Cagliari vs Juventus – The Old Lady’s decline will continue
Rarely has a big side suffering a defeat appeared more predictable, so it’s no surprise that Juventus are 9/5 to be beaten by Cagliari in Sardinia this evening, while the visitors are 6/4 and the draw is 23/10.
After a disastrous 2009-10 campaign, the Bianconeri’s performances before Christmas suggested that coach Luigi Del Neri was on his way to guiding them back to the position of dominance they enjoyed before the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, which saw them relegated.
They were unbeaten in 13 games, sat in the top four and looked to be in title contention having won away to leaders AC Milan, but for the second successive campaign their form has nosedived, four defeats in six leaving even Europa League qualification in doubt.
Is it Del Neri’s fault? Not entirely, as a season-ending injury to top scorer Fabio Quagliarella was a huge blow and his replacement Luca Toni swiftly joined him on the sidelines. Juventus acted by signing Alessandro Matri from tonight’s hosts yet he lacks top-level experience.
While Italian football’s most successful side are floundering, Cagliari are flying under Roberto Donadoni, who is rebuilding his reputation after poor spells as Italy and Napoli boss and has lifted the Isolani to within three points of their out-of-sorts opponents.
Cagliari have won four of their last five , their one setback coming rather unflatteringly away to Roma, while their only home loss under Donadoni was equally unfortunate, as AC Milan left it late to win a game of few chances. They are yet to draw since his November arrival.
Without Matri, the goals might not flow so readily but they kept it tight at the back to triumph over Sampdoria in Genoa in midweek and will be optimistic of having similar success against a Juventus side lacking in firepower.
Three more bets to consider therefore are under 2.5 goals at 8/11, the Cagliari clean sheet at 2/1 and the half-time/full-time home victory at 4/1. Cagliari are 5/1 to win 1-0.
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