Juventus travel to Serie A debutants Spezia eight points adrift of Inter. The Aquile probably need four wins from the next 15 matches to retain their top flight status and have fared remarkably well given they were favourites for the drop. Elsewhere, Andrea Pirlo’s troops know they must go on a near perfect run if they are to catch the Nerazzurri.
Where and when: Allianz Stadium, Turin – 2 March, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Juventus vs. Spezia: Premier Sports 1
Last time: The champions thumped Spezia 4-1 in Liguria.
Juventus v Spezia Predictions and Preview
Pirlo is still without a host of first-teamers and will cast an envious eye at Antonio Conte’s strength in depth. The young tactician is missing Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Arthur Melo and Juan Cuadrado, while Paulo Dybala is no closer to a return and Alvaro Morata is suffering from a flu-like virus.
The Argentine has reportedly travelled to Barcelona this week to meet renowned surgeon Ramon Cugat after six weeks on the treatment table with a knee injury. There are fears the forward could require surgery and Pirlo could regret not bringing in reinforcements in the winter.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
|Both teams to score in the second-half||11/4||Offer|
|Federico Chiesa to score first||9/2||Offer|
|Juventus to win 3-0||13/2||Offer|
Despite the ongoing personnel issues, Cristiano Ronaldo is fit and firing and has 22 goals and four assists this term. The legendary attacker will be joined up top by Dejan Kulusevski with Morata in reserve if required.
Ronaldo is 2/1 to open proceedings while his young partner can be found at 6/1. Kulusevski’s versatility has been a huge bonus for Pirlo and the recruit from Atalanta is part of the next generation of talent alongside Chiesa, Merih Demiral, Weston McKennie and Matthijs de Ligt. The Bianconeri are 2/9 to chalk up victory.
Opponents Spezia have invested well. M’Bala Nzola has a mightily impressive nine goals from 13 appearances since his arrival from Troyes and his stunning exploits have alerted a host of Premier League outfits. West Ham, Newcastle and Fulham all registered an interest in the previous window but Vincenzo Italiano quickly rebuffed approaches for his talisman.
Nzola is 11/2 to bag anytime and Riccardo Saponara is available at 6/1. The Aquile have plenty of Serie A experience in the ranks with Jacopo Sala, Diego Farias, Daniele Verde, Kevin Agudelo and Rafael all acclimated to the division. Spezia are 14/1 to come away with the spoils and a stalemate is 5/1.
One to watch for Juventus: McKennie recently eclipsed compatriot Michael Bradley’s tally at Roma to become the top scoring American in the history of Serie A. The all-action Texan is 9/1 to notch last.
One to watch for Spezia: Andrey Galabinov has spent the entirety of his senior career in Italy, plying his trade through the divisions all the way down to Serie D. The striker will be introduced after the break and is 14/1 in the same market.
Long shot: The Aquile have beaten Napoli and Sassuolo but the shock of the season was their 2-0 success over Milan. The result did not flatter the promoted outfit who also hammered Roma in the Coppa Italia. A repeat of the outcome on Matchday 22 is an astonishing 125/1 and would all but end the Bianconeri’s hopes of a tenth consecutive championship.