Juventus - Palermo: Juve look to take another steptoward Scudetto

There are still five games to play, but with a win, Juventus would go nine points clear of second place Napoli.

Juventus - Palermo: Juve look to take another steptoward Scudetto
Image via Alessandro Fucarini/AP

Juventus striker Paulo Dybala recently stated that he believes “the Scudetto has to be ours.” After second place Napoli dropped a game against Inter on Saturday, that is looking like more and more of a reality.

The Bianconeri can take yet another step towards claiming Serie A’s top prize with a win versus Palermo on Sunday.

While Juve is going for domestic glory, Palermo will look to gain points in an attempt to get out of the relegation zone. The Sicilian club is currently 18th in the standings. Should the team win, they’d draw level with Carpi on 33 points.

The Rosanero will certainly be looking for any points they can get in Turin.

Image via Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images
Image via Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

Previous meeting

If Palermo want a shot in this game, they’ll need to play much better than they did the last time these two clubs faced off. Juve thrashed the Sicilians 3-0, and easily won the possession battle.

The Bianconeri had a balanced offensive attack during that match, as Mario Mandzukic, Stefano Sturaro and Simone Zaza all got on the score sheet. What’s more, Alvaro Morata, Paul Pogba and Paulo Dybala all registered assists.

Juventus will be looking for more of the same.

Dybala could be key against his former club. The striker, who made the move to Turin last summer, has been a vital cog for the Old Lady this season. He’s scored 18 goals and handed out eight assists across all competitions.

Players to suit up for both teams

He won’t be the only player on the pitch who will be facing a former employer. Dybala’s teammates, defender Andrea Barzagli and reserve goalkeeper Rubinho, have both played for Sunday’s opponents. Barzagli suited up for the club from 2004 to 2008, while Rubinho was on Palermo’s books from 2009 to 2011.

On the other side, veteran midfielder Enzo Maresca was a Bianconeri player from 2000-2004, while goalkeeper and captain Stefano Sorrentino spent time in the Juve youth system.

Past form

If previous form has anything to do with it, Palermo could be in for a long game. The Rosanero have four losses and two draws in the team’s past six games. Those results have seen the Sicilian club score just twice, while conceding 10 goals.

Juventus, meanwhile, haven’t lost in domestic competition since October. The Bianconeri have defeated the last six Serie A teams they’ve played by a cumulative score of 13-2.

Vazquez - Dybala

Last season, Franco Vazquez and Paulo Dybala teamed up to form one of Italy’s most potent striking duos. Vazquez notched 10 goals and handed out 10 assists, while Dybala bagged 13 goals and dished out an identical 10 assists.

This will be the second time the two have matched up since Dybala departed Palermo in the summer. While Juve won the first contest between the two, Dybala won the battle between the two former teammates. The Argentine assisted on Mandzukic’s opening goal in an 84 minute shift. Vazquez played the entire game, but was given a yellow card in the 75th minute.