Juventus vs Fiorentina
The Purple army is heading North West this weekend for a date in Turin, as Juventus host Fiorentina in Round 22 of Serie A.
I Bianconeri hopes to tighten its grip on the league title race, seeking a record ninth Scudetto in a row, but last week Napoli proved the league leaders are not unbeatable.
That defeat in Naples left Juventus just three points clear of Inter Milan at the top of La Liga, with Lazio five adrift but with a game in hand, and the league’s most lethal scoring weapon, Ciro Immobile spearheading their charge.
Despite Lazio’s impressive charge, the latest Serie A 2020 here at SBOTOP pitch Inter as the biggest rivals to Juve’s dominance, at 4.00 compared to Lazio’s 6.50. Inter have been busy in the transfer window and head coach Antonio Conte has strengthened well.
Juve boss Maurizio Sarri won’t be too worried. His team is at 1.36 to lift the Scudetto in May, but Bianconeri fans will keep a close eye on the other fixtures: Lazio is at home to 18th placed SPAL while Inter visit 14th placed Udinese.
Juventus won’t have an easy ride on Sunday. Giuseppe Iachini’s Fiorentina has improved of late and will arrive in Turin in confident mood.
Will Fiorentina suffer a backlash?
I Bianconeri were stunned last week, beaten by an out of form Napoli side which, on the day, thoroughly deserved their victory. It was the big Serie A 2020 news of the week and, rest assured, Sarri will have gone over every detail of the match with his squad.
They just couldn’t keep the re-invigorated Lorenzo Insigne quiet, as the Napoli captain dictated the pace of the game and carved out plenty of chances. In Rodrigo Bentancur, Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi Sarri undoubtedly has some gifted midfield stars, but he may rotate against Fiorentina, with Aaron Ramsay fit and ready to make an appearance.
The bright spot of a bad night in Naples was the continued form of Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored his 17th league goal of the season, though it was only a consolation. The Portuguese star will undoubtedly have Immobile in his sights and will be ready to test La Viola to its limits.
Cutrone joins La Viola
Eight points from four league games have lifted Fiorentina clear of relegation trouble and Iachini has moved to strengthen his front line with the signing of Patrick Cutrone.
The former Milan striker has joined La Viola on an 18-month loan from Wolves, with a view to a permanent deal. He scored 13 goals in 63 games for I Rossoneri and will be another creative threat to help continue the Florence club’s climb up the table.
He will join Federico Chiesa, who has three goals and three assists this season and top scorer Dusan Vlahovic, who has four goals to his name. Former FC Bayern star Franck Ribery is injured.
Fiorentina went out of the Coppa Italia in midweek, losing 2-1 to Inter Milan, who had new signing Christian Eriksen on show. The Viola put up a decent fight, with three shots on target to Inter’s five, and it was a first defeat in six, a run which included an impressive 0-2 win over Napoli when Chiesa was on target. New signing Cutrone made a second-half appearance against Inter and he could be set to play a part on Sunday.
A year ago Fiorentina were ninth in the table on 30 points. They are currently 13th on 25 points but heading in the right direction.
Juventus have won the Scudetto for the last eight seasons, but Fiorentina have had their day, twice winners of Serie A, most recently in 1969, and their last big prize was the 2001 Coppa Italia.
The head to head contests favour the Old Lady; Juventus have won 29 of the 52 meetings, while there have been 16 draws and seven wins for Fiorentina.
The last meeting was a 0-0 draw in Florence back in September, and a repeat of that would be a fantastic result for La Viola.
Juventus’ home record is nine wins and one draw.