Although the Bianconeri are in a rich vein of form, the visitors are in a unique position to complete a double over the reigning Scudetto champions this season. This is because Eusebio Di Francesco’s side are the last team to have beaten Juventus, when they edged them out 1-0 back on October 28th. It was that shock loss to Sassuolo that proved to be the turning point for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, who are now on an eighteen match unbeaten streak with wins in 17 of those games.
In fact, only Bologna has managed to keep Juventus from scoring when the Rossoblu managed to hold them to a scoreless stalemate last month; this ended their winning streak at 15 games. And one would have to go all the way back to January 10th to note the last time Juventus conceded a goal, in a 2-1 win over Sampdoria.
At this point, the hosts will be coming into this game having strung together a nine match streak sans conceding a goal, and Gianluigi Buffon has racked up an impressive 16 clean sheets already this season. At home, Juventus’s record is even more impressive: only Udinese has managed to leave Juventus Stadium with a win across all competitions. The only team who has been able to score more than one goal in Turin so far has been Bayern Munich. Nonetheless, even die Roten were unable to prevent the Bianconeri from clawing their way back to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 match last month.
Allegri will of course have the team’s win-or-go-home tie with Bayern in mind as he decides who to rest, who to field, and who to rotate for this upcoming game. Giorgio Chiellini, who is struggling with a muscular complaint will not likely even feature, but other from the Italian star and Martin Caceres, who is out for the whole season, Allegri will have pretty much a full-strength squad available for selection. Simone Zaza could be handed a chance to feature against his former side alongside Alvaro Morata, or he could instead go with first-choice pairing Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic.
All these impressive stats in favor of Juventus will certainly intimidate any opponent, but then again, Sassuolo have proven to be the Achilles heel of many big teams. Since bursting onto the Serie A scene back during the 2013/2014 campaign, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side have established themselves as “giant-killers”; that is, a team that manages to pull off shock wins or draws against Serie A’s biggest sides. They further enhanced this reputation by again defeating AC Milan at the Mapei Stadium which ensured that they will still enjoy a 100 per cent win record when taking on the Rossoneri at home.
Currently in seventh – an impressive achievement for a team who are only playing in the top flight for the third season – Sassuolo will be hoping to make a late push for a Europa League berth. Still, whilst they have managed to beat Juventus earlier this season, they will be facing a very different side and will be in for a very stern test in Turin this evening. Although the Bianconeri will be thinking of their crunch clash in Munich next week, they nonetheless still should be able to get the job done and pick up another three points to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
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