Serie A is gearing up for a Friday night encounter between Juventus and Bologna.
Based purely off of league position, the game may not be obviously appealing. Juventus have recently regained their top of the table status after triumphing against previous league leaders Napoli.
Bologna, the home side on Friday evening, are sitting in mid-table, currently in tenth place. However, the game is not one to be underestimated.
Following a managerial change Bologna have experienced a new lease of life and have managed an impressive series of performances, including some of the best away form in the league.
Juventus, meanwhile, are on one of the longest winning streaks in any of the major European leagues. It remains to be seen whether Juventus will sustain their momentum now they have achieved their aim of removing Napoli from first place.
Bologna have chalked up their superiority away from home in comparison to their home results as being down to the pressure of playing in front of a home crowd.
If that’s the case, Friday night is likely to be more pressured than ever, due to the visit of such a high profile side as Juventus. Emil Krafth is set to be unavailable for the home side due to injury, as is Luca Rossettini.
Bologna are likely to start their usual 4-3-3 with Diamara playing as the only dedicated defensive midfielder in a central triangle. Bologna have managed to win their last two back to back matches, although Juventus are likely to prove a much tougher test.
Bologna have shown their immense potential away from home – their challenge will be to replicate that form in front of their own fans.
Juventus go into the game strongly favored, and with good reason. The side are on a huge winning streak which has seen them ascend to the summit of Serie A.
One of the most challenging aspects of Friday’s fixture for the Italian league leaders is balancing the need to field a competitive side and retain their top of the table position with the upcoming Champions League fixture against Bayern Munich.
An added complexity stems from the fact that Juventus are currently suffering from a range of injuries, including a weakened defense which may see them move away from their usual three at the back formation. The side may shift to a conventional back four on Friday. Juventus have been on an impressive run, including a recent triumph against Napoli. The question is whether it will come to an end against Bologna.
Although a Juventus win is expected, it is far from guaranteed. The injury crisis coupled with the upcoming European fixture with Bayern could leave Bologna primed for the chance to claim a major scalp. Juventus will be keen to avoid dropping points – not only to sustain their epic winning streak but to hold off a Napoli side hot on their heels.