Serie A: Top 6 Set to be Stirred: Can Juve keep 4th?
The next 2 months is set to be interesting ones in the world of Serie A. The top 6 is set to be mixed up with teams having to win to have a shot at qualifying for next year's tournaments. Lazio and Fiorentina are within 2 matches of the top 6 and while Roma and Atalanta are within 8 points of a Juve team that has an interesting rest of the season. With a Roma loss, Atalanta loss, Fiorentina win and Lazio win, we could see a totally different top 5 and 6. Here is a look at the Top 8 in Serie A:
Juventus is in 4th and they, similar to Barcelona in La Liga, are coming off the loss of a world class player that left their team with their jaw dropped. Juve's main pieces on their offense is star striker and Fiorentina transfer Dusan Vlahovic who has 21 goals in 29 appearances and star forward Alvaro Morata who has 8 goals in 29 appearances. Vlahovic was sent home recently by the Serbian National Team who said he had a groin problem, though, but Juve also has some other incredible offensive players. Star forward Paulo Dybala has 8 goals in 21 appearances, but has had 1 foot out the door for the past 12 months and looks like Ronaldo leaving and him not getting the contract he wants may have convinced him to leave the club. Morata is in the same boat and could transfer out in the next year, but Juve have a good backup. Rising star forward Frederico Chiesa has had 2 goals and 2 assists in 14 appearances, but has high expectations because he was one of the key parts to Italy's Euro 2020 Championship Team. Chiesa seems to be having an off year and Juve looks to get some good players on the transfer market if they do lose one of their star forwards. Along with Chiesa, Moise Kean and Frederico Bernardeschi have been good subs at the forward position. Young American star Weston McKennie is one of the starting midfielders for Juve, achieving 3 goals in 20 appearances before he suffered an injury that put him out until early May. Italian rising star Manuel Locatelli has had 20 appearances at the midfielder spot, collecting 3 goals and 4 assists. Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot have been great midfielders for Juve with Cuadrado having 4 goals and 2 assists in 28 appearances, and Rabiot having 2 assists in 25 appearances. Matthijs de Ligt leads Juve on defense with 2 goals in 25 appearences and was in ESPN's Top 5 Young Footballers. Italian veterans Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini help lead the team and are great defensemen for the club with Chiellini having 14 appearences and Bonucci having 3 goals and 1 assist in 17 appearences. Danilo and Alex Sandro have also been big on the defensive side for Juve, Danilo with 1 goal and an assist in 17 starts and Sandro with 21 appearances. Wojciech Szczesny has started 27 games this year for Juve as their keeper and has allowed 22 goals.
Juve has some work to do if they want to secure 4th place and secure a spot in next year's Champions League. Juve has 4 tough matchups out of their last 8 games and are playing 3 teams fighting hard to avoid relegation. Juve opens April with a game against Inter Milan who haven't lost in over a month and are 1 point in front of Juve. Inter have better stats than Juve and are leaders in shots on goal and are 2nd in possession percentage in Serie A. Both sides will fight hard and the game could be a thriller or a low scoring draw. After facing Inter, Juve will face Cagliari, led by forward Joao Pedro, who has 10 goals and 4 assists. 17th place Cagliari hasn't beaten Juve in their last 5 matches and also Juve leads them in stats across the board. The game will most likely be in Juve's favor, but Cagliari is fighting hard to stay in Serie A and anything could happen. Juve then faces 12th place Bolonga, lead by Musa Barrow who has 5 goals and 4 assists. Juve leads Bolonga in a lot of stat categories and much like Cagliari, Juve has won the last 5 games against Bolonga. It should stay the same, but Bolonga could make a late push for the top 10. After playing in the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina, Juve closes out April with a tough game against Sassuolo, led by Domenico Berardi who has 14 goals and 12 assists, and is one of the best teams on the offensive side in Serie A. Sassuolo is 5th in Shots on goal (Juve is in 6th) and 2nd in total dribbles where a team player beats the opponent (Juve is 3rd) and 2nd in percentage of dribbles won with 59% (Juve is 5th). Even though Juve is better defensively, it is a toss up game. The next 2 games are against Venezia and Genoa, 2 teams fighting to get out of the bottom 3 and who are also on the bottom 3 in defensive and offensive stats. Despite that, both teams are due to win and could make a push against Juve. The last 2 games are against Lazio and Fiorentina which could be interesting because those teams could make the push for 5th and 6th. Lazio is led by Ciro Immobile who has 21 goals in 25 appearances. Lazio hasn't beat Juventus since December 22, 2019 and their push for the top 6 will give them a lot of motivation to beat Juve. To finish the season, Juventus faces Fiorentina who had been led by Vlahovic before he was transferred to Juventus. Fiorentina is 3rd in possession percentage with 56% and lead Serie A in percentage of duels won with 52.64%, but lead the league in percentage of shots by the opposition that ended in a goal by the opposition, with 13.92%. Juve is 18th with 7.49%, an excellent percentage. I think Juve will go 4-2-2 in their last 8 games, finishing with a record of 21-7-10 and a points finish of 73 points.