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Serie A Preview: Atalanta v Juventus
Dec 21, 2013 2:26 AM EST
Juventus will look to further cement their place at the top of Serie A as they face an out of form Atalanta side on Sunday.
Antonio Conte's men travel to the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia in fine form having won their past eight league games.
The Turin club now sit five points clear of Roma at the summit of the division and will head into the mid-season break as leaders, regardless of the result in Bergamo.
Juventus have an outstanding record against Atalanta, and have not tasted defeat against the Lombardy club in Serie A since February 2001, when Atalanta earned a 2-1 win.
And Conte's side will be favourites to take all three points from this encounter with a team that has won just one of its past eight outings in the league.
That victory came against relegation-threatened Bologna but, although Stefano Colantuono's men are in the midst of a mediocre season, Atalanta can take some hope into the game having suffered only one loss in front of their home fans this term.
Inter, Napoli and Milan were among Atalanta’s biggest scalps last season, and Colantuono will be looking for his team to produce another strong showing against one of the division's best and end their 12-year wait for a league win over Juve.
Still Juventus present an imposing challenge, particularly with midfield stalwart Andrea Pirlo (knee) the only absentee in a near fully-fit squad.
Juve may hold a commanding lead over Roma as they seek their third consecutive Scudetto, but vice-captain Claudio Marchisio believes it is vital that Conte’s maintain their momentum heading into to the second half of the campaign
"This year will end in the best possible way, with us in first place," Marchisio told JTV.
"We've now got a different rival who will try to overtake us, but we want to keep winning."