Thanks to AS Roma’s win over Napoli on Monday, Juventus host Carpi on Sunday knowing they have already clinched the Serie A title. As such, their next outing should be one of celebration for the Bianconeri, but their opponents will be in no mood to watch a procession in Turin, Italy.
Indeed, Carpi head into this latest round of fixtures just three points ahead of the relegation places, aware Palermo and Frosinone will be hoping to see them lose to Juventus in order to make the battle for survival even closer.
Yet after beating Empoli last Sunday, the Biancorossi are in good spirits and—speaking to Sky Sports Italia (h/t Football Italia) shortly after the final whistle—coach Fabrizio Castori is confident they can remain in the top flight:
The three-point advantage has to be maintained. We must go to Turin against Juve, but Palermo have some difficult fixtures too and these three points can compensate for our calendar.
We’ve picked up seven points over the last eight days, the team is in good shape and we can have a go against anyone.
That desire should see them test the resolve of the newly crowned champions, who themselves will be eager to maintain their own excellent form ahead of the Coppa Italia final later this month. A victory there against AC Milan would make Juventus the only Italian team in history to complete back-to-back league and cup doubles.
67 - Juventus have gained 67 points out of a possible 69 in their last 23 games, a Serie A record in a run of 23 matches. Tremendous.2016-4-18 09:36:20
Indeed, as they left the field following Sunday evening’s impressive victory over Fiorentina, coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters he expects his players to maintain their focus over the final weeks of the campaign.
“We can’t afford to let our intensity drop at all,” the Juve boss said at his post-match press conference. “We’ve got a crucial cup final on the horizon and we want to be in the best possible shape for that.”
Despite Giorgio Chiellini, Martin Caceres and Claudio Marchisio all injured for the clash with Carpi, the Bianconeri should be at full strength here and will undoubtedly prove to be a difficult challenge for the relegation-threatened visitors.
Date: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Time: 11:30 a.m. GMT/6:30 a.m. ET
Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
TV Info: ESPN (UK), beIN Sports 1 (USA)
Live Stream: BT Connect (UK)
Last five domestic results:
|Juventus 1-0 Empoli||Carpi 1-3 Sassuolo|
|AC Milan 1-2 Juventus||Chievo 1-0 Carpi|
|Juventus 4-0 Palmero||Carpi 4-1 Genoa|
|Juventus 3-0 Lazio||AC Milan 0-0 Carpi|
|Fiorentina 1-2 Juventus||Carpi 1-0 Empoli|
Juventus (3-5-2): Gigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele Rugani; Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira, Mario Lemina, Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra; Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala
Unavailable: Neto, Giorgio Chiellini, Martin Caceres and Claudio Marchisio (all injured)
Carpi: (4-4-1-1): Vid Belec; Gaetano Letizia, Fabrizio Poli, Simone Romagnoli, Riccardo Gagliolo; Lorenzo Pasciuti, Marco Crimi, Isaac Cofie, Antonio Di Gaudio; Raphael Martinho; Jerry Mbakogu
Unavailable: Eddy Gnahore, Zeljko Brkic (both injured), Lorenzo Lollo, Raffaele Bianco (both suspended)
While Kevin Lasagna’s impact from the bench is likely to be Carpi’s most dangerous weapon, midfielder Lorenzo Pasciuti has been in excellent form over recent weeks. The 26-year-old has weighed in with two goals and an assist in his last three appearances, making crucial contributions in wins over Genoa and Carpi.
Playing on the right flank, Pasciuti also works hard defensively, with statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com showing he has averaged 1.1 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game over his 19 league appearances this term.
Lining up against him at Juventus Stadium will be Patrice Evra, the France international expected to again be given the starting role ahead of Alex Sandro. The former Manchester United defender has enjoyed another excellent campaign, but he is out of contract in June and revealed this week he has yet to decide what to do next
“I’ve had two special years with Juve, we’ll meet at the end of the season and then I’ll say yes or no,” Evra told La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia). “I must be honest with myself and with Juve. There aren’t any problems, it’s a decision that I must make alone.”
Player to Watch
While the battle between Evra and Pasciuti will undoubtedly be intriguing, perhaps the player to watch most-closely will be Simone Zaza. The striker is not expected to be in the starting XI but will hope to be sent on as a substitute by Juyentus as he looks to cement his place in Italy’s squad for UEFA Euro 2016.
Since joining the Bianconeri from Sassuolo last summer, Zaza has found his opportunities limited somewhat in Turin and has made just four league starts in 2015/16, with a further 12 appearances from the bench.
63 - Zaza has the best mins/goal ratio (1 goal every 63 mins) among the top-5 european leagues players with 3+ goals this season. Strength.2016-1-7 19:02:24
That has led to speculation about his future—a matter discussed in this previous post—as Italian newspaper Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia) believes Chelsea, AS Roma and AC Milan are interested in signing the 24-year-old.
Should he receive an opportunity on Sunday, Zaza would undoubtedly enjoy adding to his tally of four Serie A goals and ensure he has the attention of Azzurri boss Antonio Conte before he makes his own move to Stamford Bridge ahead of next season.
Odds (via Odds Shark)
Away win: 18-1
Home win: 25-139