Pirlo’s Juventus face key January test

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#Milan (AFP)

#Andrea #Pirlo’s #Juventus face a key test of their ambitions to clinch a 10th consecutive #Serie A title in #January football in #Italy after a stuttering start that left the holders sixth in the league.

#Serie A returns this weekend after the mini #Christmas break with a tight schedule in #January.

#Juventus host #Udinese on #Sunday before facing three of the top four this month, with six #Serie A appearances in addition to #Italian #Cup and #SuperCup commitments.

The two #Milanese clubs – the only teams outside of #Juventus to have won the league in the past two decades – are on top as they seek to bring the title back to #Lombardy.

AC #Milan are flying high with one point ahead of #Antonio #Conte’s #Inter with #Roma in third, six points behind second.

#Juventus are sixth, 10 points from first place, but having played one game less.

#Following #Udinese, #Juventus will travel to AC #Milan at #San #Siro next #Wednesday before welcoming fourth-placed #Sassuolo to #Turin, followed by a trip to play #Inter.

#Despite leading their #Champions #League group, #Juventus have struggled to stay consistent on the domestic front, relying on goals from #Cristiano #Ronaldo.

The #Portuguese striker has scored 12 of #Juventus’ 25 league goals this season.

#In the league, they have six draws and six wins, falling in their first league loss of the season 3-0 to #Fiorentina at home before #Christmas.

“#Sometimes we are not at 100%. #Now we have to start over with desire, thinking about the mistakes we made and getting our project done, ”said #Pirlo.

The former #Italy and #Juventus star can rejoice in the fact that in the 2015-16 season they were 12th after ten matches, but came back to win the title.

“It is premature to talk about the title,” said #Milan coach #Stefano #Pioli.

“Juventus remain the favorites, a team which over the past nine years have won so many titles and have many champions.

“But there’s also #Inter, who came to a point from #Juve last year and spent a lot of money in the transfer market. #In addition, #Inter has no #European commitment. ”

#Both #Milan teams return against two promoted clubs.

AC #Milan, without #Zlatan #Ibrahimovic injured for a seventh straight league game, are looking to continue their unbeaten half-table #Benevento, while #Crotone is host to #Inter #Milan.

#Behind the leaders, #Roma welcome the #Sampdoria of former coach #Claudio #Ranieri, 11th.

#Sassuolo, fourth, travels to #Atalanta, seventh, for a clash between two attacking teams aiming at #European football.

#Napoli, fifth, are looking to end their three-game winless streak at #Cagliari, but without injured striker #Dries #Mertens, defender #Kalidou #Koulibaly and striker #Victor #Osimhen, the #Nigerian having tested positive for #Covid-19, sidelined since #November with a shoulder injury. .

#To watch: #Radja #Nainggolan

#Radja #Nainggolan have warned they want to impact 15th #Cagliari after resuming a second loan from #Inter #Milan.

“I arrive in #Cagliari with great desire, after three difficult months in which I have never seen the pitch,” said the #Belgian midfielder.

#Nainggolan has only appeared in the league four times for #Inter this campaign with less than an hour on the pitch in total.

The former #Roma player scored 13 goals for #Cagliari, where he also played from 2010 to 2014, six of them last season.

#Cagliari has been winless for two months.

#Key statistics:

26 – #Sassuolo’s points after 14 games, a record for the club

12 – #Cristiano #Ronaldo leads the #Serie A goalscoring table.

7 – #Inter #Milan winning streak

3 – #Race without victory of #Naples

1 – #Points between leaders #Milan and #Inter

#Fittings

#Sunday (every hour GMT)

#Inter #Milan v #Crotone (1130), #Atalanta v #Sassuolo, #Cagliari v #Napoli, #Fiorentina v #Bologne, #Genoa v #Lazio, #Parme v #Turin, AS #Roma v #Sampdoria, #Spezia v #Hellas #Verona (all 1400), #Benevento v AC #Milan (1700), #Juventus against #Udinese (1945).

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