Hoping to keep themselves in the title race with a win, Scudetto dark horses Juventus take on struggling Sampdoria at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Saturday.
The Bianconeri edged out Spezia last weekend to extend their unbeaten run to a 14th Serie A match, and are in striking distance of top spot with 10 games left to play. Samp, meanwhile, merely aim to maintain their top-flight status.
Now seeking a 15th straight league game without defeat – having won nine times during that period – Juventus have clearly rediscovered an ability to grind out results of late, following months of frustrating inconsistency.
Indeed, in 2022, the Turin giants have gained the most points of any club in Serie A and are one of only five teams across the top five European leagues still unbeaten during this calendar year.
As they travel to Liguria on Saturday – a week after beating Sampdoria’s near neighbours Spezia at home – Juve last suffered an away defeat at the end of October, against Hellas Verona.
Since then, they have remained unbeaten in eight away league games, and the last time they went nine without loss was during Max Allegri’s first spell at the club, when they ultimately racked up a staggering 26 successive away games undefeated.
Still in with a chance of claiming silverware this term – with at least a defence of the Coppa Italia still on the cards – the Bianconeri could feasibly sneak past both Milan clubs and Napoli to claim an unlikely title triumph, but to do so, surely their relentless run will have to stretch to the end of the campaign.
Despite a lacklustre showing against Spezia, where Alvaro Morata’s first-half strike helped Juve’s injury-stricken side to three precious points, they will be heavily fancied to pick up another win this weekend.
As they have scored at least twice in each of their last six games against Sampdoria in all competitions (with 16 goals in total), the visitors’ new-look strikeforce will certainly fancy their chances of topping up their tallies in Genoa.
Having already been beaten twice in Turin by Saturday’s this term – with a 3-2 league defeat being followed January’s Coppa Italia exit at the hands of Juventus – it is fair to assume that Sampdoria would rather see any other team coach arrive at Marassi this week than the Bianconeri’s.
Marco Giampaolo may have helped Samp to a couple of victories since returning as head coach at the start of the year, but they approach Saturday evening having been chastened by successive defeats – first 4-0 to Atalanta, then 2-1 against fellow strugglers Udinese last time out.
Nonetheless, the Blucerchiati have won without conceding a goal in their last two home fixtures – against Sassuolo (4-0) and Empoli (2-0) – so home advantage may at least assuage fears of a mauling by Italy’s most in-form side.
In fact, with a surprise success, Samp could even win a third Serie A home game in a row for the first time since January 2019 – meanwhile reducing their risk of being drawn into a relegation fight during the campaign’s closing weeks.
The only side yet to draw a top-flight game since the turn of the year – losing seven times in the process – they occupy 15th spot in the table but remain uncomfortably close to the dotted line. Sitting only four points above 18th-placed Venezia, having played a game more, Sampdoria are certainly not out of the woods yet.
Sampdoria Serie A form:
Juventus Serie A form:
Juventus form (all competitions):
We say: Sampdoria 1-2 Juventus
With rock-bottom Salernitana next to play in Serie A, Juve’s unbeaten run should continue until next month’s Derby d’Italia at least, as they can come away from Marassi with all three points.
While rarely an attractive watch, Allegri’s men are becoming well versed in the practice of seeing out narrow victories, while their opponents have previously won just four times from 14 attempts on home turf.