With the Serie A firmly in Napoli’s hands, Italian giants Juventus are looking to take all the points they can from the final games of the season, to finish as high as possible and send a statement to their rivals for next year. Recently promoted Cremonese still have an outside chance of survival this year so this could be a spicy fixture.
Juve have had an interesting season, they have not been the dominant force in Italy that they have been for the past decade and Serie A seems a much more competitive league these days because of it. Although still in second place, there is some work to do to remain there and to ensure Champions League qualification with Lazio, long-time rivals Inter and AC Milan hot on their heels. Their form has been far from stellar recently, having won their last two matches but dropping points at Bologna and then going home empty-handed in their previous three league matches.
Cremonese have been inch-worming their way towards safety in recent weeks; with an important win against fellow relegation candidates Spezia and an arguably more impressive draw against Milan when a man down. They picked up a further vital point against Verona, who currently occupy the first safe spot in the league before getting plastered at Udinese. The good thing for them is, that they are picking up points against the teams around them in the table, but will it be enough? One thing that stands in their way is their poor recent disciplinary record as they have had back-to-back sending off’s in two of their last three games, meaning that midfielder Charles Pickel will be out with suspension. There is a chance the Violins will also be without forward Cyriel Dessers and Frank Tsadjout but they may recover in time for the fixture.
It's going to be a relatively clean bill of health for the Turin side although they will be without full-back De Sciglio and it is unlikely that we will see Bremer or Kaio Jorge play a part. We may be treated a full ninety minutes from Paul Pogba though as he now seems fully fit. A player that has proven his worth to Juventus this season is Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik. The former Napoli striker brings a wealth of being the leading man for a big Italian club and the outlet he creates for his team is just as valuable as the goals he scores. His grace betrays his frame, he is a delicate and technical player who can score and create goals in equal measure. His physical presence in the middle of the park allows Juve’s wide players to wreak havoc between the lines.
The in-form David Okereke has been Cremonese’s savior in recent weeks, scoring vital equalising goals against Verona and Milan and they may well look to him again as he certainly does not go missing in the big games. A speedy winger by trade, he has proven equally as effective in the middle of the park and with 7 goals already this term in a struggling side, the 24-year-old could be looking at a Nigerian call-up as a reward for his efforts.
If you’re in the UK, you can catch this clash on BT Sport 1 or the BT Sport App.
Expert Insight: Cremonese have developed a curious habit of taking points off the big boys and their positional rivals, but is it too little too late? There’s no doubt that they have momentum, but with Juventus winning their last two and having a much stronger squad on paper, it will be a big ask for Cremonese to go for the win. I would anticipate a close game with Cremonese trying to impose their physicality to overcome the flair and creativity of Juventus.