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Dec 18, 2021 at 5pm UK

Dominguez (29')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Morata (6'), Cuadrado (69')
McKennie (29')

Preview: Bologna vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Bologna vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Bologna and Juventus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Approaching the halfway point of the Serie A season, Juventus sit outside the European places, so they visit mid-table Bologna on Saturday seeking three morale-boosting points.

While Juve were held to a draw by promoted Venezia last weekend, their hosts suffered a second straight loss to slip down to 10th.

Match preview

Despite making light work of a favourable fixture list over recent weeks, Juventus have rarely convinced observers that their longstanding weaknesses had been ironed out. Further dropped points against a promoted side last Saturday, then, came as another blow to their hopes of establishing a winning run to aid their pursuit of a top-four finish.

Though attacking talisman Paulo Dybala went off injured early on, Juve took the lead at Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo through a neat flick by Alvaro Morata, but Mattia Aramu's reply shortly after the break proved enough for Venezia to secure a 1-1 draw.

Max Allegri's men therefore sit seventh in the Serie A standings - level on points with Roma, but 12 adrift of the summit - so cannot afford many more slip-ups against the league's lesser lights.

This weekend's opponents would baulk at such a description, given their ambition of finishing in the top half this term, but Bologna are a side that Juventus have generally dominated in recent times.

Indeed, during their streak of nine consecutive Scudetto-winning seasons, Juventus went unbeaten against Bologna in Serie A - winning 13 and drawing three of their 16 meetings - and even in the course of a mediocre 2020-21 campaign, they beat the Rossoblu home and away by an aggregate score of 6-1.

Allegri will be aware, though, that his side must sharpen up in front of goal if they want to return home with maximum points, as their scoring record is not only inferior to Bologna's but is also weaker than any other team inside the top 12.

After four wins from a five-game period culminating at the start of this month, Bologna have since suffered successive losses - at home to Fiorentina and then at Torino last weekend - that slows their momentum ahead of a second clash with a Turin club in the space of a week.

Their first ended in a 2-1 defeat to the more modest Granata last Sunday, when they conceded midway through both halves - with only Riccardo Orsolini's penalty as a minor consolation.

As three of their next five fixtures are against Juventus, Inter and Napoli, hopes of getting back into contention for an improbable top-six position during the next month will rest on causing an upset or two.

While the Emilian side still start as underdogs in the first of those games this Saturday evening, they take on a faltering Old Lady, and have a good home record behind them - having won five of their eight matches at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara this term.

Coach Sinisa Mihajovic questioned not only his players' attitude but his own tactical input in post-match briefings following the Torino defeat, but both aspects will have to improve if they are to post a sixth home win of the season.

Bologna Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Juventus Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Juventus form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

While Juventus still have some significant injury concerns, both Dejan Kulusevski and Weston McKennie returned to full training this week and will be available to feature against Bologna. However, Danilo, Aaron Ramsey and Federico Chiesa remain sidelined for the Bianconeri.

Manuel Locatelli missed training due to illness in midweek, but should be ready for Saturday, while Paulo Dybala hopes to be passed fit after being replaced by Kaio Jorge just 12 minutes into the draw with Venezia. Scans have shown no serious muscular injury, so the mercurial striker will be assessed daily.

If Dybala and Kulusevski are ready to start, both could feature in a 4-2-3-1 system which Max Allegri has favoured since the end of last month - with Alvaro Morata set to start at its tip.

Bologna, meanwhile, have Nicolas Dominguez back from suspension, and he is likely to start in a three-man midfield as Sinisa Mihajlovic reverts to a 3-5-2 formation.

Dominguez's midfield colleagues Jerdy Schouten and Kingsley Michael are both out due to injury for the home side, who will retain maverick Marko Arnautovic up front.

The Rossoblu's six-goal top scorer should be joined by Musa Barrow and will be supported by Roberto Soriano from an advanced midfield role.

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel, Theate; De Silvestri, Svanberg, Dominguez, Hickey; Soriano; Barrow, Arnautovic

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, De Ligt, Pellegrini; Rabiot, McKennie; Cuadrado, Bernardeschi, Jorge; Morata

We say: Bologna 1-2 Juventus

Having lost two of their last three home games, Bologna have seen their hopes of turning Dall'Ara into a fortress diminished, and their record on Emilian soil is set to be dented further by another defeat on Saturday.

Neither of these sides are prolific scorers, but Juve's attacking threat is the more heavyweight of the two - if still only intermittently effective - which should swing the result their way.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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