Cagliari vs Juventus, Preview: There's no place like home

Claudio Villa

This feels like double déjà vu for Cagliari and not in a good way.

Still smarting from being dumped out of the Coppa Italia by Juventus, Cagliari are now forced to face the winter champions at the Tardini stadium - the site of last week's 4-1 hammering suffered against Parma.

Security issues continue to plague Cagliari's IS Arenas home and the Mayor's clearance came after the league had already moved the game. Some 15,000 tickets have reportedly already been snapped up, but fans must now complete a 780-mile round trip in order to enjoy the match.

On the field, things aren't faring too well for the Sardinian outfit. The side have picked up just two points from their last seven league games and come into this game on the back of four defeats in a row. Five if you include the Coppa defeat. Not the best time to be playing Juventus, if ever there was one.

The Bianconeri cruised past Atalanta last weekend with three goals inside the first half hour. Results elsewhere couldn't have gone any better as losses for Inter Milan and Napoli, plus the latter's two point deduction means Juventus have opened up a seven point gap at the top.

Juventus have won five out of the six previous meetings between the two sides in all competitions. Last season's corresponding fixture was also played on neutral territory, in Trieste and proved to be the Scudetto clinching game for the Old Lady.

Cagliari did earn a 1-1 draw in Turin back in January, but you have to go back to November 2009 for the last time Cagliari defeated Juventus. A certain Alessandro Matri was on the scoresheet that day and could return to haunt Cagliari, if selected to play by Antonio Conte.

The defending champions suffered a blow in midweek after club captain Giorgio Chiellini suffered a calf injury in training which could put him on the shelf for several months. Martin Caceres is expected to fill the void at the back, along with Leonardo Bonucci, who returns from suspension. Nicklas Bendtner and Simone Pepe remain sidelined nursing thigh injuries and Lucio has signed for Sao Paulo after having his playing contract rescinded.

Sebastian Eriksson is Cagliari's only major injury, but club captain Daniele Conti will also miss the game through suspension.

Cagliari injuries and suspensions

Out: Sebastian Eriksson (injured) Daniele Conti (suspended)

Juventus injuries and suspensions

Out: Giorgio Chiellini, Simone Pepe, Nicklas Bendtner(injured)

Match Date/Time: Friday 21st December 2012 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Ennio Tardini, Parma, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy) RAI Internazionale, beIN Sport (U.S) ESPN (UK)

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