Juventus to field fringe figures vs Tottenham – only three Serie A starts this season

Stefano Sturaro has been tipped to start for Juventus when they take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Tuesday night, according to Calciomio.

The Italy international has been far from a regular in the team this term, having started just three of the Serie A champions’ 24 league matches.

However, the report claims that manager Massimiliano Allegri is likely to line up in a 4-3-3 formation to account for Tottenham’s attacking prowess and could turn to Sturaro given that Blaise Matuidi is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

The 24-year-old joined the Old Lady from Genoa in 2014 but despite never fully establishing himself in the side, he is considered a dependable performer when called upon.

With Tottenham in good form in the Premier League having defeated rivals Arsenal at the weekend, Juventus are clearly taking no chances and Sturaro’s energy and defensive discipline may be used to counter the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen in the advanced midfield positions.

Elsewhere, Paulo Dybala has not played since early January and will not be risked for the first leg of the last-16 tie.

This game represents another test of Tottenham’s progress over recent seasons after they beat off competition from Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund to top their group before Christmas.

The North Londoners have proved a surprise package in the Champions League this term but their Italian counterparts are vastly more experienced at this level.

Spurs will need to take their chances and as always will look to the goalscoring prowess of Harry Kane, who netted six times in Group H, to spearhead their efforts.

The proposed inclusion of Sturaro shows that Juventus are not taking this game lightly and it could prove something of a tactical battle at the Allianz Stadium.

Following Tuesday’s clash, Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham men face an entirely different proposition with a weekend visit to Rochdale in the FA Cup.

They then round off the month with a Monday night trip to struggling Crystal Palace on February 26.