Juventus host Serie A side Crotone at the Allianz Stadium at the weekend, hoping to bounce back after a shock defeat to Sampdoria last time out.
Off the back of a disappointing 3-2 loss away at Sampdoria last week, Juventus will be looking for a win against Crotone to close the gap between themselves and high flying Napoli. Over the years, Juventus have dominated Serie A, but this season as a result of their poor form and the improvement of those around them, they now find themselves third in the league.
A crunch match against Napoli follows their fixture this weekend, which is possibly the Turin side's biggest game of the season so far.
As for the visitors, in their second ever season in Serie A, Crotone have had an indifferent start to the season so far. After finishing 17th last season, Davide Nicola's side will be hoping for the same outcome this season, as they look to establish themselves as a normal figure in Italy's top division.
Currently sitting in 15th, it will be an uphill task away from home against a strong Juventus side who are looking for their 7th league title in a row.
On 21 May, Juventus won a record sixth consecutive title with a game in hand following their 3-0 win over Crotone at the Juventus Stadium.
Juventus started the game in dominating fashion as they did for the majority of the season, and it wasn't long before they opened the scoring. In the 12th minute, great work from Colombian Juan Cuadrado set up striker Mario Mandzukic who stroked the ball home from the centre of the box.
Shortly after, a brilliant free-kick from Argentine superstar Paulo Dybala flew into the top corner and Juventus had one hand on the Serie A trophy. As you would expect Juventus continued to dominate the game, with the away side creating very little.
In the 83rd minute an unlikely name on the score sheet appeared as Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro headed home superbly from a Paulo Dybala cross. The game ended 3-0 and Juventus claimed their sixth consecutive Serie A title. As for the visitors, they avoided relegation in their first season in Italy's top flight with a 17th place finish.
Higuain vs Cordaz
If Crotone are to get anything out of the game at the weekend it will heavily depend on goalkeeper Alex Cordaz. The Crotone number one has kept only three clean sheets this season, and will inevitably be busy come the weekend.
As for Gonzalo Higuain, he will be looking to add to the eight goals he has already scored this season. The Argentine was very poor against Barcelona in the Champions League, and strugglers Crotone will seem the perfect team for Higuain to regain his confidence.
Dybala vs Mandragora
Midfielder Rolando Mandragora has been Crotone's best player this season, and will need to be on top form when he comes up against Argentine superstar Paulo Dybala at the weekend. The Italian midfielder is a very good reader of the game, with interceptions and tackling being his main strengths.
As for Paulo Dybala, he is a well-known star of the game, but this doesn't mean that it is easy to stop him. The attacker has a wand of a left foot, and is slowly becoming one of the best players in the world.
In 13 games in the league this season, the former Palermo man has 12 goals and 2 assists, which is staggering numbers for this stage of the season. The outcome of the game will depend on whether Mandragora can keep Dybala quiet, if not the Argentine will run the game for his side with victory a likely outcome.
Italian giant Giorgio Chiellini is sidelined with a thigh injury. His comeback date is unknown, but he will definitely miss the game against Crotone at the weekend.
Chiellini out of today’s game due to a muscular problem.— Khaled Al Nouss (@khaledalnouss1) November 22, 2017
No new injury concerns for Crotone, with centre-forward Marco Tumminello still sidelined until the new year. However, if attacker Ante Budimir picks up a yellow at the Juventus Stadium at the weekend he would be suspended for one game, as he has already totalled up 4 yellows this campaign.
Predicted Line Ups
Juventus (4-2-3-1): Buffon - Barzagli, Benatia, Rugani, Sandro - Pjanic, Matuidi/ Cuadrado, Dybala, Costa - Higuain.
Crotone (4-4-2): Cordaz - Samprisi, Simic, Ceccherini, Martella - Nalini, Barberis, Mandragora, Stoian - Trotta, Budimir.
Juventus must win the game if they are to retain hope of clinching yet another title this season, and a victory for the home side is the most likely result. Crotone will not make it easy for the Turin side, but with the likes of Dybala and Higuain looking to prove a point a big win for Juventus is on the cards.
Juventus 3-0 Crotone