Preview: Salernitana vs. Juventus

Preview: Salernitana vs. Juventus

As their coach’s second reign continues to drift towards disaster, under-pressure Juventus travel south to take on Serie A’s bottom side Salernitana on Tuesday.

Max Allegri’s decision-making has come under further scrutiny after a week in which Juve lost at home and abroad, so only three points will do when they meet a team struggling to adapt to the Italian top flight.

Despite futile efforts at a second-half comeback, Juventus lurched to their second straight defeat – and fourth in seven games – at home to fellow top-four contenders Atalanta on Saturday evening.

The Old Lady’s frustrated fans howled with anguish inside the Allianz Stadium, as the visitors took the lead through Duvan Zapata’s 28th-minute strike and refused to relinquish it, despite Paulo Dybala hitting the crossbar with a late free-kick.

Since their Coppa Italia final victory over the same opponents back in May, former coach Andrea Pirlo’s subsequent departure for Max Allegri to return has seen no discernible improvement in fortunes for the 36-times national champions.

Indeed, Juventus have registered just 18 goals in their 14 Serie A matches this term, the lowest total in the top half of the division, as Dybala, Alvaro Morata and company have blown hot and primarily cold.

Their latest loss not only follows a humbling 4-0 defeat at Chelsea in the Champions League last week, but also comes in the wake of reverses against mid-table outfits Sassuolo and Verona, so a further failure in Salerno would be unthinkable for the Turin giants.

Sitting eighth in the standings ahead of a favourable run of domestic fixtures – and with Champions League progress already assured – Juve must surely embark on a winning run now or never if they are to revive an ailing season.

Though they will, of course, be underdogs when Serie A’s most successful club come to town, Salernitana can prepare for the visit of Juventus in good spirits, after they salvaged a precious point in the battle of the bottom two last Friday.

On-loan Sampdoria striker Federico Bonazzoli pulled the Granata level just as the game was entering second-half stoppage time, and a 1-1 draw at Cagliari was more certainly more gratefully received by Stefano Colantuono’s side than their frustrated hosts.

Nevertheless, Salernitana – currently conceding goals at a rate of over two per game – have won just two of their 14 league matches this season to collect eight points in total, and are mired in a relegation scrap as they aim to avoid an immediate return to Serie B.

Having been out of the big time for two decades, the Salerno side will simply be glad of the opportunity to welcome Juve to Stadio Arechi in midweek, and anything other than a defeat would be a bonus ahead of another tough test away to Milan next weekend.

They also tackle unpredictable entertainers Fiorentina and reigning champions Inter before the winter break, so things may have to get worse before they get any better for Serie A’s last-placed side.

Salernitana Serie A form:
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Juventus Serie A form:
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Juventus form (all competitions):
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We say: Salernitana 0-2 Juventus
It is unlikely to be an exhibition of the beautiful game, but Juventus should surely have enough in the locker to see off one of Serie A’s most limited sides in Salerno.

While the pressure continues to build on the men from Turin, a break from home turf should actually help them somewhat, given the disdainful response of their fans at the weekend.

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