Serie A Preview: Juventus v Atalanta
Atalanta will be the unwilling hosts of a title-winning party when they face newly-crowned Serie A champions Juventus on Wednesday.
Antonio Conte’s team sealed their 29th league success at the weekend, as a 1-0 win over Palermo ensured they carved out an insurmountable lead at the summit.
It was the fourth title win of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s career and, according to the Italy number one, the best yet.
“It’s a huge weight off our shoulders, a responsibility we’ve had from the start of the season. When you’re favourites and expected to win, it’s only yours to lose. We did well,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed this particular Scudetto triumph, we’ve shown our group spirit right from the first match. We never put a foot wrong when it counted and in recent matches, we took the decisive steps by winning difficult games that were anything but guaranteed victories.”
With the league title now wrapped up, Juve in truth have little to play for when they travel to the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.
And that will be music to the ears of Atalanta manager Stefano Colantuono, with his side still not assured of their top-flight status for next year.
The hosts are seven points clear of 18th-placed Palermo, but will be keen to get past the 40-point mark generally associated with survival.
However, Atalanta have not beaten Juventus in Serie A since February 2001 and suffered a 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
Perhaps surprisingly given the two sides’ respective fortunes this term, Atalanta’s top scorer German Denis has hit the back of the net more times than any of his Juve counterparts.
The 31-year-old has netted 15 league goals in 33 appearances while Arturo Vidal, the champions’ top marksman, has just 10 Serie A strikes.
Mon 6 May, 2013