Juventus take on Sampdoria with fourth consecutive Serie A title within grasp
Juventus need a point from their game against fifth-placed Sampdoria on Saturday evening to clinch their fourth consecutive Serie A title.
Juventus' players will trot out onto the pitch at Sampdoria's Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Saturday night aware that only a point is needed to secure their fourth consecutive Serie A title.
The hard work has been done over the past eight months and another tight shift should bring home the bacon.
Massimo Allegri's squad deserves its rewards. The statistics say so. Juventus are the joint top scorers in the league with 63 goals in 33 games. The rearguard has been maniacally mean. They've been breached 19 times. It's impressive; only three losses and seven draws. Juventus have been a winning machine.
"Juventus has been the best team," said Alessandra Bocci, a football writer at the Gazetta dello Sport. "They've become used to winning over the past few seasons. They know how to be during the entire season and so when there is pressure or problems they know what to do."
The season has been a coronation in waiting really. The Turin giants haven't flinched and have rarely been removed from their comfort zone domestically.
Indeed, losing their first derby against Torino in 20 years hasn't halted the procession towards the Serie A title. A defeat to a doomed Parma side on 11 April almost seemed like a munificent farewell gesture to a once great team of Italian football.
Hosts Sampdoria won't simply offer up the points on Saturday night. They're fifth in the table and will be looking for a win to maintain the pressure on fourth-placed Lazio who occupy the slot for next season's Europa League.
There's also a matter of parochial pride. Sampdoria's city rivals Genoa lie sixth and in the absence of silverware, local bragging rights will often do just as nicely.
"Juventus deserve the Scudetto," said Sampdoria boss Sinisa Mihajlovic. "But they can celebrate winning it in Turin and not on our own patch. While they only need a point, we're out to get all three."
If Juve suffer only their fourth league defeat of the season and Lazio win at Atalanta on Sunday, Juve will clinch the title with a draw at home to Cagliari on 9 May.
By then Juve's attention will be firmly turned to the second leg of their Uefa Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on 13 May in the Spanish capital.
The first leg is in Turin on 5 May. It would be a huge confidence boost to go into that clash as champions of Italy for the 31st time.
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