Juventus Stadium, Turin
May 18th, 2014
Juventus come into this game with two clear objectives: maintain their 100 percent winning record at home and reach the three figure mark. They have already surpassed the all-time record of 97 points in a single season set by Inter Milan in 2007. A win here would cap off a wonderful domestic campaign where they lost only two games.
Cagliari have nothing to play for this season and they would feel relieved to have survived the drop after a season full of off-field turmoils. They are mathematically safe and their recent form suggests they have little chance of getting anything here. They face a summer of uncertainty as their chairman Massimo Cellino is looking to shift attentions to English club Leeds United.
Team news and tactical brief
Juventus will be looking to end the season with a victory which will help them set a new record of points achieved in a single season and also finish with 19 wins out of 19 home games. They are on a six game winning streak conceding only one goal. Antonio Conte will field his best starting eleven on Sunday as the champions will look to put on a show for the last time this season in front of their fans.
Gianluigi Buffon will take his place in goal after Marco Storari performed heroics against Roma last Sunday. Giorgio Chiellini misses out because of his suspension so Angelo Ogbonna is expected to deputize alongside Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli. Claudio Marchiso will replace Simone Padoin in the middle of the park. Paul Pogba will be eager to continue his fine displays and Andrea Pirlo will take his customary position as the regista. Stephan Lichtsteiner heads the chart for the highest number of assists for a defender in Italy this season and he will be looking to end his season on a high before captaining Switzerland in the World Cup. Kwado Asamoah will retain his position at left fullback.
Pablo Osvaldo might fancy his chances after the late winner against Roma but Conte will most likely field his first choice pairing of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente. Both will be looking to get on the score-sheet to finish the season on a high after enjoying a very successful first year in Serie A.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon (GK); Barzagli, Bonucci, Ogbonna; Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba, Lichtsteiner, Asamoah; Llorente, Tevez
The Sardinians currently sit in 15th position on the table, well clear of the relegation zone. Strength and industry are two attributes very associative with the Cagliari side. Ivo Pulga is likely to field a 4-3-1-2 formation but one might be little surprised to see the entire midfield line remain committed only to the defensive duties and deny space to the likes of Tevez and Llorente.
Calgiari will most likely have as many as seven on-field players floating inside their own half. Andrea Cossu will be slotted in as trequartista and he will need to be on the top of his game to get the better of the solid Juventus backline. Daniele Dessena and Sebastian Eriksson would be starting wide in the middle three. Eriksson will start on the left side of the midfield and will ensure some exciting duels with Paul Pogba. Skipper Daniele Conti will primarily guard the central defence fielding in the deepest position of the midfield. His main job for this game will be to track Tevez’s movements and never allow him too much of space to work around with.
Luca Rossettini and Davide Astori will continue to start in the central defence flanked on the either side by Danilo Avelar and Gabriele Perico. The two man attack will feature Marco Sau and Victor Ibarbo.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Avramov (GK); Perico, Rossettini, Astori, Avelar; Eriksson, Conti, Dessena; Cossu; Sau, Ibarbo
Players to Watch Out For
Carlos Tevez (Juventus)
The Argentine has had a truly remarkable season scoring 19 goals. Although he is behind top-scorer Ciro Immobile in the race for the Capocannoniere, he will be hoping for a strong performance here to end his wonderful season with the crown of the top striker in Italy.
Daniele Conti (Cagliari)
The Cagliari captain will leave the club after almost 15 years and over 400 games with them. It will be an emotional afternoon for him and he will be hoping to grab a trademark long-ranger to mark this occasion.
Juventus 2–0 Cagliari
Cagliari are unbeaten against Juventus in the new Juventus stadium so far (they lost 1-0 in the Coppa Italia though). But this run is expected to end on Sunday afternoon as the Bianconeri are just too strong and ruthless at this moment. Cagliari have failed to win 23 of their last 24 away matches in Serie A.
Blast From the Past
The last meeting between these two sides in the Juventus stadium in 2013 was also played under similar circumstances; Juventus were already crowned champions and it was a party atmosphere in front of the home fans. The game ended 1-1.