Juventus welcome high-flying Sampdoria to the Allianz Stadium on Saturday, as the Serie A leaders look to extend their gap at the top of the table.
Having come off the back of a disappointing draw away at Atalanta, the Bianconeri will be looking to bounce back to winning ways when they entertain Marco Giampaolo's side.
With Sampdoria's impressive form this season finding them in fifth, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri will know his side face a serious threat to their unbeaten domestic start.
Check out 90min's preview for Saturday's game below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 29 December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||11:30 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||Allianz Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Eleven Sports 1|
After getting sent off against Atalanta, Juventus' Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur will be missing for Massimiliano Allegri. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Miralem Pjanic found themselves placed on the bench for the midweek game and will likely come straight back into the first team line-up on Saturday.
Portuguese right-back Joao Cancelo will once again be missing after undergoing knee surgery before Christmas, with the versatile defender Mattia de Sciglio expected to fill in once again.
Barring two long term absentees in central defender Vasco Regini and midfielder Edgar Barreto, Sampdoria have a relatively clean bill of health going into Saturday's game. The biggest worry for manager Giampaolo is the tightrope being run by influential duo Dennis Praet and Gaston Ramirez, who are both just a yellow card away from serving suspension.
|Juventus||Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Can, Khedira; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo.|
|Sampdoria||Audero; Sala, Andersen, Colley, Murru; Praet, Ekdal, Linetty; Saponara, Quagliarella, Caprari.|
Head to Head Record
In the 34 meetings between the two sides, Juventus have had the upper hand on 15 occasions. Rather surprisingly however, Sampdoria have managed victory in nine games over their more illustrious rivals and have been more than competitive whenever the sides have come up against each other.
But last season's corresponding fixture was not one of those times for Sampdoria fans as Juventus ran out comfortable 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Mario Mandzukic, Benedikt Howedes and Sami Khedira. Allegri's side were completely dominant and ruthless in attack, with the visitors unable to even mount a serious threat going forward .
After securing qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League with relative ease, Juventus picked up where they left off in Serie A with two impressive victories against both Torino and AS Roma. However, after Allegri decided to rest Cristiano Ronaldo, the Bianconeri slipped up away to Atalanta with the former Real Madrid star having to be brought off the bench to help Juventus scrape a point.
The real surprise package of the Serie A season, Sampdoria's imperious form in recent weeks has seen them rise to fifth in the table, and just two points off fourth-placed Lazio. Encouragingly for Blucerchiati supporters, their side have fired in 16 goals in their last six games, with veteran Italian forward Fabio Quagliarella rolling back the years to deliver some inspirational performances for the side.
Here's how each team has performed in the last five fixtures:
|Juventus 2-2 Atalanta (26/12)||Sampdoria 2-0 Chievo (26/12)|
|Juventus 1-0 AS Roma (22/12)||Empoli 2-4 Sampdoria (22/12)|
|Torino 0-1 Juventus (15/12)||Sampdoria 2-0 Parma (16/12)|
|Young Boys 2-1 Juventus (12/12)||Lazio 2-2 Sampdoria (08/12)|
|Juventus 1-0 Inter (07/12)||Sampdoria 2-1 SPAL (04/12)|
Whilst the Bianconeri may have slipped up against Atalanta, Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri will point towards the resting of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Miralem Pjanic as mitigating factors. With both set to return to the starting line-up on Saturday, Juventus should be more cohesive and creative in midfield, and far more devastating up front.
Having lost here 3-0 last season, Sampdoria will be looking to put a marker down about the huge strides they have made this campaign. With Marco Giampaolo fostering a more attacking-minded approach, expect there to be goals for both sides in this game; but, Juventus, with Ronaldo in their ranks from the start, should still have enough to see off their high flying opponents.
Prediction: Juventus 3-1 Sampdoria