Serie A Preview: Udinese v Juventus
By Football News
Juventus visit Udinese on Monday hoping to become the first away side to win at Stadio Friuli since January.
Udinese may sit 14th in the table but they are unbeaten in their last seven home matches in all competitions.
That run has involved five wins, including triumphs against Fiorentina and Milan, and Juve, who top the league by eight points in their bid for a third successive title, will need to be at their best.
Antonio Conte's men have looked comfortable at the summit for much of the second half of the campaign, but the second-placed Roma have shown no signs of conceding defeat in the title race by going on a run of six consecutive victories.
The top two are scheduled to meet on May 9, but Conte will be keen to wrap up the title before that showdown.
Monday's trip to Udinese is arguably the most difficult of their matches between now and the fixture at the Stadio Olimpico, with Bologna and Atalanta to face at home and a trip to strugglers Sassuolo.
Former Udinese man Mauricio Isla knows the challenge Juve will face against Francesco Guidolin's side.
"It will be a tough match, because even though Udinese are no longer what they were two years ago, they have important players like (Antonio) Di Natale, (Roberto) Pereyra, (Luis) Muriel…and they also give 100 per cent whenever they face Juve," he told JTV.
"We'll have to be on our guard and play in the way we know how, because it's important to win when you're six games from the end."
And Chilean Isla expressed his gratitude to Udinese, whom he left for Juve in 2012.
"I'm grateful to Udinese for all that they gave me. I spent some fantastic years there, it was a happy time and it's thanks to that experience that I'm now part of the best team in Italy," he added.
Juve will be concerned with the fitness of Arturo Vidal, who revealed he was suffering with a knee problem after being withdrawn during Thursday's 2-1 UEFA Europa League win over Lyon, which sealed their place in the semi-finals, where they will face Benfica.
Carlos Tevez is still battling a thigh problem, and has been substituted in his last three games, while defender Andrea Barzagli (calf) continues to struggle. Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu is suspended for Udinese.