Juventus-Catania Preview: The Bianconeri closing in on second successive Scudetto
Antonio Conte's men are firmly in control of Serie A having secured a precious point at Napoli last week, and will be targeting three points when the Sicilians come to town
By Craig Turnbull
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
L'steiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah
Bellusci, Spolli, Rolin,
Alvarez, Izco, Lodi, Almiron, Marchese
Juventus return to domestic league action against Catania after booking their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League following a comfortable 2-0 victory (5-0 agg) over Celtic.
The Bianconeri will be able to field a pretty much full-strength team against the Sicilians with the exception of Arturo Vidal, who is suspended following his booking last week against Napoli, meaning Paul Pogba will continue in midfield.
Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco are likely to return the starting XI, even though Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri played against the Hoops.
However, Conte will be without Martin Caceres, Paolo De Ceglie, Nicolas Anelka, Simone Pepe and Nicklas Bendtner.
Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, De Ceglie and Matri are one booking away from a suspension.
Meanwhile, for the visitors, Rolando Maran takes his eight-placed side to Juventus Stadium on the back of a 3-2 defeat to Inter.
Defender Ciro Capuano, midfielder Pablo Barrientos and striker Gonzalo Bergessio are unavailable. Centre-back Nicola Legrottaglie is suspended.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Juventus have only been beaten at home twice in 14 league encounters this season. Inter and Sampdoria are the two sides to take full points off them.
- The Bianconeri have lost one of the last 20 games against the Sicilians, in Turin in December 2009. Mariano Izco (pictured, right) scored the winner in a 2-1 victory.
- Antonio Conte's men are undefeated in their last seven matches against the visitors.
- Catania, who are in contention for a European spot, have a very strong home record but they have recorded just three times on the road.
- Gonzalo Bergessio, who is the club's top scorer in Serie A this season with eight goals, has been ruled out of the clash. Alejandro Gomez (5) will have the goalscoring burden on him.
- The Sicilians were beaten 1-0 the last time these two sides met, but the match was not without its controversy, with Catania aggrieved to have a legitimate goal ruled out for offside. Arturo Vidal went on to secure the three points from the penalty spot.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
Juventus 3-0 Catania
- 28.17 %
Juventus 2-0 Catania
- 22.53 %
Juventus 3-1 Catania
- 9.69 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Oct 30, 2013||Juventus 4 - Catania 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Mar 10, 2013||Juventus 1 - Catania 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Oct 28, 2012||Catania 0 - Juventus 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 18, 2012||Juventus 3 - Catania 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 25, 2011||Catania 1 - Juventus 1|
|Mar 13, 2014||Juventus 1 - Fiorentina 1||EL|
|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|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
|13||Mariano Julio Izco||Midfielder|
|-||Francesco Fabio Sciacca||Midfielder|
Was given a rest midweek as Juventus comfortably saw off Celtic to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so will be fresh and raring to go here. Not only is he strong and technically better to most who share the same turf as him, but the Montenegrin also has the ability to bring others around him into play, which largely goes unnoticed. A key component of the Juventus attacking line and will cause a few problems against the Catania defence.
With Gonzalo Bergessio ruled out for this match the onus is on diminutive Argentine attacker to find the back of the net. A tricky winger, whose direct running and pace will give Stephan Lichtsteiner something to think about. The Juventus defence will also have to be aware of his runs off the ball and his tendency to cut in from the left and fire a shot with his favoured right foot.
Catania will still be reeling after they were robbed of at least a point when the sides met back earlier in the season, and this may gave them added incentive to nick something here, but if their form away from home is anything to go by and if the Bianconeri can continue their strong form at Juventus Stadium, then all signs point to a comfortable win for Conte's men.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed