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Key players: Juventus vs Genoa

Often, the very first ties of the Coppa Italia and other European domestic Cups, are considered as a means to give the second fiddle players a playing time. But with the type of coach Pirlo is and the current injury and COVID woes Juve has, Coach Pirlo is expected to name some of the biggest names in his star-studded squad. Below we look at some of the players who we think will be key in guiding Juve through to the quarters of the Coppa Italia.

  1. Merih Demiral

The fan-fav and all-rounded physical defender Demiral, has seen playing time hard and far between since his arrival to Juve in the summer of 2019. Despite his ACL injury being the fundamental reason for him to miss the majority of the games, he still doesnt seem the first choice for Pirlo in a defensive department that consists of the club legends Bonucci and Chiellini alongside the highly rated De Ligt. With COVID weakening the Juve backline its most likely he will start in the heart of the defense on Wednesday. And for teams in the calibre of Genoa sitting back and trying to catch Juve will be the obvious priority. His one-to-one ability, his speed and physique will be vital in controlling one of the few ways Genoa can pose a threat on Wednesday evening.

2. Danilo

One of the surprises of the new season, Danilo seems to have gained his Porto form back, which at that time attracted all of the European big teams and earned him a move to Real with whom he won 2 CLs and a La Liga. Playing in either sides of the anchor center back in Pirlo's 3-4-1-2(in times of possession) formation, Danilo has been outstanding throughout the campaign. On Wednesday, it wouldn't have been a surprise if Pirlo gave him a rest inlight of the upcoming Serie A six-pointer against fierce rivals Inter. But, with the absence of Cuadrado and De Ligt due to COVID, his presence in the starting line up is all but imminent. His role as an overlapping CB has given Pirlo's side a numerical advantage in opponents half several times this season. And in the Genoa game where Genoa is expected to play in a mid/low block his presence could well be vital. Alongside his significance in the attack, Danilo has been vital in the defensive-transitions. As i stated earlier Genoa could try and break quickly once Juve lost possession in Genoa's half which means a team playing with a high line like Juve could be picked up easily. Danilo's speed and game reading ability can come in handy several times on Wednesday night.

3. Dejan Kulusevski

Despite his bright start to life in Turin, Dejan is having ups and downs since. Pirlo's preference of Chiesa to the very role Kulusevski shines in may have been one of the reasons for his quiet role in the current Juve results but Kulusevski is expected to show his worth as Juve host the Genova side. His pace and ability to breakdown defensive lines will surely be needed on Wednesday as Pirlo will look to try and exploit the spaces Genoa defense will offer. His goalscoring instinct is also not to overlook as his finish against Genoa's city rivals Sampdoria in the opening match of the seasons being one of the examples to show his sheer quality in front of goal.

4. Alvaro Morata

One of the players to have rejuvenated their career this season is the Spaniard, as a return to Turin working out more than expected. His partnership in the attack with Cristiano has been deadly so far with 29 goals between them till date. Alvaro missed two of the first matches of 2021 due to an injury, failing to take part in what was deemed as a season decider game against Milan. In Wednesday Morara is expected to get back to the starting line up after featuring in the last minutes of the game against Sassuolo on Sunday. His aerial ability and brilliance in take-ons could be a threat for Genoa who proved to be a hard nut to crack when the two teams met for the last time in December.

Probable XI: Buffon; Danilo, Demiral, Chiellini, Frabotta; Arthur, Rabiot, Bentancur, Bernardeschi; Kulusevski, Morata

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