Serie A Week 31 – 28/3/10 (14.00UK)
Juventus – Atalanta
Once this would have been a home banker, but there are no guarantees where the current Juventus side are concerned.
Beaten 1-0 by Sampdoria on Sunday, 3-1 by Napoli on Thursday, out of the Scudetto race, the Champions League, the Coppa Italia and the Europa League, the Bianconeri might have thought things couldn’t get any worse. They would be wrong.
Fan groups have announced plans for mass protests during the Atalanta game, releasing a very strongly worded statement denouncing the board and the squad.
“We are all definitively fed up of this arrogant administration, which is presumptuous, incompetent and good only with words. We can’t stand for any longer this team constructed largely by players who are unworthy of the glorious Juventus jersey, who do not respect or honour our colours and have the gall to insult those who have always supported this club.”
That last line is a clear reference to Felipe Melo and Jonathan Zebina, who have both recently complained regarding their treatment from the fans.
Nonetheless, with Champions League qualification at stake, the Juve players should be able to block out the protest and do the business against Atalanta, who are in 18th place.
Considering that two weeks ago bottom of the table Siena came from 3-0 down to draw at the Olimpico though, an Atalanta side coming off back to back home wins can’t be discounted. The Orobici comfortably defeated both Livorno and Cagliari in the space of four days, scoring six goals in the process.
Of the bottom three Bortolo Mutti’s charges appear to have the best chance to stay up, but there remains a worrying gap between them and the rest of Serie A. Lazio and Udinese are four points ahead, it would be quite a feat were Atalanta to stay up at the expense of one of those established clubs.
The Bergamaschi will be encouraged by the 2-2 draw they gained at the Olimpico last season.
Keep an eye on: David Trezeguet (Juventus) – In troubled times you can’t go wrong with a steady Eddie, and Trez fits the bill. Unspectacular and anonymous at times, the Frenchman is always reliable in front of goal – a poacher par extraordinaire.
Last five in Serie A: Juventus (L W D L L) Atalanta (L D L W W)
Last season: Juventus 2-2 Atalanta
Juventus (probable): Manninger; Zebina, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso; Candreva, Sissoko, Marchisio, Diego; Trezeguet, Del Piero
Atalanta (probable): Consigli; Garics, Bianco, Manfredini, Peluso; Ferreira Pinto, Padoin, Guarente, Valdes; Chevanton, Amoruso
Ref: To follow