good threat with his movement and dribbling. The "Atomic Ant" will be looking to make his mark on the club where his career began.

    Juventus resigned him after his two impressive season with Parma and will hope the diminutive forward will be able to provide similar statistics, 15 goals and 11 assists, to what he produced last season.

Forward: Fernando Llorente

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    Fernando Llorente is the only one on this list not on this team, but he has reportedly said he wants to leave (via ESPN.com) Athletic Bilboa and Juventus have been linked to him (via SkySports.com).

    The Turin club should be strong favourites for the Spanish forward, and signing him would make an already formidable-looking team even more tough to beat. He could, if all things go well, strike up a devastating partnership with Sebastian Giovinco.

    Based on his form over teh last few season, Llorente would be a much more reliable option to many of Juventus' current forwards if he can get used to the Italian game.