BOLOGNA

v

JUVENTUS

Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna
24.10.2010, 13:00 GMT

The main target for Bologna, one of Italy’s most successful clubs historically, in recent seasons has been to stave off relegation. They have finished 17th in last two seasons and are placed in the same position this year.

Bologna have enjoyed a decent run of home form this seaon, and are unbeaten till now. Their run included a 0-0 draw with Internazionale on the opening day of Serie A. However, they slumped to a 4-1 loss to Palerrmo in their last outing.

The star performers for Bologna have been custodian Emiliano Viviano and veteran marksman Marco Di Vaio. Viviano has replaced the highly rated Salvatore Sirigu in the Azzuri set-up. He has put in some consistent performances for both club and country. Di Vaio, a former Juventus player, has scored 5 goals this season. His haul of five goals included a late striker against Udinese – a goal which ensured Bologna got their first win of the season.

Bologna will deploy a 4-3-2-1 formation with Di Vaio or Giminez playing as the lone striker. Former Lazio midfielder Gaby Mudingayi will provide the creative spark from midfield, while Miguel Britos and Daniele Portanova will start in the heart of defence.

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Juventus were brought crashing down to earth in Europa League. It was all too evident that without Aquilani and Krasic the team lacks any penetration. Marchisio and Momo Sissoko failed to provide creativity. Amauri was as usual having an off-day, his lack of movement made Juve attack slow and bumbling. The only spot of light in an otherwise bleak performance was Paolo de Ceglie. The left-back, a Juventus Academy product, has shown signs of improvement in recent games. He provided a pinpoint cross for Juve’s equaliser.

Luigi Delneri had to throw in Milos Krasic in 2nd half in search of goal. The Serbian obliged with a close range effort from a De Ceglie cross. Krasic is fast turning into a fan favourite with his conduct on and off the pitch. The Old Lady cannot over-rely on him for goals.

Alberto Aquilani, cup tied in Europa League, will be back in action on Sunday. He was brilliant against Lecce. With him on the field, Juve’s reliance on Krasic is considerably lessened. Aquilani has the vision and passing ability that rest of the squad lacks. He opened his Juventus account with a trademark long ranger last weekend.

Felipe Melo continues his steady return to form. Under Delneri, Melo has transformed himself, looking more and more like the player he was in Fiorentina. Against Lecce, he scored a paneca chip penalty, a proof to how how confident he has become recently. One of the worst players for the Turin giants last season, Melo has been one of the most consistent players this season.

Apr. 25, 2010 - Bologna, Italy - epa02131278 Italian forward Marco Di Vaio of FC Bologna celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against FC Parma during the Italian Serie A soccer match at Dall'Ara stadium in Bologna, Italy, 25 April 2010.

Di Vaio returns to haunt his old club

It is the frontline that continues to give Delneri headache. Amauri’s terrible patch of form hasn’t helped matters. The Brazilian centre-forward hasn’t scored a goal in Serie A since Valentine’s Day. Vincenzo Iaquinta possesses a slightly better strike rate but is not good enough for regular starts. With centre-forwards in off-form, Juve is bound to struggle at some point. So far they have been bailed out by some excellent performances from the midfield. Juventus has the best attack, statistically, in Italy.

Bianconeri will start with 4-4-2 formation. Zdenek Grygera is out injured for 40 days, so Marco Motta will start as right-back with Paolo De Ceglie on the opposite flank. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will start in the centre of defence.  In midfield, Delneri is likely to retain the set-up which served well in recent games. Milos Krasic as right-winger, Marchisio as left-winger, Aquilani with Melo as central midfielders.

Marchisio is not fully affective as a left-winger but he provides tactical discipline and defensive cover to the left flank, thus giving more freedom to De Ceglie’s overlaps.  Delneri’s comments after the match against Red Bull Salzburg suggested that he wasn’t impressed with Amauri’s fitness.

It’s likely that Iaquinta with start as prima punta with Quagliarella or Del Piero playing off him.

Head to Head Record

21/02/2010Bologna vs Juventus1-2
27/09/2009Juventus vs Bologna1-1
14/03/2009Juventus vs Bologna4-1
29/10/2008Bologna vs Juventus1-2
12/05/2007Juventus vs Bologna3-1

Likely playing XI

Bologna (4-2-3-1): Viviano; Rubin, Portanova, Britos, Garics; Perez, Mudingayi; Casarini, Meggiorini, Di Vaio, Giminez

Juventus (4-4-2): Storari; Motta, Chiellini, Bonucci, De Ceglie; Krasic, Melo, Aquilani, Marchisio; Iaquinta, Del Piero

EURO 2008 M28 Ernst Happl Stadium Vienna Italy v Spain (0-0) Spain win 4-2 on pens 22/06/2008 Alberto Aquilani ITA) Photo Roger Parker Fotosports International

Aquilani adds another dimension to the Juve midfield

TheHardTackle’s Player to watch out for

Alberto Aquilani (Juventus)

Aquilani has started showing his class in the Juventus jersey. After a fairly forgettable stint at Anfield, “Il Principio” needs to resurrect his form. So far, he has looked to be on the right track. Against Lecce he sprayed passes around, feeding the strikers. He linked up with Melo and Krasic nicely, giving the Juve midfield an extra dimension. He also scored a wonderful long-ranger. When fit, Aquilani is one of the most elegant players to watch.

TheHardTackle’s Prediction

Bologna 0-2 Juventus