Juventus-Cagliari Preview: Bianconeri seeking 10th consecutive league victory
Antonio Conte is determined to win both remaining games of the season in order to beat the Old Lady's record points tally of 91, set by Fabio Capello's side in 2006
By Max Bentley
Antonio Conte will be without suspended midfield duo Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba for Juventus' final home clash of the season against Cagliari on Saturday.
Andrea Barzagli is available for selection after serving a one-match suspension which kept him out of the 1-0 victory away at Atalanta while Leonardo Bonucci, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Claudio Marchisio, Gianluigi Buffon and Arturo Vidal should all return to the fold after being rested.
Alessandro Matri is expected to keep his place up front after scoring in midweek and the former Cagliari striker could be partnered with Sebastian Giovinco, although Nicolas Anelka and Nicklas Bendtner are also pushing for starts.
As for Cagliari, Mauricio Pinilla returns after his initial three-game ban was reduced to two matches and Albin Ekdal could start against his former employers.
However, the game comes too soon for Francesco Pisano and Matias Cabrera who remain sidelined through injury.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Juventus have won their last five Serie A matches without conceding a single goal.
- Cagliari have only scored in three of their last eight league matches.
- In the reverse fixture back in September, the Old Lady emerged 3-1 victors with a late double from Alessandro Matri and a goal from Mirko Vucinic, after Mauricio Pinilla (pictured, right) had given the Sardinians a first-half lead.
- Saturday's showdown will be the 66th time that the two sides have met in Serie A. Juventus have won on 30 occasions, losing 11 matches and drawing 24 times.
- Alessandro Matri scored 38 goals in 131 appearances for the Rossoblu before his €15.5 million transfer to Juventus in 2011.
- Marco Sau is Cagliari's leading Serie A marksman with twelve goals. Arturo Vidal's recent goalscoring spree has propelled him to the top of the Bianconeri's standings with ten.
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Top 3 Predictions
Juventus 2-0 Cagliari
- 25.83 %
Juventus 3-0 Cagliari
- 25.53 %
Juventus 2-1 Cagliari
- 8.07 %
|Serie A (SR-A)||12 Jan 2014||Cagliari 1 - Juventus 4|
|Serie A (SR-A)||11 May 2013||Juventus 1 - Cagliari 1|
|Serie A (SR-A)||21 Dec 2012||Cagliari 1 - Juventus 3|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||12 Dec 2012||Juventus 1 - Cagliari 0|
|Serie A (SR-A)||6 May 2012||Cagliari 0 - Juventus 2|
|19 Apr 2014||Juventus 1 - Bologna 0||SR-A|
|14 Apr 2014||Udinese 0 - Juventus 2||SR-A|
|10 Apr 2014||Juventus 2 - Olympique Lyonnais 1||EL|
|7 Apr 2014||Juventus 2 - Livorno 0||SR-A|
|3 Apr 2014||Olympique Lyonnais 0 - Juventus 1||EL|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
|34||Dario Del Fabro||Defender|
The former Cagliari striker has found it difficult to nail down a starting berth in Antonio Conte's starting eleven this campaign and will be determined to prove his worth once again after impressing in a rare start in midweek. The 28-year-old has notched eight league goals so far and will be hoping to replicate his feat from December when he scored twice against the Rossoblu.
The Belgium international has become a fans' favourite with his powerful box-to-box playing style and tireless work rate. The 25-year-old is an integral part of Ivo Pulga's line-up and has registered more outfield appearances than any other Rossoblu player this season. Unsurprisingly, he has been linked to a host of top European clubs, including Juventus, ahead of the forthcoming transfer window.
Cagliari are experiencing an end-of-season slump, having secured only five points from a possible last 18. Juventus, however, are in fine form with nine league wins on the bounce, conceding only two goals in the process. Conte's side are bidding for their highest-ever points total and they should have enough firepower to see off the Sardinian challenge and claim a 20th Serie A clean sheet of the season.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed