Cagliari - Juventus Preview: Bianconeri look to end year with sixth straight win
Antonio Conte has a defender shortage to contend with as his team go in search of yet another win against a free-falling Rossoblu side
By Harry Slavin
Pisano, Astori, Ariaudo, Avelar
Dessena, Nainggolan, Ekdal
Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres
Lichsteiner, Vidal, Asamoah
Cagliari will have to host Serie A leaders Juventus at Parma's Stadio Ennio Tardini on Friday evening, after the home side failed to secure a temporary safety certificate for their own stadium.
The Sardinian outfit have struggled to hold their home matches at their new ground, Is Arenas, this season and league authorities made the decision on Wednesday to move the game to a neutral venue.
On the pitch, coach Ivo Pulga has only Sebastian Eriksson missing through injury as his side attempt to halt their alarming slump since the beginning of November.
Visitors Juventus have a mini-crisis at the back after Giorgio Chiellini pulled up in training with a calf injury earlier this week.
The vice-captain's injury only serves to emphasise the Bianconeri's shortage of defensive cover, highlighted further by the recent release of Brazilian Lucio from his contract in Turin.
The vice-captain joins Nicklas Bendtner and Pepe on the injury list, with Leonardo Bonucci and Martin Caceres expected to replace him and Luca Marrone in defence.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Cagliari have only picked up two points from a possible 21 since Ivo Pulga started his reign with four straight victories.
- The Rossoblu have not beaten their opponents in Serie A since 2009, when strikes from Nene and Alessandro Matri secured a 2-0 win.
- The game's relocation to Parma means that home fans will have to endure a 780-mile round trip to follow their team on Friday.
- Juventus have won their last five games in all competitions since their defeat to AC Mlian in November.
- Kwadwo Asamoah (pictured, right) is the only player to feature in every league fixture for the Bianconeri this season.
- The sides have already met this month in the Coppa Italia, when Antonio Conte's men won 1-0 thanks to Sebastian Giovinco's second-half strike.
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Top 3 Predictions
Cagliari 0-2 Juventus
- 25.99 %
Cagliari 0-3 Juventus
- 18.21 %
Cagliari 1-3 Juventus
- 9.73 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 11, 2013||Juventus 1 - Cagliari 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Dec 21, 2012||Cagliari 1 - Juventus 3|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||Dec 12, 2012||Juventus 1 - Cagliari 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 6, 2012||Cagliari 0 - Juventus 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 15, 2012||Juventus 1 - Cagliari 1|
|Dec 8, 2013||Cagliari 2 - Genoa 1||ITA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Cagliari 2 - Sassuolo 2||ITA1|
|Nov 25, 2013||Roma 0 - Cagliari 0||ITA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Cagliari 2 - Torino 1||ITA1|
|Nov 3, 2013||Hellas Verona 2 - Cagliari 1||ITA1|
|34||Dario Del Fabro||Defender|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
Sau has troubled the big names in Serie A on occasions already this season and notched two well-taken goals at the San Siro when Cagliari earned a point against Inter, in a 2-2 draw back in November. He also netted in what was an otherwise catastrophic display against Parma last time out and would love to spark a goalscoring spree by notching against the league leaders.
Giovinco was the difference when the sides met earlier this month in the Coppa Italia and he will be looking to make his mark again in their Serie A encounter. He has only mustered five goals so far, but he will be hoping to add to that tally and head into 2013 with a goalscoring spring in his step.
Antonio Conte's return to the Juventus bench has coincided with an impressive run of form from the Old Lady and they will expect to end the year with a comfortable victory in Parma and secure a sixth consecutive victory.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed