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

:Headline: Preview: Juventus vs. Cagliari - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:384988: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Monday's Serie A clash between Juventus and Cagliari, including team news and predicted lineups.

Juventus will return to action after the winter break in Italy with a home game against Cagliari in Serie A on Monday afternoon.

The Old Lady are currently second in the table behind Inter Milan, while Cagliari are sixth having collected 29 points from their first 17 matches of the 2019-20 campaign.

Match preview

Juve could be forgiven for thinking that a record of 42 points from 17 matches would be enough to top the table at this stage of the campaign. The Old Lady are second in the division behind Inter, though, with Antonio Conte's side enjoying an excellent season to date.

The two teams are actually level on points at the summit, though, and with Inter not in action until Monday night away to Napoli, Juve will have the chance to lead the division on Monday afternoon.

The Old Lady recovered from two disappointing results against Sassuolo and Lazio in the early stages of December to overcome Udinese and Sampdoria in their last two Serie A matches. Maurizio Sarri's side ended 2019 with a defeat, though, as they suffered a 3-1 loss to an impressive Lazio in the Super Cup.

Juve will fancy their chances of returning to winning ways on Monday, and a victory would lead them nicely into a huge game away to Roma next weekend. It does not appear that Inter will be going anywhere this term, meaning that there should be a fascinating battle for the title.

The Old Lady have not actually lost to Cagliari in Serie A since November 2009, but the visitors will enter the match full of confidence having performed above expectations during the 2019-20 campaign.

Indeed, a record of eight wins, five draws and four defeats has seen Cagliari collect 29 points, leaving them in sixth position in the table, just two points behind fifth-placed Atalanta BC.

The Red and Blues finished 15th in Serie A last season, while they have not posted better than ninth in Italy's top flight since the 1992-93 campaign.

Rolando Maran's side were stunning in the latter stages of September, October and indeed November as they continued to put points on the board, but they have only won one of their last five in Serie A.

Indeed, Gil Isolani have not triumphed since overcoming Sampdoria at the start of December, drawing one and losing two of their last three, including back-to-back defeats to Lazio and Udinese.

Cagliari have also lost each of their last six Serie A meetings with Juve, including a 3-1 defeat when they travelled to the Italian champions during the 2018-19 campaign.

Juventus Serie A form: WWDLWW
Juventus form (all competitions): DLWWWL

Cagliari Serie A form: WDWDLL
Cagliari form (all competitions): DWWDLL

Team News

Juve will again be without the services of Giorgio Chiellini and Sami Khedira through injury, while Rodrigo Bentancur is unavailable through suspension.

Juan Cuadrado is expected to return at right-back having been named on the bench against Lazio, while Paulo Dybala should again support Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.

Adrien Rabiot, who is being strongly linked with a move away from Turin, is also pushing for a spot in midfield due to Bentancur's absence, although Aaron Ramsey is another option for Sarri in the middle of the park.

As for Cagliari, Fabio Pisacane's suspension could open the door for Luca Ceppitelli to start, while Nahitan Nandez and Robin Olsen should return having both served bans.

Alessio Cragno, Leonardo Pavoletti, Valter Birsa and Lucas Castro are all still injured, though.

On-loan Inter Milan midfielder Radja Nainggolan will feature in an advanced area, while Joao Pedro, who has 11 league goals this season, should again join Giovanni Simeone in the final third.

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, De Ligt, Sandro; Matuidi, Pjanic, Rabiot; Dybala; Ronaldo, Higuain

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Olsen; Cacciatore, Ceppitelli, Klavan, Pellegrini; Nandez, Cigarini, Rog; Nainggolan; Pedro, Simeone

We say: Juventus 2-0 Cagliari

Cagliari are capable of making it an uncomfortable 90 minutes for Juve, but Sarri's squad is fairly healthy at the moment, and we expect the home side to have too much for their opponents on the afternoon.

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