De Ligt will return for his first game after a four-month injury break. He will team up with Demiral, Danilo to form a three-centre-back that the Italian press calls 3D. This brand new defence plus Ronaldo’s excellence, Morata will most likely help Juve beat Cagliari.
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Prior to the Serie A break due to the schedule, Juventus experienced a dramatic 1–1 draw with Lazio. Ronaldo put the Old Lady ahead in the 15th minute, but the goal in the final seconds gave the Eagles a point in Rome. This was a match in which Juve lost the full-back duo. Stars Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini remain sidelined through injury. This led coach Andrea Pirlo to unveil a brand new defence.
De Ligt has returned to training with the same volume and intensity as his teammates for two weeks now. The Dutch centre-back will play his first game for Juve after a four-month shoulder injury. This will be a return worth expecting. De Ligt was recruited by bianconeri in summer 2019. So far, however, the 21-year-old central defender has yet to meet expectations. In the context of Pirlo’s defensive crisis, De Ligt’s return is very meaningful. De Ligt needs to prove he deserves the huge sums Juve spent after an unsusiable first season.
Tonight, De Ligt will play centre-back with Merih Demiral. The youngster has started the last four rounds in Serie A and played well. Danilo will be Pirlo’s other option in the three-man defence. As such, Juve will unveil a new set of three new centre-backs this season: De Ligt, Demiral, Danilo. Throughout the week, the Italian press has called it a trio of 3D central defenders, replacing the famous BBC trio of Barzagli – Bonucci – Chiellini. In a season in which Chiellini is increasingly showing signs of age, 3D is expected to bring a new breeze to the Serie A champions’ defence.
3D brings certainty in defence, but to win Juve have to rely on ronaldo – Morata on the attacking line. Morata had just scored against Germany in the UEFA Nations League group stage in midweek. The Spanish striker is also in high form at Juve with six goals, two assists in eight games in all competitions. For Morata, Juve had a very good goalscorer in the penalty area. So did Ronaldo. Despite only returning from Covid-19, CR7 also immediately showed tremendous form with three goals in the last two rounds in Serie A. Against Lazio in the previous round, if luckier than Ronaldo scored twice. The danger of the Morata duo – Ronaldo will be Juve’s weapon of destruction against all opponents.
One more fulcrum for Cagliari to be confident that they are in decent form, the last five games in all competitions, the Sardinia island side have won four, tore their opponents’ nets 15 times. Juventus need to be very careful if they don’t want to lose the unfortunate point again.