WE'VE sealed another stellar signing for the season with Serie A don Paolo Bandini bringing his expertise to the site thanks to our partner Unibet.

Paolo is an Anglo-Italian sportswriter who pens a superb weekly Serie A column for the Guardian and his other credits include ESPN, the BBC and TalkSport as well as making regular appearances on the Football Weekly podcast.

He's a Trevi Fountain of knowledge and we're delighted to have him on board. Here he previews the Friday night fixture.

Fiorentina v Juventus (Fri 7.45pm)

A delicate game at a delicate moment for Juventus. Their rivalry with Fiorentina has traditionally been one-sided, the Viola winning just four of the last 37 encounters, yet the most recent of those victories came last January, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The Bianconeri know they cannot afford to let their guard down even as they prepare for a Champions League clash with Tottenham next week.

Perhaps that is why why Massimiliano Allegri chose to preannounce Federico Bernardeschi’s inclusion in his starting XI here. The forward is certain to face a hostile reception as he returns to face his former club, representing the team that Fiorentina fans hate the most. Allegri, not usually a man to show his hand in advance, might hope that such tension will sharpen his squad’s focus all around.

What he will do with the rest of his team remains to be seen. Juventus are riding high after a 7-0 rout of Sassuolo, but the thigh injury sustained by Blaise Matuidi in that game feels like a major blow. The Frenchman’s defensive work has been fundamental in allowing the manager to adapt his team into a 4-3-3. Will he need to tweak that formation again, or can he get by with Claudio Marchisio or Rodrigo Bentancur slotting in?

Fiorentina were on a five-game winless run before their victory at Bologna last weekend. But they are close to full strength and will not want for motivation. At the least, I believe Matuidi’s absence will leave opportunities for them to puncture a defence that has conceded just once in 15 games.

Paolo's Tips

 

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Anglo-Italian Paolo Bandini writes about Italian football for the Guardian and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.

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