Serie A Preview: Juventus v Atalanta
By Football News
An unlikely set of circumstances could mean that Juventus will have already won the Serie A title by the time they face Atalanta on Monday.
Juve are eight points clear of second-placed Roma with three games remaining and will definitely claim a third straight Scudetto with victory over Atalanta.
However, a shock win for bottom club Catania against the capital club on Sunday will hand Juve the title prior to the visit of Stefano Colantuono's men.
But, with Catania having claimed just five league wins all season, the more probable scenario is that Antonio Conte's men will need three points to make sure of a 30th Italian top-flight championship.
That will be no easy feat for the hosts against an Atalanta side that have already claimed the scalps of Inter and Napoli this season, and held Roma to a 1-1 draw back in December.
Juve will take confidence from their performance in the reverse fixture in Bergamo, which saw them cruise to a comfortable 4-1 success.
And the Turin club should have extra motivation to give their fans something to celebrate after missing out on a place in the UEFA Europa League final, which is to be held in their home stadium.
Juve could only manage a 0-0 draw against nine-man Benfica in an ill-tempered second leg of their semi-final clash, the Portuguese champions progressing to the showpiece 2-1 on aggregate following a contest that also saw Juve's Mirko Vucinic sent off.
And defender Leonardo Bonucci is keen for Juve to display resolve and immediately bounce back from their European disappointment.
"We go out with our heads held high, but we need to move on quickly and think about writing many other important pages in our club’s history," Bonucci told Juve's official website.
"We'll look ahead with positivity and the desire to clinch a third consecutive Scudetto."
Juventus have no significant injury worries ahead of the encounter, while Atalanta will be able to welcome back Carlos Carmona and Mario Yepes from suspension.
Midfielder Maxi Moralez is set to return from an injury that kept him out of last weekend's 1-1 draw with Genoa, but Luca Cigarini is banned.
The stalemate with Genoa ended a run of three straight defeats for Atalanta, who sit 11th in the table, and Colantuono is eager to finish the season on a high.
"We can't allow ourselves to lose motivation, we want to finish the season well," he told Sky Sport Italia.
"We ended a negative streak and want to carry on in that vein even if we know that our remaining fixtures aren't easy."