Fiorentina vs. Juventus, preview: Juve hope to capitalise on the Viola's sketchy start

Marco Luzzani

Fiorentina will have to improve on their sketchy start to the season if they're to take points from Juventus on Sunday.

Juventus haven't lost a competitive match since they were knocked out of last season's Champions League by eventual winners Bayern Munich. The bianconeri may only be third in Serie A at the moment, but they're ominously lurking; waiting to pounce on the inevitable slip-ups of Roma and Napoli and claim their third consecutive scudetto with industrial efficiency.

That's the likely scenario, anyway. If they are going to be stopped, dangerous sides like Fiorentina -- who welcome Juve to the Artemio Franchi this weekend -- need to start taking points from the Old Lady. Unfortunately, it's easier said than done. The viola haven't beaten the bianconeri since 2008, and despite both sides improving their squads quite dramatically since, they, like the rest of Serie A, still lag behind.

What's more, Fiorentina have been pretty sketchy by their high standards so far this season; currently down in sixth place. New players combined with the distraction of the Europa League have meant they've only picked up three wins from their opening seven games, though there'd be no better occasion on which to return to winning ways than with three points against Juventus.

They'll still be without marquee summer signing Mario Gómez, though the recent fantastic form of Giuseppe Rossi has given them -- and indeed the whole of Italy ahead of Brazil 2014 -- great hope. Let's just hope their new method of transporting him to games in a roll of bubble wrap continues to be so effective. Elsewhere, Ahmed Hegazy and Ante Rebić are still unavailable, while David Pizarro is in doubt.

For Juve, Fabio Quagliarella is the only player definitely sidelined by injury, though he could be joined by Mirko Vučinić, Simone Pepe and Martín Cáceres on the injury list if they aren't declared fit to play.

Fiorentina injuries and suspensions

Out: Mario Gómez, Ahmed Hegazy, Ante Rebić (injured). In doubt: David Pizarro.

Juventus injuries and suspensions

Out: Fabio Quagliarella (injured). In doubt: Mirko Vučinić, Simone Pepe, Martín Cáceres.

Projected lineups

Fiorentina: Neto; Stefan Savić, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Nenad Tomović; Manuel Pasqual, Alberto Aquilani, Borja Valero, Massimo Ambrosini, Juan Cuadrado; Giuseppe Rossi, Joaquín.

Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli; Kwadwo Asamoah, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Mauricio Isla; Sebastian Giovinco, Carlos Tévez.

Match Date/Time: Sunday, 3 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy

TV: beIN Sport en Español (U.S. - Spanish), RAI Internazionale (U.S. and Canada - Italian), BT Sport 1 (U.K.), Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)

Online: beIN Sport Play (U.S. and Canada)

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