Both Fiorentina and Juventus struggled through January, and although both sides won last weekend, it was the Viola that looked more convincing. Will the Old Lady manage to extend their lead at the top of the table?
The first match of Round 24 should be one of the most interesting of the week -- or, failing that, it may at least have dramatic consequences. Thanks to a less than spectacular January, Juventus are now just three points clear at the top of the table. Fortunately for the Serie A leaders, Fiorentina's hit a bit of a rough patch as well. The Viola picked up just one point in January, and despite a win at Parma last week, they've fallen down to sixth place.
Now that it's clear that Vincenzo Montella isn't perfect, it should be simple enough for the bianconeri to take all three points. But Juventus aren't just thinking about Saturday -- they've also got to look ahead to Tuesday's Champions League tie with Celtic. With less than spectacular strikers on staff, it will become a juggling act, assessing who's set to help the side maintain their league position, and who will be relied upon to step up in Europe.
Juve are further hindered by the number of players that were away on international duty midweek, as well as the fact that both Claudio Marchisio and Sebastian Giovinco have picked up knocks. Fortunately, Alessandro Matri, who scored the opener against Chievo Verona last week, is fit and set to start. And there's always Nicolas Anelka!
Fiorentina looked like they were back to their old tricks last week, absolutely dominating the match, with Luca Toni and Stefan Jovetic the scorers against Parma. There's little reason to think Montella will make changes to this 3-5-2, other than replacing suspended Giulio Migliaccio. It's likely it will be Romulo will join David Pizarro and Borja Valero in midfield. But after last week's win, the Viola should have been reminded that they're legitimate Champions League contenders, and be confident enough to shake up the Old Lady.
Juventus Injuries and Suspensions
Fiorentina Injuries and Suspensions
Match Date / Time: Saturday, February 9 at 6 p.m. local, 9 a.m. ET
Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin
TV: Sky Calcio 1, BeIN Sport, RAI Internazionale