Juventus - Lazio Preview: The Bianconeri looking to keep place at the top against Rome outfit
Antonio Conte's side are at summit of Serie A with a four-point cushion but know they will be in for a tough game when the Biancocelesti travel to Turin
By Craig Turnbull
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
Isla, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio, Asamoah
Konko, Dias, Biava, Radu
Gonzalez, Hernanes, Candreva
Juventus will be missing their creative spark from the midfield for the visit of Lazio as Andrea Pirlo is suspended.
Likely to deputise is Paul Pogba, who might feel slightly aggrieved he has not featured more regularly for the Turin outfit as he has been reliable when called upon, though, did not help himself by missing training twice in the week leading up to last weekend's clash.
Having endured a 3-1 defeat at the hands of fierce rivals Inter, the Bianconeri responded with an emphatic 6-1 win over Pescara to once again restore their four-point lead at the top of Serie A.
Striker Fabio Quagliarella netted a hat-trick while Sebastian Giovinco scored two and therefore it would be most surprising if they were to rotate forwards after the dazzling display by both attackers against the Delfini.
Another positive for the Juve boss is the return of Simone Pepe, who has yet to play for the hosts since suffering an injury before the start of the season, so expect him to feature at some point in this match. Paolo De Ceglie will not however, as he is still recovering from a thigh strain.
Meanwhile, Lazio will be buoyed by their thrilling 3-2 victory over Roma in the Rome derby last week. The Biancocelesti trail the league leaders by nine points and currently lie in fifth position.
Although they are strong at home having only been defeated once in six attempts, their away form has been more turbulent as they have lost half their games on their travels - to Napoli (3-0), Fiorentina (2-0) and Catania (4-0) respectively.
They will have to see if they can achieve something from the Juventus Stadium without the services of winger Senad Lulic and midfielder Stefano Mauri who are both suspended while Brazilian midfielder Ederson is injured.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Juventus won the last encounter between the two sides on their way to the Scudetto with a narrow 2-1 victory. Stefano Mauri grabbed an equaliser after Simone Pepe had put the hosts in front, but Alessandro Del Piero scored the winner eight minutes from time.
- The Bianconeri have scored 10 goals in their previous two outings in all competitions. Antonio Conte's men followed up their 4-0 Champions League win over Nordsjaelland with a thumping 6-1 win over Pescara. They even had a friendly midweek against Valle d'Aosta, putting nine past the Pro Lega side.
- The hosts' only defeat this season was a surprise 3-1 defeat to Andrea Stamaccioni's Inter side which prevented them from going 50 games unbeaten in Serie A.
- Lazio have not won in their last 15 attempts against Juventus in the league and have lost their last four Serie A matches against the Bianconeri.
- Antonio Candreva will line-up for the Biancocelesti against his old side having played every game in Serie A for the visitors this season.
- Striker Miroslav Klose (pictured, right) is Vladimir Petkovic's men's top goalscorer with seven goals. He trails Edinson Cavani (Napoli), Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan) and Erik Lamela (Roma) in the scoring charts who all have eight. Juventus' Quagliarella has six.
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Top 3 Predictions
Juventus 2-0 Lazio
- 23.62 %
Juventus 3-0 Lazio
- 12.93 %
Juventus 3-1 Lazio
- 11.17 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 25, 2014||Lazio 1 - Juventus 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Aug 31, 2013||Juventus 4 - Lazio 1|
|Italy Super Cup (ITSC)||Aug 18, 2013||Juventus 4 - Lazio 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Apr 15, 2013||Lazio 0 - Juventus 2|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||Jan 29, 2013||Lazio 2 - Juventus 1|
|Mar 9, 2014||Juventus 1 - Fiorentina 0||ITA1|
|Mar 2, 2014||AC Milan 0 - Juventus 2||ITA1|
|Feb 27, 2014||Trabzonspor AŞ 0 - Juventus 2||EL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Juventus 1 - Torino 0||ITA1|
|Feb 20, 2014||Juventus 2 - Trabzonspor AŞ 0||EL|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
With Pirlo out of the squad, the onus will be on the young Frenchman to fill the void. The 19-year-old has already shown what he is capable of with strong performances when called upon - he even nicked a goal against Bologna to maintain the Bianconeri's unbeaten run before losing to Inter. The jury is still out on his attitude and commitment though, but he can silence the critics with a good performance here.
The Brazilian has had a stunning start to the season producing the type of displays which could earn him another call-up to the national side. Having already scored five goals and laid on four for others he has shown he is vitally important to the success of this Lazio team, and with a solid Juve back three his vision, creativity and flair could be the key to getting a result at the Juventus Stadium at the weekend.
Matches between the two are usually tight affairs and although Juve have gone on to win the last four games against the Biancocelesti, they have been by a one-goal margin. That said, Antonio Conte's men have seemingly been unaffected by their Inter blip, while Lazio have struggled on their travels, conceding 9 goals in three games, which all points to a home win on Saturday.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed