Juventus are still unbeaten
this season but a run of five draws in their last six Serie
A games suggests that Antonio Conte's side are in danger of
running out of steam at a crucial stage of the campaign.
Two points clear at the top in early February when they had
played a game less than their rivals, Juve have dropped two
points behind leaders AC Milan and used up their match in hand
when they drew 1-1 at Bologna on Wednesday.
Juventus will have to field a makeshift defence when they
visit Genoa on Sunday with Giorgio Chiellini and
Andrea Barzagli out of action through injury and Leonardo
Bonucci suspended after his red card at Bologna.
Coach Antonio Conte, also dismissed in the second half of
Wednesday's fiery encounter, now has to find another partner for
Martin Caceres, who himself was playing in the centre defence
for the first time this season on Wednesday.
Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal appears to be the most
likely contender, having occasionally filled the role at
Juventus' biggest problems remain in attack where, despite
his fourth goal of the season on Wednesday, the individualistic
Mirko Vucinic has fallen well short of expectations since his 15
million euro move from AS Roma.
Marco Borriello has failed to hit the target in Serie A
since he was signed on loan from the same club in January.
Conte, who overlooked leading scorer Alessandro Matri on
Wednesday, still sees no reason to panic.
"We are on the right track and must continue like this," he
said. "Borriello is a player with strong physique who helps us
to hold the ball up and open up space in attack.
"We've been playing continually recently, so some squad
rotation is necessary."
"I don't think we are dropping off the pace. I don't think
it's right to talk about Juve losing momentum. We proved [against Bologna] we can count on great men. If there was a
slowing down, then it was only in terms of results.
Genoa, 14th with 32 points, have drawn their last two games,
2-2 on both occasions, and are an unpredictable side.
They had successive 3-2 home wins over high-flying Lazio and
Napoli but suffered a 1-0 loss to mid-table Chievo.
who have 52 points from 26 games, are now only four clear of
third-placed Lazio who have bounced back from their 5-1 mauling
at Palermo two weeks ago with successive wins over Fiorentina
and bitter rivals AS Roma.
Edoardo Reja's team host Bologna on Sunday as they
attempt to close the gap on the leading pair and hold on to the
Champions League qualifying spot.
Milan, Champions League quarter-finalists despite their 3-0
defeat at Arsenal on Tuesday, should be able to count on three
points when they host relegation=threatened Lecce while troubled Inter Milan have an awkward match at Chievo.
Despite ending a run of five successive defeats in all
competitions with a 2-2 draw against Catania last Sunday, Inter
may only have earned underfire coach Claudio Ranieri a stay of
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