On Sunday, the Bianconeri thrashed Palermo 4-0 to make it 22 wins in their past 23 Serie A matches. In doing so, Juventus also extended their lead over Napoli to nine, after the Partenopei were defeated 2-0 by Inter the day before. In addition, the comfortable win against the Rosanero marked a very interesting Sunday of “eights” for the reigning Scudetto champions.
First, it was the eighth consecutive win for Juventus over Palermo. Second, La Vecchia Signora now have maintained eight straight clean sheets against the Sicilian club. And finally, in shutting out their opponents, the Bianconeri also made it eight home matches sans conceding a goal. This matches a record set twice in Juve’s history. The first was from October 1974 to February 1975 and the second from November 1977 to April 1978.
With just five rounds to go, Juventus fans are already celebrating. After seeing the team endure one of the worst starts in recent times, the Bianconeri are about to make it a fifth consecutive league title. And should they, as expected, see off AC Milan in this season’s Coppa Italia final, they will have made it a second straight domestic double, too.
To date, Udinese were the first – and last – Italian side to show up to Juventus Stadium and leave with a win this season. The Bianconeri certainly are not going to allow Lazio to join that club, even though the Biancocelesti are enjoying a mini-renaissance of their own. After a frustrating campaign this term, it seemed like Claudio Lotito had finally had enough of Stefano Pioli’s antics and finally decided to pull the plug on his tenure earlier this month.
In his stead is former striker Simone Inzaghi, who is in his first term as a senior tactician. So far, his arrival has seen an uptick in Lazio’s fortunes. The Aquile will arrive in Turin having won two consecutive matches. Whilst that may not seem like a lot, consider this fact: Lazio have not won back-to-back games since September 2015, when they won three on the trot from September 23rd to October 4th.
Of course, given that those wins were against relegation candidates Palermo and an inconsistent Empoli side, Juventus will represent the first real test for Inzaghi’s Lazio. Injuries, of course, have not been kind to the capital side all season, and the visitors will be without the services of Stefan de Vrij, Stefan Radu, Etrit Berisha, Stefano Mauri, and Ricardo Kishna for this match. Nonetheless, with two wins in the bag, they will still have some glimmer of hope at causing Juventus some headaches, especially given that the Bianconeri now will be without yet another key player for this upcoming match.
Early on in the game against Palermo, Claudio Marchisio was subbed off early due to an injury and the Italian star is now set to miss about six months of action. This means he’ll be out for the rest of this season, the EURO 2016 tournament, and part of next season, which naturally will be a huge blow both for his club and national side. In addition, Alvaro Morata will be suspended for this match, and Giorgio Chiellini will not likely have fully recovered fully from his injury, but all in all, Juventus should still have the squad depth to pull off a win in this Wednesday night fixture.
Will they be able to make it a ninth clean sheet and set a new club record in the process? Or will Lazio make it a third straight win under a new coach – and their first in Turin for the first time since December 15, 2002?
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