Carlos Tevez's return boosts Juventus
Juventus will be boosted by the return of Carlos Tevez following a one-game suspension as the Serie A leaders look to bounce back against Atalanta on Friday after last week`s surprise draw at lowly Cesena.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said the Argentine striker`s presence would lift his team mates following last week`s setback when the Serie A champions unexpectedly dropped two points in the race to secure their 31st league title.
"He (Tevez) is a leader. His team mates look up to him," Allegri told reporters on Thursday.
"Just like Barcelona have (Lionel) Messi, Real Madrid have Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG have Ibra (Zlatan Ibrahimovic). We have Carlitos."
Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal, who missed a penalty in the 2-2 draw against second-from-bottom Cesena, will miss the Atalanta game with a leg muscle injury but Allegri said he should be ready for Tuesday`s Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund.
"We`ve already wasted too many opportunities this season, therefore, we have to win tomorrow," Allegri added.
Juventus will be favourites to overwhelm relegation-threatened Atalanta as they are unbeaten at home this season, winning nine of 11 games. To add to Atalanta`s woes, they will be missing five key players through injury and suspension.
Second-placed AS Roma, who missed out on a chance to close the seven-point gap with the leaders following a 0-0 stalemate with bottom-placed Parma, will hoping to rediscover their scoring touch when they travel to Verona on Sunday.
Rudi Garcia`s side have drawn five of their last six league games and cannot afford to fall further behind Juventus ahead of next month`s clash between the top two teams.
Verona have lost three successive games and are now hovering just four points above the drop-zone. Team management has made it clear that another loss could lead to the sacking of Andrea Mandorlini.
Third-placed Napoli will be determined to make amends following last week`s defeat at Palermo as they host dangerous Sassuolo on Monday. They will be without striker Gonzalo Higuain who serves a one-game suspension.
Fiorentina are rounding into form and now lie only four points behind Napoli. Vincenzo Montella`s men have won four of their last six games and face Torino at home on Sunday.
Inter Milan, languishing in ninth following a disappointing season in which they have already lost seven times, will be looking to chalk up a third successive win when they visit Cagliari while 11th-placed AC Milan host Cesena.