Juventus vs Sporting – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Thursday 13th April 2023
As part of our Europa League Predictions, we take a look at the first leg of the quarter final tie between Juventus and Sporting. Sporting haven’t lost away since January and won at the Emirates against Arsenal – can they get a result here? Read on with our Juventus vs Sporting prediction.
Sporting (EL and CL)
1-1 (A) (pens)
Juventus vs Sporting Match Preview
Juventus enter this tie with Portuguese club Sporting having endured a difficult season. The 15-point deduction earlier in the season for financial breaches has seen them down in 7th place with 44 points and 8 points from the top four. Winning this competition may be their only way into the Champions League next season, and they desperately need the financial boost. Allegri’s men have won seven of their previous nine in Serie A, only falling to defeat against the two Rome clubs. They also drew 1-1 in the Coppa Italia with Inter and have only lost three times at home this season.
The Turin club dropped into the Europa League after a bitterly disappointing Champions League campaign, losing five games in a group comprising Benfica, PSG and Maccabi Haifa. They dispatched Nantes reasonably easily in the knockout round and then comfortably beat Freiburg 3-0 on aggregate. However, they know this tie against Sporting will likely be more complex than what they faced in those games.
Sporting travel east to Italy in excellent form. Indeed, the Portuguese club have taken 19 from the last 21 points in the Primeira Liga, with the only blip being a goalless draw with Gil Vicente. They haven’t lost since the middle of February and haven’t lost away for over three months. However, they are five points away from third place in Portugal. Like Juventus, their place in next season’s Champions League may rest on this Europa League campaign (only the top three qualify in Portugal).
Sporting, as with Juventus, were eliminated from the Champions League. They were close to qualifying for the knockout round. However, they ultimately finished third in a pool containing Spurs, Frankfurt and Marseille. From there, Ruben Amorim’s men destroyed Midtjylland 5-1 on aggregate, thanks to a thumping 4-0 win in Denmark. In the last round, they came up against one of the favourites, Arsenal – with the Gunners having one eye on the Premier League title, Sporting were able to draw in Lisbon and London and then win the tie on penalties. As with the first leg of that tie, midfielder Ugarte is out here, and he will be a massive miss for Sporting.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Pogba, Paredes
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Cabral, Ugarte, Paulinho
Juventus vs Sporting Lineups (Predicted)
Juventus (3-5-1-1 / 3-5-2): Szczesny; Sandro, Bremer, Danilo; Kostic, Rabiot, Locatelli, Fagioli, Cuadrado; Di Maria; Vlahovic
Sporting CP (3-4-3 / 3-4-2-1): Adan; St, Juste, Coates, Diomande; Reis, Goncalves, Morita, Esgaio; Trincao, Chermiti, Edwards
Juventus vs Sporting Analysis
Juventus Prefer to Counter
The midfield battle should be engaging in this game. We think Allegri’s side will prefer to concede possession and play on the counter – even at home. Despite not being as strong a league as Serie A, Sporting have averaged 63 per cent possession in Portugal this season. Compare this to 49 per cent for Juventus in Serie A. Even without the suspended Ugarte, we foresee Sporting being able to retain the ball and try taking the game to the Old Lady (which, to be fair, Allegri will be happy with, as stated).
Morita is a tireless worker in midfield for Sporting, and Goncalves is a very tricky and technical player. With Edwards and Trincao sometimes dropping to deeper positions, we think Sporting can have more of the ball. Juventus may have numerical superiority in midfield with Locatelli, Rabiot and Fagioli – however, their natural game and instincts are not to dominate the ball and try to weave pretty patterns of play. Hence, while they will have moments where they try to take the game to Sporting, we see the Portuguese club patiently probing and trying to break Juventus’s organised defence down.
Invention Within the System (Juventus) vs Expansive Play (Sporting)
Juventus will line up with their tried and trusted three at the back. This system gives them more defensive solidity and allows them more numbers in midfield, though at the expense of having more players in attacking areas. This sacrifice is one Allegri is willing to make because of the ability of his wing-backs and the way that Rabiot or Fagioli can join the attack from midfield in transition. Indeed, Kostic and Cuardado are flyers from wing-back and have the pace, energy and athleticism to get up and down the line. They will constantly go forward and try to enter the box or deliver crosses for Vlahovic to attack. The tall Serbian has struggled recently, but if he is served chances, there is a good chance he will convert.
Di Maria will, as ever, be a very creative presence in the hole behind Vlahovic or when he joins him. The Argentinean’s dribbling, passing and shooting are all of the highest quality – indeed, the veteran has already demonstrated his brilliance in the latter with his curling effort against Nantes earlier in the competition. Sporting will often press, so someone who has the trickery to beat a player or do something different is invaluable – Di Maria provides this. The tricky Chiesa and strikers Kean and Milik are possible reinforcements from the bench.
Sporting will likely take the game to Juventus (as we stated). Their flair players, such as Goncalves, Trincao and Edwards, must be inventive and find gaps to open up Juve. Goncalves will play in midfield, but he is an excellent player bursting forward into attacking areas with his dribbling, ability to wriggle free in tight spaces, shooting and penetrative passing. His goal from the halfway line against Arsenal was a particular highlight. He is likely Sporting’s best player and is responsible for trying to find a way to breach Juventus.
Edwards and Trincao are both very fast, tricky dribblers who can beat players and create a moment from nothing. Amorim will want to see their quality and invention to break down the stubborn Juventus centre-backs. If they can get shots away or passes into Chermiti, they will try to beat Szczesny. However, the Juventus goalkeeper has been playing well recently and won’t be easy to get past. Sporting must shoot well and take their chances when they arrive, as Juventus will make things difficult for them. The full-backs will also be vital for width and delivering crosses into the box.
There are no easy games to predict at this stage of the competition, as – to put things in crude terms – no mugs remain in Europe. The teams who have got this far are here on merit, and this should be a tight contest which could turn on a mistake or a moment of magic. We anticipate Sporting having more of the ball and trying to break down Juventus, but this might play into the Italians’ hands. Quite often in football, the ability to soak up pressure and burst into space on counter-attacking transitions proves very effective (Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson made a career out of it). Therefore, the tactical setup may suit Allegri’s side.
Hence, we are going to go for a slim Juventus victory. They may do enough to get a goal or two on the counter, and Sporting may fall to a defeat. We see Sporting scoring themselves, though, and still being well in contention for next week’s return leg in Lisbon. Juventus still have the better players on average, and the quality of a team can play a big difference in these later rounds of a knockout competition. However, Sporting are a talented team too. With both teams relying on the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League, they will likely go hell for leather in what could be a close-run thing.
Juventus 2-1 Sporting
Juventus vs Sporting Betting Tip – Juventus Odds:
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