Juventus have the opportunity to move a whopping 11 points clear at the top of Serie A on Friday night when they welcome historical rivals AC Milan to the J Stadium.
The league leaders actually slipped up in their previous outing, saved by a second-half goal from Leonardo Bonucci and stumbling to a 1-1 draw against Udinese. However, they were still able to extend their lead, with nearest challengers Roma slumping to a 2-1 defeat at home to third-place Napoli.
On home soil, Massimiliano Allegri’s team have had very few problems anyway, winning their last 35 domestic matches on their own patch; they haven’t suffered a defeat in their last 44 games there. It’s a measure of the challenge facing Milan.
The visitors will approach this clash with confidence, though, after winning their last three Serie A games in a row. Vincenzo Montella’s side may be sat in seventh place, but with just nine points separating themselves and Roma, there’s still plenty to play for for the Rossoneri between now and the end of the campaign.
It means they will go to the home of the champions looking for a way to get a positive result. After all, earlier in the season Milan beat Juve 1-0 on their own patch, while they also edged out the champions in the Supercoppa Italiana after a penalty shootout.
Juventus did triumph in the Coppa Italia meeting, although a 10-man Milan team were unfortunate not to tie that one at least. Given this will be the fourth meeting between the two rivals this season, perhaps Montella has had time to fashion a formula to halt the Juventus juggernaut in their tracks.
Where to watch the game on US TV and streaming
Date: Friday, March 10, 2017
Time: 2:45 p.m. (ET), 11:45 a.m. (PT)
US TV: beIN SPORTS
US Streaming: fubo Premier (7-day free trial)
Things have been going so well for Juventus in recent weeks, so much so, that even when they did struggle at Udinese, they still pulled clear.
The draw at the Stadio Friuli was the worst performance turned in by Allegri’s men for a long time. They were poor in the final third, fractured in midfield and their usually impeccable defence struggled to contain the opposition. In the end, the visitors might have considered themselves lucky to get a point.
Although Allegri fielded a full strength side in the main, there was a sense that Juve may have been a little jaded. After all, they’ve been involved in some intense clashes lately, in Serie A, the Coppa Italia semi-final with Napoli and the UEFA Champions League showdown with Porto.
With this match to come as well as the second leg with Porto, perhaps Juventus did take their eye off the ball a little bit. However, while they have been a bit disjointed on the road this season, in front of the Juventini they’ve excelled, maintaining stunning technical standards and unbending energy.
The beauty of playing on a Friday is that Juventus can really heap pressure on their rivals and with that in mind, expect no slacking off in standards from the champions when Milan come to town.