This might not be earth-shattering news to anybody, but the month of February was pretty good to Juventus. Continue to build on the lead in Serie A in a post-Fiorentina loss world? Check. Get an advantage in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 tie against Porto? Check. Do the same thing against Napoli in the Coppa Italia? Check that one off, too.
The shortest month of the year was certainly a successful one for Juventus. They might not have played all that great at times, but when you’re in a business where winning in the No. 1 goal, then Juventus can say they did that quite a bit over the last four weeks.
Now, as Juventus head into March, the home stretch of the season is starting to come more and more into focus. Juventus are about to hit their 27th game in a 38-game schedule, meaning the chance to count the remaining fixtures will soon be able to be done on two hands at most. Round 27 takes Juve to the new-look Friuli in Udine, where Max Allegri and his merry men will be facing a Udinese team that could be considered one of the most out-of-form teams in Serie A these days.
Over the last six league games, this is how it’s gone for each bianconeri-clad team...
That’s pretty good for Juventus. For Udinese? Yeah...not so much.
Playing teams in the lower third (or thereabouts) of the Serie A table has seemed like the norm for the past two or three weeks. Juve has taken care of business against all of them. Not slip-ups against the provincial sides — yet. No frustrating draws against provincial sides where we’re sitting here wanting to pull out our hair as Juve drops points in a game they have no business dropping points. That’s allowed Juventus to maintain their seven-point advantage over Roma and see Napoli drop further and further behind in third place in the last few rounds of games.
That was the case Saturday when Roma lost to Napoli. And that means that Juventus can make it a plus-10 advantage for more than just a couple of hours with a win over Udinese at the Friuli.
Sounds like a pretty good way to wrap up the weekend, doesn’t it? Yeah, I think so, too.
Location: Stadio Friuli, Udine, Italy
Kick-off time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. on the East Coast; 6 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Buffon; Dani Alves, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic; Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic; Gonzalo Higuain
Juventus bench: Neto, Emil Audero, Medhi Benatia, Andrea Barzagli, Daniele Rugani, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Kwadwo Asamoah, Claudio Marchisio, Tomas Rincon, Marko Pjaca
Udinese starting XI (4-3-3): Orestis Karnezis; Silvan Widmer, Danilo, Felipe, Samir; Fofana, Emil Hallfredsson, Jakub Jankto; Rodrigo De Paul, Duvan Zapata, Stipe Perica
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