Juventus looking to consolidate top spot

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Updated: December 14, 2012

Juventus will be looking to consolidate their 4 point lead in Serie A when they host Atalanta this weekend. On Saturday however second placed Inter Milan travel to Rome and face fourth placed Lazio in a crunch league encounter.

Juventus have opened up a four-point lead on Inter, who leap-frogged Napoli last week, and welcome their visitors from Bergamo a few days after sealing a quarterfinal spot against AC Milan in the Italian Cup.

Danish international striker Nicklas Bendtner suffered a strain to a left thigh tendon that could keep him out for a few months while Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal suffered bruising on his knee but should soon be on the mend.

Atalanta have failed to beat Juve in their past 15 games in Turin, who suffered a 3-0 rout to Rome in the Italian Cup on Tuesday.

A win for Juve would likely bring Inter back down from their cloud, especially if they fail to overcome the Biancocelesti on Saturday evening in Rome.

Lazio, who sit fourth on 30 points, eight adrift of Juve, are unbeaten at home since a shock 1-0 reverse to Genoa at the end of October and can get in among the top three places with a win.

While Inter have won three home games on the trot, they have failed to win away in all competitions since a 3-1 Europa League defeat of Partizan Belgrade at the start of November.

Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni has no major injury worries although observers will be keen to see if he deploys forward Antonio Cassano.

Reports in midweek claimed that because of performance-related clauses in his contract, Cassano will pick up a bonus of 200 000 euros should he score or assist a total of 20 goals for the team.

Gazzetta dello Sport said Cassano will also be given the same amount if he makes 15 league appearances and he has appeared for Inter in 14 games so far.

AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, meanwhile, will be looking to put all sentiment to the side when the Rossoneri host Pescara, with whom he played professionally, at the San Siro.

On their long-awaited return to the Italian top flight Pescara have spent much of the campaign trying to climb away from the relegation zone.

And it won’t get any easier on what is their first match against AC Milan since the 1992-93 season, when Milan won 4-0.

Milan have enjoyed a resurgency of late to move up to seventh, and booked their place in the quarterfinals of the Italian Cup with a 3-0 rout of Reggina on Thursday.