Juve prepare for Atletico battle with Udinese warm up

Unless something extraordinary happens, Juve will land their eighth straight Serie A crown this season.

Allegri’s side were already in a strong position ahead of their trip to Napoli last weekend, but recorded a 2-1 victory over their closest rivals to open up a 16-point advantage at the summit.

It is a incredible lead at this stage of the season, with Juve winning 23 and losing none of their 26 league matches thus far.

They are the highest scorers with 55 and have conceded just 16 , which is comfortably the best record in the division.

To put it bluntly, Juve have been far, far too good for the rest of the league.

Defeat at Napoli last weekend would not have been the end of the world, but first-half goals from Miralem Pjanic and Emre Can proved to be enough to triumph.

A 35th Italian title is heading for Turin, but the mood in the camp will not be entirely positive as their future in this season’s Champions League is far from secure.

Indeed, Allegri’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 clash in February. The La Liga giants head to Italy for the second leg on Tuesday night and there is no downplaying the importance of that match. Another Serie A title would be welcomed, but Juve really want the Champions League this term.

Cristiano Ronaldo was signed last summer with the view to triumphing in Europe, but an exit next week would leave just the Serie A title to play for following their shock 3-0 loss to Atalanta BC in the Coppa Italia at the end of January.

The future of Allegri as head coach is far from secure with the Italian’s mentor,

Giovanni Galeone , recently claiming that the Juve boss could walk away from his role at the end of the season.
Pep Guardiola has actually been linked with the managerial position in recent days, but Manchester City will be absolutely desperate to keep hold of the Spaniard for obvious reasons.

Juve will be determined to continue their winning run on Friday night, but their number one priority will be to avoid any injuries ahead of the huge game against
Diego Simeone’s side next week.

Udinese will clearly enter Friday’s match as huge underdogs, but confidence will be high following back-to-back league wins over Chievo and Bologna in their last two fixtures.
Six wins, seven draws and 12 defeats – that is how the team has performed in the league this season. A total of 25 points has left them in 15th position, seven points clear of the relegation zone.

They are 11 points off the top half, though, and it seems that they will end the campaign in a similar spot to where they currently stand.

Udinese finished 14th in Serie A last season and have not actually ended the campaign in the top half of the division since posting fifth in 2012-13.

It is worth remembering that they finished fourth, third and fifth in three straight years between 2010 and 2013, but have gradually fallen down the table in recent seasons.

The omens are not exactly terrific for the White and Blacks when considering that they have not won on their travels in Serie A since September. Davide Nicola ‘s side have lost their last two away fixtures to Sampdoria and Torino, meanwhile, conceding five times in the process and scoring zero.

That said, they did give Inter Milan a tough game at the San Siro in the latter stages of 2018 and do have the players capable of causing Juve a lot of problems on Friday night, particularly when considering that the home side will have more than one eye on their clash with Atletico.

Only Cagliari (seven) have scored fewer away league goals than Udinese (eight) this term, however, which is an indication of just how much of a shock it would be to see the away side triumph in this match.

I Bianconeri have won in Turin as recent as August 2015, though, with Cyril Thereau scoring the only goal of the match as Juve suffered a home defeat on the opening weekend of the 2015-16 campare
Juve are still without midfielder Sami Khedira, who is recovering from a heart procedure.

Juan Cuadrado remains unavailable following knee surgery, while the match will also come too soon for Douglas Costa as the Brazilian continues to nurse a hamstring problem.

It seems unlikely that the Italian will make too many changes ahead of the Atletico clash, meaning that Ronaldo should feature in the final third of the field.

Rodrigo Bentancur and Paulo Dybala both came off the bench against Napoli last weekend and could start, though, with Pjanic banned following his red card against Napoli.

Joao Cancelo , meanwhile, is also suspended after picking up a booking in Naples.

Udinese have a fairly extensive injury list at the moment, with captain Valon Behrami, winger Marco D’Alessandro , midfielder Antonin Barak and defender
Samir all on the sidelines.

Former Juventus youngster Rolando Mandragora , meanwhile, will miss Friday’s match through suspension.

Rodrigo de Paul and Ignacio Pussetto scored the goals in Udinese’s 2-1 win over Bologna last time out and the pair will both feature in Turin.

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola; Bentancur, Can, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo
Udinese possible starting lineup:
Musso; De Maio,

Troost-Ekong, Nuytinck; Ter Avest, Larsen, Sandro, De Paul, Zeegelaar; Pusseto, Okaka
Head To Head
Friday’s match will bring the 92nd encounter between the two teams in Serie A. Juve lead the head-to-head 60 wins to Udinese’s 12, with the remaining 19 fixtures finishing level.

As mentioned, Udinese’s last win at Juve came on the opening weekend of the 2015-16 campaign.

Juve have been victorious each of the last three league meetings between the two sides, though, including a 2-0 success in the reverse fixture back in October, with Bentancur and Ronaldo scoring the goals.

We say: Juventus 2-0 Udinese
It is very difficult to predict anything other than a home win on Friday night. Udinese are without a number of key players and will find it difficult to upset the runaway league leaders in Turin.

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