Juventus Can Inch Closer to Serie A Title With Win at Relegation-Threatened Crotone

Juventus has goals at the top of the table, while Crotone is just hoping to stay in Serie A for another season.
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Juventus will travel down to the south of Italy on Wednesday evening to face relegation-threatened Crotone as the title defenders look to further stretch their lead at the top of the Serie A. 

I Bianconeri took advantage of Napoli's goalless draw against AC Milan at the weekend to stretch their lead at the top of the Serie A to six points thanks to a comfortable 3-0 home victory against Sampdoria.

Massimiliano Allegri's side will be looking to maintain that gap before they host I Ciucciarelli on Sunday in what could prove to be a title deciding clash. 

Crotone, on the other hand, are struggling towards the wrong end of the table in only their second ever season in the Serie A. Following their weekend loss to Genoa, I Pitagorici are one point and place off 17th-placed SPAL, who are set to face 16th-placed Chievo on Wednesday. 

An unexpected win against the Old Lady at the Stadio Ezio Scida could well lift Walter Zenga's side out of the relegation places. 

Juve won the reverse fixture 3-0 in Turin back in November 2017. 

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Classic Encounter:

Unsurprisingly, the two teams haven't faced off on too many occasions and so the choices for a classic encounter are rather limited. 

Last season's encounter at the Allianz Stadium made history, however, when Juventus clinched a record sixth consecutive Serie A title thanks to a 3-0 victory against Wednesday's opposition. 

Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring for the hosts on his 31st birthday, the Croatian international sweeping home Juan Cuadrado's cross in the 12th minute. Star striker Paulo Dybala then curled a sumptuous free kick into the top corner to double Juventus' lead minutes before the break. 

The visitors posed little to no threat throughout the second half before full back Alex Sandro emphatically headed home Dybala's cross to make sure of the three points and the title triumph in the 83rd minute. 

As for the visitors, despite the defeat, they managed to just avoid relegation in their first season in Italy's top flight with a 17th-placed finish. 

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Recent Form:

Crotone Home Form: WLWLDD

A mixed bag of results in their last six games at the Stadio Ezio Scida but Crotone are reliant on their home form, having picked up just eight points on their travels. 

One of those losses was against high-flying Roma who ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. Zenga would have been more disappointed with the loss to fellow relegation candidates SPAL, who clinched a 3-2 victory in Calabria. Since that defeat, however, I Pitagorici impressively thrashed top-half side Sampdoria 4-1 and beat mid-table Bologna 1-0 in their most recent home game. 

Over the course of the season thus far, Crotone have the 13th best home record in the division with five wins and seven losses in 16 games. They don't score many at home (16) but nor do they concede many (21). 

Juventus Away Form: WWDWWW

Unsurprisingly, the defending champions have the best away record in the Serie A, and recent wins away in Madrid and London have proven that they're capable of beating the best of teams on their own patch. 

In total, Juventus have won 13 of their 16 games away from the Allianz Stadium and have lost only once - that loss to Lazio in November ended an unbeaten run of 42 games in Turin. They are also the away top scorers having notched 37 goals while they have conceded just 13 times. 

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Team News:

For the home side, forwards Andrea Nalini and Ante Budimir, and midfielder Ahmad Benali will all miss the game due to injury, although their absence was expected. 

Centre back Marco Capuano is available for selection having served his suspension. 

For the away side, winger Federico Bernardeschi is still recovering from a knee injury which has kept him out for the past 11 games, while young full back Mattia De Sciglio will miss out due to a foot injury. Allegri has also revealed that Miralem Pjanic is not available for selection. 

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Potential Juventus Starting Lineup: Buffon, Howedes, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Cuadrado, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Mandzukic.

Potential Crotone Starting Lineup: Cordaz, Faroni, Capuano, Ceccherini, Martella, Stoian, Ajeti, Mandragora, Trotta, Nwankwo, Ricci.

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Juventus will be desperate to maintain their six-point lead at the top of the table but Crotone will be just as desperate to secure some vital points in their fight to stay in the top flight. 

With the amount of goals I Bianconeri tend to score away from home, Crotone will probably need score at least two in order to stand a chance of winning. However, they have only managed on average one goal per game at the Stadio Ezio Scida.

It should be a tight game, but Juventus will probably secure a narrow victory. 

Prediction: Crotone 0-2 Juventus