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JUVENTUS

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FIORENTINA

Juventus Stadium, Turin
Wednesday 29th April, 2015, 18:45 GMT

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Juventus have no time to dwell on a disappointing derby defeat to Torino as they host Fiorentina on Wednesday with the knowledge that a win could secure the Serie A title.Massimiliano Allegri’s men could have wrapped up a fourth consecutive Scudetto had they beaten Torino on Sunday, provided Lazio and Roma had lost to Chievo and Inter respectively. As it transpired Lazio earned a point against Chievo to ensure that scenario was not a possibility, but despite Torino’s 2-1 win – their first derby triumph since 1995 – it remains a matter of when and not if Juve win the title. Indeed, that could come as early as Wednesday’s contest at the Juventus Stadium if Juve win and Lazio fail to beat rock-bottom Parma, with a superior head-to-head record rendering Roma’s result an irrelevance. But Allegri, whose side knocked Fiorentina out of the Coppa Italia earlier this month, says Juve must be more methodical in their play if they are to defeat Vincenzo Montella’s team.

Fiorentina travel to Turin in poor domestic form, having lost their last three league matches.The latest setback came in a 3-1 reverse at home to relegation-threatened Cagliari, which led to the Stadio Artemio Franchi faithful jeering in disapproval. Montella stated his sympathy for the fans, who have seen Fiorentina seemingly blow their chances of a top-three finish and the UEFA Champions League qualification it would bring. They remain in with a chance of securing a seat at Europe’s top table next term, though, having made the Europa League semi-finals.

Team news and tactical brief

Juventus

A 33rd league title is within touching distance for Juventus and if results go their way then they will be celebrating on Wednesday evening. They need to pick up a win against Fiorentina and hope that Lazio fail to beat Parma at home. It does not seem out of the question, given that Lazio were held to a draw by Chievo at the Stadio Olimpico at the weekend, while Parma claimed a 1-0 victory over Palermo to earn their third win in five games. Even if Juventus don’t manage to win the Scuedetto this week, it is surely only a matter of time until they are crowned champions once again and with a Coppa Italia final to come and a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, they are still very much on for a remarkable treble.

Despite their dominant position at the top of the table, they have stuttered in the league recently and have lost two of their previous three matches, with the latest of those coming against city rivals Torino on Sunday afternoon. Massimiliano Allegri did make a number of changes to his side, with the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Carlos Tevez and Andrea Barzagli named on the bench, but they should all return to the starting lineup to face the Viola with so much at stake. Tevez will be expected to start for Juventus, while Claudio Marchisio is available after serving a ban at the weekend. Chiellini is also likely to be restored to the defence, as Leonardo Bonucci misses out through suspension. Patrice Evra missed the Turin derby with a hip injury and if he is unable to recover in time then Simone Padoin will once again fill in down the left flank.

Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2):Buffon(Gk); Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Barzagli, Evra; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Pereyra, Tevez, Morata

Juventus-Fiorentina

Fiorentina

At the beginning of the month Fiorentina were in fine form and a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria had boosted their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. However, they have lost their three previous games in the league and it has seen them drop down to sixth place and they are now eight points away from third-placed Roma. Their immediate concern now must be ensuring at least a top-six finish, as Genoa and Torino have closed to within two points of them in the table, with Inter Milan also hoping to punish them for any more mistakes.

Vincenzo Montella will be particularly disappointed at their performance at the weekend, as they suffered a 3-1 defeat against relegation-threatened Cagliari. It was their second successive home defeat, as they were beaten by Hellas Verona last Monday, despite dominating virtually the entire match. It is not all doom and gloom for Fiorentina, as they are in the semi-finals of the Europa League following their victory over Dynamo Kiev and they will now face holders Sevilla for the chance to play in next month’s final. Fiorentina are without Khouma Babacar, who picked up a knee injury last week against Verona and will not play again this season. Montella could make a number of changes to his side, with first-team regulars Gonzalo Rodriguez, Mario Gomez and Joaquin expected to return to the starting lineup.

Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3):Neto(Gk); Richards, Rodriguez, Savic, Alonso; Badelj, Fernandez, Aquilani; Salah, Gomez, Joaquin

Key Facts

  • Juventus are undefeated in their last 44 home matches in Serie A.
  • Fiorentina have lost their last 3 matches in Serie A.
  • Juventus are undefeated in 28 of their last 31 matches against Fiorentina in all competitions.

Players to Watch Out For

Carlos Tevez (Juventus)

Carlos Tevez has already scored 18 times this season in Serie A and after missing out on the derby he will be fired up for this game a which is bad news for Montella and co.

Milan Badelj (Fiorentina)

Milan Badelj has impressed a lot this season and the Croatian will be looking to dictate the play sitting in front of the defence tonight.

Prediction

Juventus 2a 1 Fiorentina

Juventus would have been disappointed to lose the derby against Torino at the weekend, but with the title up for grabs they will be desperate to beat Fiorentina. They are expected to welcome back a number of key players and with the visitors in poor form, they should end up claiming all the points.

Blast From the Past

These teams recently played each other in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia and Fiorentina won the first leg of that tie 2-1 in Turin, thanks to a double from Mohamed Salah.