Juventus welcome Udinese to Turin on Friday as the Serie A leaders continue their insatiable drive towards an eighth consecutive Serie A title, having opened up a mammoth 16 point lead by beating second place Napoli 2-1 last time out.
The reigning champions strengthened prior to this season, including the acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese has not disappointed in Italy, leading Serie A with 19 goals as Juventus run away with the title.
Juve's weekend opponents Udinese have trudged through a season of turmoil and miserable form, leading to the sacking of manager Julio Velazquez in November.
Davide Nicola came in and although Udinese continued to struggle, they have managed to orchestrate a seven-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone.
Check out 90min's preview for a clash with major implications at both ends of the table.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kickoff?||Friday March 8|
|What Time Is Kickoff?||19:30 (BST)|
|Where Is It Being Played?||Allianz Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Premier Sports 1|
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has a wealth of options at his disposal although rotation could be in order as Juventus prepare for a massive Champions League round of 16 second leg clash with Atletico Madrid.
Friday will likely come too early for Douglas Costa who has returned to personal training, while Sami Khedira still faces multiple weeks on the sidelines as he recovers from cardiological surgery.
Udinese find themselves relatively depleted as key injuries and suspensions have tested the depth of Nicola's squad. Captain Valon Behrami, winger Marco D'Alessandro, midfielder Antonin Barak and centre back Samper will all miss Friday's trip to Turin through injury.
Former Juventus youngster Rolando Mandragora, a £20m summer signing for Udinese, will also miss a return to his boyhood club as he serves a suspension for yellow card accumulation.
|Juventus||Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Bentancur, Can, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo.|
|Udinese||Musso; De Maio, Troost-Ekong, Nuytinck; Ter Avest, Larsen, Sandro, De Paul, Zeegelaar; Pusseto, Okaka.|
Head to Head Record
These two clubs have met 91 times in Serie A across their rich histories. Predictably, Juventus hold a considerable historical advantage, winning 60 of those 91 while drawing a further 19, leaving Udinese with 12 victories.
Udinese's most recent triumph over Juve came on the opening day of the 2015/16 season when Cyril Thereau struck 12 minutes from time to record a famous victory in Turin.
Juventus' dominance in this fixture was punctuated with a 2-0 victory in October, courtesy of first half goals from Rodrigo Betancur and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Juventus have torn apart Serie A this season, winning 23 and drawing just three of their matches. Since the turn of the year, I Bianconeri have won six of seven league matches with the only real blemish for Allegri's men coming in the 2-0 Champions League defeat in Madrid.
Udinese's inconsistent form has seen Nicola's side engaged in a tense relegation battle this campaign, but two consecutive victories have slightly allayed those fears.
The Udine club claimed a huge 2-1 victory against fellow relegation battlers Bologna last Sunday, with Ignacio Pusseto scoring the 79th minute winner.
Here's how each team has fared over their last five matches in all competitions:
|Napoli 1-2 Juventus (3/3)||Udinese 2-1 Bologna (3/3)|
|Bologna 0-1 Juventus (24/2)||Udinese 1-0 Chievo (17/2)|
|Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus (20/2)||Torino 1-0 Udinese (10/2)|
|Juventus 3-0 Frosinone (15/2)||Udinese 1-1 Fiorentina (3/2)|
|Sassuolo 0-3 Juventus (10/2)||Sampdoria 4-0 Udinese (26/1)|
Juventus approach Friday's clash with the Serie A title all-but confirmed, and the Italian champions could be forgiven for keeping one eye on next week's titanic second leg battle with Atletico Madrid.
However, Allegri is not one for complacency and will want the title wrapped up with minimal fuss, while his Juve side should have the quality and depth to circumvent Udinese with relative ease.
Udinese suddenly find themselves with daylight between their 15th place position and the relegation zone but will want to ensure their top flight status for 2019/20 as soon as possible.
Juventus should simply have too much quality for this inconsistent Udinese side and will prepare for their Champions League commitments with an easy victory.