Allianz Arena is the venue as high-flying Juventus and out-of-form Udinese go head-to-head in a ‘Bianconeri’ derby on Saturday evening.
What looked virtually impossible at the start of October is now an enthusiastic prospect for Massimilano Allegri’s side as they again dream of clawing their way back into the Scudetto race.
Arkadiusz Milik found the net in stoppage time to fire Juventus to a hard-earned 1-0 win at relegation-battling Cremonese in midweek, extending their winning league streak to seven consecutive matches.
What’s even more impressive is that the record-time Italian champions have kept a clean sheet in each of those seven games and could make it eight on the trot for the first time since 2018.
Before going into the World Cup break, Juventus thrashed Lazio 3-0 in their last Serie A home outing, stretching their eye-catching winning run in Turin to four league fixtures.
Unlike their hosts, Udinese’s season has been on a downward trajectory following a quick-fire start, with the Friulians heading into this round winless in seven straight league games (D5, L2).
Roberto Pereyra’s second-half strike helped Andrea Sottil’s team cancel out Empoli’s early opener in a dramatic 1-1 draw at the Dacia Arena on Wednesday.
However, if the visitors are to reignite their hopes of securing European football for the first time since 2012/13, they cannot afford more slip-ups, with sixth-placed Roma already five points off.
Allegri boasts a formidable Serie A record as a Juventus manager, having lost only one of his 12 league encounters against the Friulians (W8, D3), going down 1-0 at this venue in 2015.
Moreover, Vecchia Signora have racked up six consecutive home victories over Udinese in the top flight, last enjoying a longer winning streak against them in the competition in 1987.
With pacesetters Napoli now seven points away, Juventus must win to stay within touching distance of their Scudetto dream. Achieving that feat would see them registering eight straight league triumphs for the first time since December 2018.
You’d have to go back to early October when they overcame basement boys Hellas Verona 2-1 for Udinese’s last Serie A win on hostile turf, with Sottil’s side since going winless on four successive league travels (D3, L1).
It’s near-impossible to expect the visitors to start a traveling resurgence in Turin, considering they’ve lost 65 Serie A clashes against Juventus, more than against any other opposition.
There’s no doubt Udinese would settle for a share of the spoils in Turin, but since they last left the city unbeaten in 2015, they’d have to defy the odds to make it happen.
Juventus are still without captain Leonardo Bonucci, star summer signing Paul Pogba, and standout striker Dusan Vlahovic, but Allegri hopes to welcome World Cup winner Angel Di Maria back to the fold.
Given the ongoing injury crisis at the Allianz Stadium, the hosts may again have to put their fate in the hands of Milik, who has five Serie A goals under his belt this season.
On the other hand, Udinese cannot call upon the services of experienced defender Adam Masina, with Gerard Deulofeu’s availability still hanging in the balance amid Aston Villa’s growing interest in the Spaniard.
Sottil’s best hope of taking down Juventus’ rock-solid backline could be Beto. The Portuguese striker has been a talismanic figure in Udine this term, with the Friulians winning four of his six scoring matches.
Juventus vs Udinese Potential Lineups
Juventus (3-5-2): Wojciech Szczesny; Danilo, Gleison Bremer, Alex Sandro; Weston McKennie, Leandro Paredes, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Filip Kostic; Moise Kean, Arkadiusz Milik.
Udinese (3-5-2): Marco Silvestri; Nehuen Perez, Rodrigo Becao, Jaka Bijol; Roberto Pereyra, Lazar Samardzic, Walace, Tolgay Arslan, Destiny Udogie; Beto, Isaac Success.
Juventus vs Udinese Prediction
Udinese’s abysmal run of form provides little optimism that they could knock Juventus off their perch, especially considering they’d have to cope with a psychological barrier in Turin.
Virtually unbreakable at the break, Allegri’s men have built a head of steam, and if history has thaught us something, they’re almost impossible to stop when they hit their stride.
So unless the visitors pull off a miracle on Saturday, Juventus should walk away with three points and put further pressure on Napoli, who lost at Inter on Wednesday.
Prediction: Juventus Win
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