Juve return to the Allianz Stadium having seen their unbeaten start torn to shreds in Sassuolo; meanwhile, their southern counterparts have just posted a third win from five and are yet to be defeated
Travelling to Reggio Emilia after posting three wins from their first four league games, Juventus seemed to be on track for a start to the season that would put them back in Scudetto contention after several years of decline.
They may still mount a push for the title in the months ahead, but the nature of their collapse – which ended in dark comedy, with Federico Gatti scoring a scarcely believable own goal during second-half stoppage time – will worry head coach Max Allegri.
Though the Bianconeri twice fought back from behind – after their downfall began with the ball slipping through Wojciech Szczesny’s gloves for Sassuolo’s opener – they then fluffed their lines in the closing stages at Mapei Stadium, where the hosts ultimately ran out 4-2 winners; earning just a second Serie A victory of the season.
Curiously, it had been the first time Allegri fielded the same starting lineup for consecutive games over a remarkable 112-match period of constant change, but his team could not replicate the form that saw them beat Lazio so convincingly just seven days earlier.
More positively, Federico Chiesa remains fit and scored again at the weekend, and the Italy striker will now pit himself against one of the most effective defensive set-ups in the division.
While Juve shipped four in 90 minutes at Sassuolo, Tuesday’s hosts have conceded the same total in five games so far, so it may not prove a straightforward task to put things right at the first opportunity.
Preview: Juventus vs. Lecce – prediction, team news, lineups
In fact, Lecce have leaked only one goal this month, during a successful spell that defies both expectation and precedent – the Puglian club currently sit above Juventus inside Serie A’s top four.
They may have been beaten twice by the Bianconeri last season, losing 2-1 in Turin as recently as May, but new coach Roberto D’Aversa has led Lecce to a tally of 11 points from their first five league fixtures, and they remain unbeaten at this stage of a top-flight campaign for the very first time.
In addition to reaching the Coppa Italia’s second round, the Giallorossi have held Monza and Fiorentina to draws and beaten Lazio, Salernitana and Genoa – the latter succumbing to relentless pressure to lose 1-0 at Via del Mare on Friday.
After their Ligurian visitors had gone down to 10 men during the first half, Lecce patiently pressed for a winning goal, and Remi Oudin’s deflected strike in the 83rd minute ultimately proved enough to split the sides.
Summer signing Nikola Krstovic also came close with a number of attempts, and D’Aversa will now hope that such fine form can continue over the coming days, when his team face two particularly tough tests.
After tackling Juve, Lecce are bound for Naples on Saturday, when they go toe to toe with last season’s champions. As of now, though, they have nothing to fear from either Napoli or Turin’s famous Old Lady.
Juventus Serie A form:
Lecce Serie A form:
Lecce form (all competitions):
We say: Juventus 2-1 Lecce
Lecce have not won away to Juventus since 2004, and even after making a fast start to the Serie A season, that trend is not likely to end this week. All of the Giallorossi’s victories have come at Via del Mare, and Juventus will be sufficiently fired up in front of their own fans to bounce back from their weekend embarrassment.