The Bianconeri were beaten in their Champions League opener in Paris, and have won just two of their six games so far; while their visitors arrive in Turin only three points and three places below them in the standings.
While Juventus have defied some dire displays to remain unbeaten in the league, their all-too-apparent flaws were laid bare against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night, as they fell to a 2-1 loss in their first Group H fixture.
Behind by two goals within 22 minutes, Juve rallied a little after the interval at the Parc des Princes, and a more direct approach towards twin strikers Dusan Vlahovic and Arkadiusz Milik tested PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma on a couple of occasions.
However, following a dull draw at Fiorentina last week, Max Allegri‘s men are again drawing criticism for a lack of cohesion and – perhaps more pressingly for their fans – an inability to string together a strong set of results.
Juventus have scored in the first 10 minutes during each of their last three Serie A matches – with Vlahovic obliging from early set-pieces against both Roma and Spezia – but seem to run out of steam fairly quickly and sit back on their heels soon after.
Only Spezia have had fewer shots on target in the second half of games than Juve’s paltry four, so they will certainly seek to improve their performance in that regard after the break on Sunday.
Still just four points off top spot before the sixth round gets under way, though – and having seen star signings Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba both sidelined for either much or all of their opening games – all is not lost for the club who last lifted the Scudetto in 2020.
Not surprisingly, given the gulf in stature between the two sides, Juventus have won four of the six previous top-flight fixtures they have contested against Salernitana, and the Granata failed to even score on five of those occasions – including a 2-0 loss in March, on their most recent visit to the Old Lady.
Davide Nicola‘s side have since pulled off a miraculous escape from demotion to Serie B, and then started the current campaign with a healthy tally of five points from their first four matches before hosting Empoli on Monday.
Though they fought back from behind to lead heading into the final 10 minutes, Salernitana let their advantage slip at Stadio Arechi and ultimately had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Nonetheless, their haul of six points at this stage took them 10 matches to earn last term, and with loan signing Boulaye Dia enjoying a bright start to his Calcio career – scoring three goals in four appearances – the Campanian club reside in mid-table.
Eyeing a trio of winnable games to follow their trip to Turin, no doubt ex-Torino boss Nicola will be prioritising fixtures against Lecce, Sassuolo and Verona rather than Sunday night’s forbidding engagement. As a boyhood fan of Juve’s city rivals, though, he would love nothing better than causing a major upset.
Following defeat in midweek, and with an already high-stakes Champions League clash against Benfica to come next Wednesday, Max Allegri is set to rotate his squad substantially.
Manuel Locatelli is expected to return in midfield, after starting on the bench in Paris, while Alex Sandro could come in on the left if Juventus revert to a back four; the latter’s Brazilian compatriots Danilo and Bremer may also be rested after featuring heavily throughout the campaign so far.
Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa are still short of returning to the fray, while Angel Di Maria and Wojciech Szczesny are both out too – after impressing in the Champions League, Mattia Perin should continue to deputise for the latter in goal.
Up front, Dusan Vlahovic is intent on becoming just the fourth Juve player to score in five consecutive home appearances in Serie A since 1994; joining Alessandro del Piero, David Trezeguet and Cristiano Ronaldo in an exclusive club. The Serbian striker has bagged three goals and laid on an assist in his two previous encounters with Salernitana.
Meanwhile, the visitors’ Boulaye Dia has become the first player to score three times in the club’s first five games of a Serie A season – he will join either Federico Bonazzoli or recent loan signing Krzysztof Piatek up front in a 3-5-2 formation.
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Perin; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Rugani, Sandro; Miretti, Paredes, Locatelli; Kostic, Vlahovic, Kean
Salernitana possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Bronn, Gyomber, Fazio; Candreva, Coulibaly, Maggiore, Vilhena, Mazzocchi; Dia, Bonazzoli