Juventus are the only team in Serie A to win three matches out of three, but they have been made to work extremely hard for those nine points. Chievo, Lazio and Parma each played very well, making the Bianconeri fight for 90 minutes to secure a result, the trio all implementing a game plan designed to frustrate Italy’s most dominant side.
Eventually the Old Lady’s quality shone through, although many remain surprised that Cristiano Ronaldo remains without a goal, a drought he will certainly be looking to end this coming weekend. Sassuolo will become the latest visitors to Juventus Stadium on Sunday afternoon, undoubtedly aware of their host’s excellent record at home where they have won 36 of the last 38 league games.
But the visitors have also yet to lose this term, recording a stunning win over Inter on the opening weekend before being held to a draw by Cagliari the following week. Their most recent outing saw a sensational shoot out against Genoa, Sassuolo eventually holding on for a 5-3 victory that owed much to a ten-minute flurry before half time.
In that period the Neroverdi grabbed four goals, but boss Roberto De Zerbi is under no illusions about just how difficult a trip to Turin will be. “Juventus are the strongest side in Italy and also the strongest in Europe this season,” the Coach told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper this week. “I don’t know how you stop them.
“What I do know is that in order to get a positive result against Juve, you must hope they are having a bad day,” he continued. “Having said that, it doesn’t mean we are already beaten. We’ll give it our all. After all, we are in second place.”
While Parma and Chievo relished making life difficult for Juventus, Sassuolo have generally been a much more expansive opponent. Enjoying possession and capable of lightening fast counter attacking football, the Neroverdi have – as their victory over Inter already underlined this season – specialised in upsetting Serie A’s biggest clubs.
Max Allegri needs no reminding of that fact, his time at AC Milan brought to an abrupt end when Domenico Berardi plundered all his side’s goals in a sensational 4-3 victory over the San Siro giants back in 2014.
However, the Old Lady seems to be immune to whatever the Reggio Emilia-based side can muster, recording a perfect six wins out of six against them in Turin. Their last meeting at Juventus Stadium ended in a stunning 7-0 victory for the home side, and it is impossible to look beyond them extending that run here.
There is still value to be found in backing the Bianconeri however, and their recent record against Sunday’s opponents offers an easy insight into where it can be found. Including last season’s comfortable victory, the last six encounters between these side have yielded no fewer than 18 goals, and it is not difficult to imagine there being plenty more this coming weekend.
Indeed, Juventus have scored at least two goals in eight of their last nine home league games, while there have been over 2.5 goals scored in Sassuolo's last three away games in Serie A. That bodes well for those looking closely at this game, with 888Sport offering odds of 4/9 on there being over 2.5 goals in this clash.
Furthermore, if you think there might be a repeat of last season’s emphatic win, the same bookmaker is offering over 4.5 goals at an intriguing price of 14/5 and that may well be worth considering.
While all eyes have been on Cristiano Ronaldo this season, the Portuguese star has surprisingly been overshadowed by one of his new teammates since landing in Turin. Of course, the former Real Madrid man is dominating the headlines and is helping Juve attract record crowds every time they play, but once the whistle blows it is Mario Mandzukic who has been getting the job done.
Starting on the bench against Chievo in the opening fixture, he was brought into the side for the next two games, lining up as an orthodox striker with CR7 taking up a position on the left flank. The two men interchanged roles sporadically, but it is only the Croatia international who has been troubling the scorekeepers, netting against Lazio and registering a goal and an assist against Parma last time out.
Backing him to do so again is much more interesting that putting money on Ronaldo to end his Juventus drought with Bet365 offering odds of 15/4 on Mandzukic scoring the first goal on Sunday or 5/6 to net at any time.
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