Sports Mole previews Sunday’s pre-season friendly between Juventus and Atletico Madrid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Concluding their pre-season preparations for the 2022-23 campaign, Juventus and Atlético Madrid go head-to-head in their final friendly fixture on Sunday.
The European heavyweights convene in the unlikely environs of Tel Aviv, as part of Juve’s summer tour, and both will seek one last win to boost morale before the competitive action gets under way.
Having drawn with Barcelona and then lost to Real Madrid in their two most recent friendslies – both of which took place in the USA – Juventus complete the holy trinity of La Liga by facing Atletico this weekend, eight days ahead of their Serie A opener.
A long and lucrative journey around the globe now comes to its end in Israel, as Juve coach Max Allegri fine-tunes his squad for the demands of the coming campaign.
Re-signing favorite son Paul Pogba – plus bringing in Angel di Maria and Bremer; the latter joining from city rivals Torino as a replacement for Bayern Munich-bound Matthijs de Ligt – has sparked hopes of a revival among the Bianconeri faithful, following two years of decline.
Finishing fourth in successive seasons may have at least secured Champions League football, but falls well below the high standards demanded at Turin’s top club.
Set to face Sassuolo in their first game of the new league season on August 15, Juventus also lost the Coppa Italia final to Inter in May, so only had the Supercoppa Italiana to show for a 2021-22 campaign that began with Cristiano Ronaldo‘s dramatic departure for Manchester.
While Pogba’s acquisition makes up for a distinct lack of star power at the Allianz Stadium since CR7 strode through the exit, the maverick midfielder’s recent knee injury rules him out of action for at least a month. Therefore, Juve will have to look elsewhere for inspiration on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid’s pre-season programme, meanwhile, has been particularly successful in terms of results, though such matters are less important than building form and fitness before the meaningful action kicks off next weekend.
Diego Simeone‘s side have dismantled both Numancia and Cadiz in recent weeks, scoring four goals on each occasion; sandwiching a 1-0 win over Manchester United at the end of last month.
Third in La Liga last season – some 15 points behind champions and arch-rivals Real Madrid – Atletico also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League by eliminating United in the last 16, before being eliminated by Manchester City.
By way of improving their chances of going closer in both competitions this term, Los Colchoneros recently secured the signing of Nahuel Molina from Udinese followed Samuel Lino – who was immediately loaned to Valencia – and Axel Witsel to the Metropolitano this summer.
Thought uncertainty surrounds the future of Alvaro Morata – with the Spain striker’s former club Juve possibly still interested in bringing him back to Turin – an increasingly confident Joao Felix scored the winner against Manchester United, and Antoine Griezmann also remains at the club.
After years of squad-building, several other attacking options are available to Simeone too, as he takes his side to the Middle East for their final run-out before tackling local rivals Getafe in their first game of the La Liga season.
Juventus pre-season form:
Atlético Madrid pre-season form:
Apparently on the verge of acquiring Serbia winger Philip Kostic from Eintracht Frankfurt, to increase their options up front, Juventus are set to field two summer signings on Sunday, as Bremer starts at centre-back and Angel di Maria features in a new-look attack.
Paul Pogba has decided to deal with his meniscus injury by taking a more conservative therapy route, which will see the midfielder stay sidelined until September, having ruled out surgery that could have threatened his participation at Qatar 2022.
In addition to Pogba’s absence, Max Allegri will be without Weston McKennie due to a shoulder injury and long-term absentee Federico Chiesabut star striker Dusan Vlahovic is on the road to full fitness after his first pre-season outing against Real Madrid.
Atletico, meanwhile, have switched formation and personnel throughout their warm-up program to date, and are expected to rotate their resources in Tel Aviv too.
After starting Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel as part of a back three on Thursday, Diego Simeone is likely to bring back Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic this weekend, and the unpredictable coach could also make changes up front.
An attacking trident of Joao Felix, Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann played against Cadiz, but against sterner opposition, Geoffrey Kondogbia may instead be recalled to stiffen up the midfield.
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, Bremer, Sandro; Di Maria, Zakaria, Locatelli, Pellegrini; Kean, Vlahovic
Atlético Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Molina, Gimenez, Savic, Reinildo; Llorente, Kondogbia, De Paul, Carrasco; Cunha, Correa
We say: Juventus 1-2 Atletico Madrid
As Atletico arrive at Bloomfield Stadium unbeaten in pre-season to date, and are now approaching full fitness, they can take advantage of Juve’s injury problems and difficulties in defense: in the post-Chiellini and De Ligt era, the Bianconeri have conceded twice in both of their last two games.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
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