The pressure is on for Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus to beat Spezia and keep their Serie A title hopes alive.
Tuesday night sees reigning Serie A champions Juventus welcome Spezia to Turin in need of maximum points to keep their title hopes alive.
A 21-point gap separates the two clubs in the standings. Juventus are unsurprisingly ahead in third-place, with Spezia in 14th, and desperately need to avoid dropping any more points to stay in touch with Inter and AC Milan in the title battle.
Despite the enormous gulf in stature between the sides, however, Spezia cannot be underestimated. The newcomers are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the big boys and hope to defy the odds stacked against them to upset Cristiano Ronaldo and co.
Juventus Form & Stats
‘Inexperience’ was Andrea Pirlo’s excuse for a lackluster 1-1 draw at Hellas Verona over the weekend. The Juventus manager could still be without six first-team players and might have to start Nicolo Fagioli against Spezia, despite the young midfielder reportedly not 100% fit.
The Old Lady will again rely heavily on Ronaldo to make the difference. The ageless Portuguese has been a game-changer again this season, scoring a league-best of 19 goals and that crucial first goal of a game six times. He also bagged a brace in the 4-1 win over Spezia back in November and has supplied three goals in his last two outings.
With their Scudetto title hopes on the line, Juventus must win. There is no reason the 36-time Italian champions cannot do so against Spezia, having won eight of their 11 home league games this season (D2 L1). They hope to extend their winning run in Turin to five league games.
Key Team Stats
- Only 1 win in their last 5 games in all competitions (D2 L2).
- Won 6 of their last 8 home games by at least 2 goals in all competitions.
- Best defensive record in the league with only 20 goals conceded.
- Won 21 of their last 23 home league games against newly-promoted clubs (D2).
- Cristiano Ronaldo has managed 6 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 home league games.
- Cristiano Ronaldo could become the first player to score at least 20 league goals in a top-5 European league in each of the last 12 seasons.
- CR7 has also scored 3 goals in his last 2 league games.
Spezia Form & Stats
The Eagles have performed above expectations in their first Italian top-flight campaign. They sit 14th in Serie A on 25 points from 24 games following a comeback 2-2 draw against the relegation-threatened Parma and done well against the big clubs.
Despite losing 4-1 to Juventus back in November, Spezia have beaten AC Milan (2-0), Roma (3-0), and Napoli (2-1) this season. They also narrowly lost 2-1 to Inter Milan and Lazio. In fact, the visitors have fared better against teams in the upper half on the league standings compared to the lower-half.
Vincenzo Italiano’s men have also done better away from home, having won four of their six games on the road. They have the league’s eighth-best away record, with only five points fewer compared to Juventus. And with their top-scorer M’Bala Nzola fit and healthy again, Spezia hope to break down the Bianconeri’s injury-hit backline.
Key Team Stats
- Won 2 of their last 4 league games (D1 L1).
- 4 of their 6 wins this season have come away from home.
- Over 2.5 goals scored in 10 of their last 11 away league games.
- Only lost 1 of their 3 league games against Juventus in the past (W1 D1).
- Have beaten beaten AC Milan, AS Roma, and Napoli this season.
- M’Bala Nzola has scored 9 goals in only 14 league games this season.
Out: Paulo Dybala, Arthur, Juan Cuadrado, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci.
Doubts: Alvaro Morata, Nicolo Fagioli.
Out: Tommaso Pobega, Riccardo Saponara, Federico Mattiello, Rafael.
(Note: The image will change to the official XI once they’re both announced)
Top Goalscorers in Serie A
Head-To-Head Record (Serie A)
Below are some head-to-head stats on each team’s recent form in Serie A.