Serie A, Parma vs Juventus - Match Prediction
In what's been widely billed as the season where Juventus will potentially face their sternest title challenge so far, it's imperative that they must start well. The opening Serie A weekend sees them face a potentially tricky opponent in Parma and the Bianconeri have to make their pedigree count.
Parma started last season well, but as important players in Gervinho and Inglese suffered injuries, the performances dipped as well. They only got promoted last season and barely survived the drop, but having signed a few names in the summer, Parma have strengthened and should give it a proper go this time around.
They may have lost a crucial component of their defence in Bastoni who seems likely to stay at Inter Milan this season, rather than return on loan. However, they're fully expected to line up either in a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 formation primed for counter-attacking football.
Juventus must begin well
The Bianconeri recruited well in the summer but some strange decisions have seen them let go of Joao Cancelo and Moise Kean. Further, they have failed to see a few players off leaving them with a bloated squad. They will also begin with their boss Maurizio Sarri recovering from pneumonia and unable to appear pitch-side for the first couple of fixtures.
None of this amounts to a crisis, but if Juventus are unable to come away with a win against Parma, there will be talk of catastrophe.
The starting line-up seems fairly straightforward for Juventus who are likely to start in a 4-3-3, featuring Matthijs De Ligt and Chiellini at the heart of defence with Pjanic sitting in front of them. Rabiot and Matuidi the likeliest duo ahead of him and will be joined by Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi in attack. Gonzalo Higuaín should be leading the line.
Given the sheer quality packed in the side, Juventus will expect to win, but it won't be easy.
Match Prediction: Parma 1-3 Juventus