AC Milan set sights on fortress Juventus
A 31st minute strike courtesy of Robinho secured a 1-0 for Milan in the corresponding fixture in November. While that win was one of several results marking Milan's resurgence following their worst ever start to a league season, Juventus have been just as efficient.
Juventus may be cruising to a 29th Serie A title but AC Milan are still aiming to come away from Turin with a victory this weekend, insists striker Stephan El Shaarawy.
With Juventus now 11 points ahead of Napoli after the Partenopei's 1-1 draw away to Milan last week, a second straight Scudetto already seems a formality for the Turin giants.
However the fight for runners-up spot, which gives direct access to the Champions League, is far from over.
Napoli, who host Cagliari on Sunday, currently occupy second place on 53 points but Milan are just four points behind and unbeaten in 14 league matches since the turn of the year.
"Sunday will be a big test of concentration. Whichever team makes the least mistakes will win," El Shaarawy told the Milan Channel.
"We'll give it everything to bring back the three points. It will be crucial to make a strong start and maintain a fast tempo throughout."
A 31st minute strike courtesy of Robinho secured a 1-0 for Milan in the corresponding fixture in November.
While that win was one of several results marking Milan's resurgence following their worst ever start to a league season, Juventus have been just as efficient.
The Bianconeri have not lost a league game at home since a shock 2-1 reverse to Sampdoria in January and their 2-0 away win at Lazio on Monday means the champions now require seven points from their remaining six games to secure the title.
But with key games against Milan and then city rivals Torino, defender Andrea Barzagli says they can take nothing for granted.
"They will be two important games, but we're focusing only on the first," Barzagli, who is two away from making 100 appearances for the club, told Juventus.com.
"Both Milan and ourselves need points. We're chasing the Scudetto, while they're aiming for Champions League qualification. It won't be easy, but we're preparing well."
Meanwhile, third-placed Fiorentina, who host Torino, will be looking to distance fourth-placed Lazio, who face a tricky trip to Udinese in Saturday's late game.
But La Viola coach Vincenzo Montella insists he is not looking over his shoulder at their pursuers.
"Our objective is to consolidate our position in the table, then we'll see," said Montella.
Asked about Sunday's Torino game, Fiorentina goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano indicated their Champions League dream is alive and kicking.
"We have to do it (win) and then hope Juve do us a favour by beating AC Milan," he said.
The dream of any European football next season, meanwhile, is fading fast for 2010 Champions League winners Inter, who host Parma on Saturday still literally hurting after their midweek Italian Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Roma.
The Nerazzurri have gone from title contenders pre-Christmas to their current position of seventh and host Parma without key midfielders Fredy Guarin and Esteban Cambiasso.
Also missing is Diego Milito and, since last week, his replacement Rodrigo Palacio - taking Inter's casualty list to an astonishing 13 players.
Andrea Stramaccioni's position as Inter coach has recently come under media scrutiny, but club president Massimo Moratti appears to have given the 37-year-old a vote of confidence.
"I've got no doubts about the coach," said Moratti. "Certain names have been mentioned (as possible replacements) in the media but I have contacted no one."
Fixtures (times GMT)
Genoa v Atalanta (1600), Udinese v Lazio (1845)
Inter v Parma (1030), Bologna v Sampdoria, Catania v Palermo, Fiorentina v Torino, Napoli v Cagliari, Roma v Pescara, Siena v Chievo (all 1300), Juventus v AC Milan (1845)