Juventus can slowly sense their Serie A crown disappearing into the mud. Currently lying second in the table, the Turin giants face a side they have not lost against since November 2009 – a whole sixteen encounters ago.
Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:
For their part Cagliari entertain Juventus still looking back at the throng of relegation-threatened teams below, but have newfound momentum after a 2-1 away win at Atalanta.
Juventus manager, Massimiliano Allegri, has spoken out about the pressure on star striker Paulo Dybala to perform. He said: “In the next three years he will be, together with Neymar, the most important player in the world. Today there are Messi and Ronaldo and it is difficult, but his path is that he has to improve physically, technically and mentally.”
Players to watch: Juventus striker, Paulo Dybala, has scored 14 league goals to date, which is almost as many as the entire Cagliari team put together (18). It was, however, his strike partner Gonzalo Higuain who was at the double in the reverse fixture, when Juventus won 2-0 (SA). At the other end, Juventus’ veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon remains sidelined with injury. For Cagliari, centre back Filippo Romagna appears against his former club.
Stat attack: Juventus have won each of the last three meetings with Cagliari to nil. In records spanning back to November 1993, this is the first time in the entire history of matches between the sides that Juventus have had such a dominant run. All signs point to a Juventus win, with the visitors seeking a fifth straight away win.
By sheer contrast, Cagliari have taken just one home point from the last 12. A Juventus half-time lead will almost certainly spell victory for the champions, who have only lost once this season (out of 13 occasions) after being in that position. The visitors may not be the consummate leaders they once were, they do have the best record in the league over a ten-game sequence, winning on eight occasions.
Cagliari: Joao Pedro (suspension), S. Miangue (suspension)
Juventus: B. Howedes (thigh injury), G. Buffon (doubtful), J. Cuadrado (doubtful), M. De Sciglio (doubtful), C. Marchisio (doubtful).