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Sep 22, 2021 at 5.30pm UK
Gyasi (33'), Antiste (49')
Nikolaou (85'), N'Zola (90+4')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Kean (28'), Chiesa (66'), de Ligt (72')
Morata (90+2')

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

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

Still seeking their first Serie A victory of the new campaign, Italian giants Juventus will be hoping to climb out of the relegation zone with a win against Spezia on Wednesday evening.

The hosts, meanwhile, will be looking to claim their second triumph over the Old Lady, having previously won 3-2 against them when both sides competed in Serie B back in 2007.

Match preview

After claiming their first competitive victory of the new campaign in the Champions League away against Malmo, Juventus were unable to follow that up with their first Serie A win as they could only draw 1-1 at home to AC Milan last time out.

Alvaro Morata gave the hosts the perfect start, flicking the ball over goalkeeper Mike Maignan in just the fourth minute to score his third goal in as many games across all competitions, and Juve held on until the 76th minute when Ante Rebic headed in from a Sandro Tonali corner, forcing both sides to share the spoils.

Massimiliano Allegri's second stint at the helm has not gone according to plan so far as he has overseen one of the club's worst league starts in 60 years. For only the fourth time in their history, Juventus have failed to win any of their first four Serie A matches, last doing so during the 1961-62 season.

Sunday's result has seen the Old Lady slip into the relegation zone, and they are already eight points behind both Inter Milan and AC Milan at the Serie A summit.

While the likes of Morata and Paulo Dybala continue to impress for Juve going forward in the post-Cristiano Ronaldo era, their defensive frailties will be a concern for Allegri, as they have surprisingly conceded in each of their last 18 league matches.

Their last Serie A clean sheet was in fact against Wednesday's opponents Spezia, when they secured a routine 3-0 victory in March, while Juve's other encounter with the Aquilotti last season saw them comfortably win 4-1 away from home, so with these results in mind, Allegri's men should be confident of claiming their first three points of the new campaign.

Spezia, meanwhile, claimed their first Serie A victory of the new season in dramatic fashion, when they won 2-1 in the dying embers of last weekend's encounter away against Venezia.

Simone Bastoni's 13th-minute opener was cancelled out midway through the second half by Pietro Ceccaroni, however a stunning effort from outside the penalty area from summer signing Mehdi Bourabia snatched all three points for the visitors in the 94th minute.

That result has seen Thiago Motta's men climb out of the relegation zone and move two points above Wednesday's opponents Juventus.

Spezia have begun this term with the same number of points they accumulated at this stage last season, picking up four points from as many matches.

The Aquilotti had to wait until their seventh league game last year to claim their second victory, and with tricky encounters against Juve and then Milan on Saturday to come, they may have to wait for the same period of time once again this campaign.

Spezia have conceded nine goals in their three previous meetings against Juve, and although spirits will be high after last weekend's triumph, success in midweek is unlikely for Motta's men.

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

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

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

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

Team News

Spezia centre-back Martin Erlic is set for a spell on the sidelines after he limped off in the first half against Venezia with a hamstring injury. As a result, Petko Hristov will likely come into the back three to start alongside Kelvin Amian and Dimitris Nikolaou.

Motta is expected to stick with the same 3-4-3 formation that he used last weekend and is unlikely to make too many changes to his starting lineup.

Rey Manaj will, however, be one player looking to force his way into the first XI and the Barcelona loanee could replace Janis Antiste as the central striker.

As for Juventus, they will be without Brazilian duo Arthur and Kaio Jorge, who are suffering with respective leg and thigh injuries.

Wingers Federico Bernardeschi and Federico Chiesa were both doubts heading into last weekend's game with AC Milan, however they were fit to make the matchday squad, with the latter coming on for the final 18 minutes, and both Italians will be in contention to start on Wednesday.

Allegri could stick with a flat 4-4-2 formation, which will likely see him select 37-year-old Giorgio Chiellini alongside Leonardo Bonucci in the heart of the defence, leaving Matthijs de Ligt to begin on the bench once again.

Central midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Manuel Locatelli, who have started the last two matches together, are expected to keep their places in the first XI, though the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Weston McKennie will also be pushing to start.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Zoet; Amian, Hristov, Nikolaou; Ferrer, Sala, Maggiore, Bastoni; Verde, Manaj, Gyasi

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Chiesa, Bentancur, Locatelli, Bernardeschi; Dybala, Morata

We say: Spezia 1-3 Juventus

Juventus have already failed to win two Serie A matches against sides who finished in the bottom half of the table last season, so they cannot take Spezia lightly, especially as the hosts come into this fixture in high spirits.

The Aquilotti will be dreaming of a famous triumph over the Old Lady on Wednesday, however we expect Allegri's men to come out on top at the Stadio Alberto Picco.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win 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.Away Win:data

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