When the Serie A schedule was created, Juventus vs. Milan was undoubtedly meant to be the highlight of Round 7. Then along came league darlings AS Roma, perfect through six, who will face a revitalized Inter Milan side, with four wins and two draws to their name. Juventus are faring better than the nerazzurri, with that pesky draw against them blotting their perfect record.
But even allowing for recent history, calcio's schedulers certainly couldn't have thought that Milan would be this unprepared to put up a fight against the current champions. The rossoneri have but two wins to their name this season, have lost twice -- including the season opener to newly promoted Hellas Verona -- and notched improbable draws against Torino and Bologna.
So it seems that, particularly seeing how this match is being played in Turin, all three points should easily be taken by the Old Lady. That's certainly what the bookies are favoring. Except they seem to be forgetting one thing...Lady Luck.
The more cynical among us might call it something else, say, "favoritism." Or even "corruption." Whatever you choose, it's clear that Milan have had more than a little assistance grabbing points this season. In the match against Torino, Andrea Poli earned a penalty in the seventh minute of injury time -- this despite the fact that Marcelo Larrando was lying injured on the pitch, and the referee refused Giampalo Ventura's attempts to make a substitution. Most recently, in Champions League play, Mario Balotelli used stoppage time to earn one of the softest penalties imaginable, getting the rossoneri a last-ditch draw against Ajax.
Cynics, too, would say that Juve have had more than their fair share of assistance this season. An own goal by Alessandro Bernardini to complete the Juventus comeback against Chievo Verona, coming on the heels of an incorrectly ruled out goal from the Flying Donkeys. Then a 1-0 victory in last week's Turin Derby that anyone not wearing bianconeri will swear came from an offside position.
Do both sides have the quality to compete for the scudetto? Yes, although both have their flaws. Milan, of course, are riddled with injuries, as well as being forced to endure a manager with little imagination and ingenuity. Their opponents also seem to have played a mean trick on them by allowing Milan to buy Alessandro Matri. Juventus, on the other hand, are still being tipped for the title, despite often looking as though they're out of answers on the pitch. Summer signing Carlos Tévez, however, is settling in quite well, and will likely continue getting his side out of scrapes.
Juventus injuries and suspensions
Milan injuries and suspensions
Probable starting lineups
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Isla, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Tevez, Quagliarella
AC Milan: Abbiati; Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Montolivo, Robinho; Matri
Sunday, October 6 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Juventus Stadium, Turin
Sky Sport 1 (Italy); BT Sport 1 (UK); beIN Sport en Español (USA); RAI Internazionale
beIN Sport Play (USA)