Preview: Hosts Juventus hope to move closer to another Scudetto against relegation-threatened Bologna
Although Juventus currently lead Roma by eight points, it is still not enough for La Vecchia Signora to take their foot off the gas in the Scudetto race. Any potential slip-up by the reigning title holders, coupled with a positive result for the Giallorossi and they could find themselves in a very uncomfortable position with just five league matches remaining.
And naturally, Bologna, who rests in an uncomfortable 17th place with just 28 points earned, will try to make the Bianconeri's task as hard as possible. The Rossoblu have had a torrid time this season, with their highest place--15th--coming back on matchday two. However, they have spent the vast majority of their domestic campaign either in the drop zone or uncomfortably hovering above it.
Preview: The Bianconeri resume their Scudetto challenge against the Zebrette
On Thursday, Juventus moved one step closer to the Europa League final in Turin by defeating Lyon 2-1 on the night, 3-1 on aggregate. Yet, while the score-line may look like a straightforward win for the side that has yet to lose a game at home, Bianconeri midfielder Claudio Marchisio admitted that his side were fortunate to have secured their position in the semi-finals.
"It wasn't easy. We started off well tonight, but then Lyon equalized and fortunately I was able to score a goal...but it was really lucky," the 28-year-old remarked to Mediaset following the game. Nonetheless, the team is still on course to lift two trophies in May, but will be keen on staying far ahead of second-placed Roma with a win later this evening.
There will be no all-Spanish final come May 14, 2014. However, Sevilla coach Unai Emery is content with Friday's results of the draw. Here is why:
“We think it is going to be a really attractive tie and one that will take a Spanish team through to the final, which is good for the national game.”
Likewise, Valencia defender Ricardo Costa was happy with the outcome of the Europa League semis draw. He said:
“I wanted us to face Sevilla because we can beat them and get to the final, where I would like to meet Benfica.”
Preview: La Vecchia Signora take on Les Gones in what should be a closely-contested second leg
Following PSG's exit from the Champions League at the hands of Chelsea, Remi Garde's men find themselves in an interesting similar position to the side they will be facing in Turin. Both Juventus and Lyon are now Serie A and Ligue 1's sole representatives remaining in any kind of continental competition this season, and each squad has their respective reasons for trying to make it into the final four.
For the Bianconeri, who were consigned to the Europa League after failing to get out of their group stage campaign, they will be keen to make it to the final in May as it's being held at their home ground. As for Lyon, their 5th-placed standing puts them four behind Saint-Etienne and the last continental football berth, so naturally, they will look to overturn the deficit and take one step closer to winning their first European title since claiming the now-defunct Intertoto Cup back in 1997.
Preview: League leaders look to get back to winning ways against the relegation candidates
Juventus has nearly triple the total points of their opponents, with their haul of 81 giving them a 56 point lead over struggling side Livorno. Hence, this should be an easy way for Antonio Conte's men re-establish a comfortable margin over Roma after their 22-match streak was snapped by Napoli this past weekend.
Suffice it to say, history is not on Livorno's side. The Amaranto are currently in 18th place with a dismal 25 points earned from 31 games, and one would have to go back to a time well before many Serie A fans--or even their parents--were born to find out when they were able to defeat the Bianconeri. In fact, they have only won four times against Juventus, with just one in Turin, and the last time they were able to emerge victorious against La Vecchia Signoria was in 1942, the same year in which they earned their best ever result in Italian football--a second place finish behind Torino.
Preview: Les Gones take on La Vecchia Signoria as they hope to keep European football hopes alive
Lyon currently sit in fifth place in Ligue 1, six points away from a Europa League spot and nine from third-placed Lille and a Champions League berth, whilst Juventus have already secured European football as the Serie A leaders. However, both sides are coming into the match after losing their respective league matches this weekend and will be keen to put those negative results behind them.
Bianconeri midfielder Claudio Marchisio offered his thoughts on his team's 2-0 defeat to Napoli and slammed reports that the team is now in crisis whilst stating his opinion on their French opponents.
Preview: Partenopei look to close gap on second-placed Roma against the runaway Serie A leaders
On Wednesday, a double from Carlos Tevez was enough to give the Bianconeri yet another three points and set a new Serie A record of 15 straight home wins in one season. The victory also ended Parma's 17-match unbeaten run and moved the Bianconeri to a comfortable14-point lead with eight matches remaining.
With Antonio Conte's men comfortably cruising towards a third successive Scudetto, the focus for the other teams is to secure second place and automatic Champions League football next season. Whilst Roma presently occupies that spot, with 67 points and a game in hand, Napoli will be keen on closing that six point difference.
Preview: Viola will be hoping to get the best of the Bianconeri in their third consecutive meeting
Only one side in Serie A has defeated Juventus all season--Fiorentina--back on mach day eight on 20th October. And this feat was accomplished at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, something that will be on the back of the players' minds as they attempt to keep their European campaign alive against a side that will be keen to knock them out of the competition once and for all.
Of course, heading into the match, Juventus coach Antonio Conte attempted to diffuse any pressure on the league leaders, noting that, "there's no pressure on us to win the Europa League because our real place is in the Champions League." But with the final set to be in Turin this May, obviously the reigning Scudetto champions would very much like to be one of those sides contesting the trophy in front of their own fans.
Preview: The Grifone look to cause the Bianconeri problems at their home stadium
Although flying high in Serie A, Juventus's European ambitions hit yet another snag as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina on Thursday evening. With the Scudetto pretty much already wrapped up, they head to Genoa to take on a potentially tricky opponent as the Grifone have lost just one in ten of their home fixtures.
And despite the fact that the Bianconeri hold a 37-point advantage, more than the 35 points Gian Piero Gasperini's men have accumulated this season, the hosts are still hopeful to cause an upset in front of their own fans.
Preview: Bianconeri keen to take one step closer to final against familiar Viola opponents
1-1. No, that was not the scoreline following the Juventus-Fiorentina game this past Sunday, which finished as a 1-0 victory in favour of the Bianconeri thanks to Kwadwo Asamoah's late first half strike. Rather, it reflects how the two sides have done in terms of head-to-head competitions so far this season, with Fiorentina having the honour of being the only side to defeat Antonio Conte's men earlier this year.
Now, the two will face off for the second time in a three-part rumble that started last weekend and will end the following Thursday, but unlike the league in which Juventus might as well already be given the Scudetto--so insurmountable is their lead at the top--the Europa League is a whole new affair. Of course, having been dumped out of the Champions League and with the final set to be played in Turin this May, La Vecchia Signora would be loathe to not be one of those teams on the pitch.
Preview: Bianconeri keen to wrap up Scudetto race against a potentially tricky opponent
Juventus and Fiorentina have a long and contentious history dating back to the 1981-1982 season when the Viola saw a second half goal discounted against Cagliari, forcing them to have to settle for a 0-0 stalemate. Meanwhile, the Bianconeri went on to win their clash with Catanzaro thanks to Liam Brady's second half penalty and their 20th league title as a result.
Anyway, history lesson aside, the last time these two sides met was certainly a day that Fiorentina's tifosi will remember for a long time. Not only was it the first defeat Juventus had suffered all season but also it was the first time that La Vecchia Signoria had conceded four goals in one match under Antonio Conte's reign.
Preview: Milan look to pull off a big upset at the San Siro
AC Milan and Juventus are two of the most historic clubs in Italy. Apart from all of that history, both sides are currently heading in two very different directions.
Juventus are the reigning Serie A champions, and they look destined to win the title again. Antonio Conte’s side has an eight-point lead over AS Roma, but with 13 matches remaining, the visitors will not want to drop points at the San Siro.
Ricardo Montolivo believes that his side has what it takes to embarrass the league leaders, as they did in November of 2012.
Preview: Bianconeri poised to make it to the last 16 of the Europa League
After an embarrassing performance in the Champions League which saw them getting knocked out in the first round of the competition, the Old Lady will be hoping to make the most out of their participation in Europe’s second tier club competition.
The Italian league leaders will head into the second leg with a two goal advantage after goals from Pablo Osvaldo and Paul Pogba gave the Turin side a 2-0 win in the first leg.
Preview: Juve eyeing a strong performance after Champions League humiliation
The Bianconeri were sent packing from the Champions League after finishing behind Real Madrid and Galatasaray in the group stages and now find themselves competing in Europe’s second tier competition.
Even though Antonio Conte’s men have been the best side in Italy by a margin, currently leading second placed AS Roma by nine points, their performances in Champions League were weak and uninspiring which resulted in their eventual knockout.
Preview: Mazzarri keen to have a say in the Scudetto race
Internazionale’s chances of once again being champions of Italy might be the same as Stevenage’s chances of qualifying for Europe for next season but that does not mean that the Nerazzuri will not be having some say as to who wins this year’s Scudetto.
Although they have improved quite a lot under Walter Mazzarri, Inter are still far from a side in a position to fight for a top three place let alone mount a serious title assault.
"To win the Champions League, you need a budget of at least €300 million", Bayern Munich legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn stated to German publication Kicker when asked his opinion on what it takes for a side to lift European continental football's highest trophy.
He then went on to add that it was thanks to their lavish spending that saw Chelsea lift the trophy in 2012, the first in the club's history but conceded that "it doesn't make them any different than Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, or Bayern Munich".
Still, no one can dispute that since Chelsea's July 2003 takeover by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich that the Blues have not enjoyed an upswing in success, notably winning the league title three times (their first since the the 1954-1955 campaign).
Preview: Champions looking to respond after midweek defeat
The Old Lady suffered a 1-0 loss at the same stadium when Roma played host to Juventus in a Coppa Italia tie. A solitary goal from former Arsenal forward Gervinho subjected the bianconeri to only their second domestic defeat of the season.
Last time Antonio Conte’s men lost to an Italian side, they embarked on a 12 match unbeaten run and Juve will now return to “the Eternal City” hoping to bounce back from the defeat and in the process record their 13th straight win in the Serie A.
Preview: A mouthwatering match, worthy of a final
When you think of AS Roma taking on Juventus in the Coppa Italia, you would more than likely think it was a final. But unfortunately, one of these two sides will go out of the competition on Tuesday night at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Rudi Garcia's side got through to the quaterfinals after they defeated Sampdoria just a week ago. An early goal from Torosidis was enough to see Roma through to the next round, where they will face a Juventus side that handed them their only defeat in Serie A this season.
Juventus had an easier path into the next round, as they brushed aside Avelino in the Round of 16. Three first half goals from Giovinco, Caceres and Quagliarella were enough to see off the the Serie B outfit.
Preview: Hosts looking for sixth consecutive win in all competitions
The bianconeri have been on a red hot streak having won all of their last five matches in all competitions. Following their European heartbreak which saw the Old Lady getting knocked out of the competition at the expense of Turkish side Galatasaray, Juventus have picked themselves up in exemplary manner and look destined to clinch their 30th league title by the end of the season.
Despite the fact that Juve have made it look rather easy with the comfortable eight point lead they hold over second placed AS Roma, summer signing Carlos Tevez has praised the competitiveness of the Italian league and has labelled it as the ‘toughest’ league in the world.
Juventus stronger than ever
Who so ever thought that Roma would be matching Juve blow for blow in the race for this season’s Scudetto will definitely have to reassess their stance after the events that transpired last night at the Juventus Stadium. When the biggest Scudetto challenge ends up with a 3-0 win for Juventus, it simply means that at present, there is not team in the country that can overcome Antonio Conte’s side that has been assembled to dominate Italian football for a few more years at least.
In the game against Roma, the Old Lady got her tactics right, was smarter and every member of the starting XI was aware of their responsibilities.