With their title defence in tatters after a humbling defeat before the break, Juventus now resume the fight for a top-four place against one of their favourite opponents, as they clash with neighbours Torino in Saturday's Derby della Mole.
Beaten by Benevento last time out in Serie A, the Bianconeri return to action some ten points adrift of top spot and sorely need a bounce-back win against their fellow Turin side, who are desperate to climb away from the relegation zone.
Under-pressure Juventus will be hoping their traditional derby-day dominance can help them to collect three valuable points on Saturday, with Andrea Pirlo's men perhaps now more concerned about the fast-closing pack just below them in the standings than trying to claw back their deficit to the Milan clubs above.
Their testing 2020-21 campaign reached a new nadir last time out, with the fall-out from a home loss to lowly Benevento still reverberating around the peninsula.
Having come in the wake of their departure from Europe at the hands of Porto, their 1-0 defeat to Pippo Inzaghi's struggling side - despite dominating the possession and shots-on-goal stats - was a painful sucker punch. As fortune would have it though, Juve's return to league action now comes versus their downtrodden local rivals.
Juventus have won 10 of their last 11 away encounters with Torino - including the most recent five - keeping a clean sheet on eight occasions during that spell of almost total superiority. In fact, this weekend, they could win a sixth away derby in a row for the first time in the fixture's long history.
Their most recent success over their old foes was snatched only in the closing minute of the reverse fixture in December, when the Bianconeri ran out 2-1 winners thanks to late strikes from Weston McKennie and Leonardo Bonucci.
With both McKennie and Bonucci among those likely to miss out this time due to contrasting brushes with COVID-19, much-derided coach Pirlo simply must claim a second victory of the season at all costs, as the critics' knives grow sharper for the former midfield maestro.
Torino are 17th in the table ahead of the Derby della Mole, one point above Cagliari in the relegation zone, but still with one potentially crucial game in hand over the Sardinian side.
After the Granata's 1-0 defeat away to Sampdoria just before the break in top-flight action, head coach Davide Nicola bemoaned his team's lack of killer instinct during their third game in a week, with a fixture backlog arising due to last month's COVID-19 outbreak in the camp.
Though Il Toro escaped from the drop zone with a dramatic win over Sassuolo in their previous fixture - meaning that their 13-game wait for a home win in Serie A was finally ended - that defeat in Genoa leaves them precariously perched above the dreaded dotted line.
Nicola's men have now lost three of their last four after a brief upturn in fortunes following his appointment, as their progress was destabilised by the intervention of infections - with resultant postponements and absences posing a major challenge for the boyhood Torino fan.
Having fought back from three goals behind to draw 3-3 with high-flying Atalanta, then from two down to beat Sassuolo 3-2, there is certainly no shortage of character in the dressing room though.
They will need all of that grit and determination on Saturday, as while the derby dates back over 100 years, in its most recent stagings their more heralded cousins seem to have been contesting a one-horse race.
In fact, Torino have won only one of their last 29 Serie A matches against Juventus - losing 22 times - and have conceded in each of their last 19 league meetings - with the last time they managed to shut out the Bianconeri being back in February 2008.
In addition to defenders Merih Demiral and Leonardo Bonucci, who have both tested positive for COVID-19, news of a party which took place at American midfielder Weston McKennie's home could have further consequences for Andrea Pirlo's selection for the Derby.
With McKennie and attendee Paulo Dybala - finally fully fit after an injury-plagued campaign - now potentially being dropped due to disciplinary reasons (fellow party goer Arthur is set to be absent through injury in any case), Juventus could see their options restricted by their reckless actions.
Centre-back Giorgio Chiellini returned from Italy duty early having picked up a knock, so if unavailable, Pirlo will face a dilemma at the heart of his defence, where Matthijs de Ligt is certainly set to feature.
Top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo should be joined by Alvaro Morata up front, after a controversy-filled stint with his national side and amid intense speculation as to his future come the end of the season.
In midweek, Torino confirmed that wing-back Wilfried Singo sustained a thigh injury in training and will not be fit in time to play against Juventus, so Mergim Vojvoda is expected to start on the right flank for the hosts.
Azzurri midfielder Rolando Mandragora - currently at the club on loan from Juve - is eligible to play and will start in the centre, with Antonio Sanabria set to partner Mandragora's international colleague Andrea Belotti up front.
Torino possible starting lineup:
Sirigu; Izzo, Bremer, Buongiorno; Vojvoda, Linetty, Mandragora, Rincon, Murru; Sanabria, Belotti
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Danilo, Chiellini, De Ligt, Cuadrado; Bentancur, Ramsey, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo
We say: Torino 0-1 Juventus
A particularly desperate edition of the Turin Derby is set to ensue, as both sides are in danger of missing out on their objectives this season.
Even considering the mounting pressure caused by recent events on and off the field, Juventus surely have too much firepower at their disposal to let their utter dominance of Torino slip now. A hard-fought contest could well be decided by a single mistake or moment of magic in the later stages, as legs and minds start to tire.
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