Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania
Juventus were knocked out of Europa league on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw away to Lech Poznan. In a match played in freezing conditions, Juve trailed Lech for most of the match, and Vincenzo Iaquinta struck a late goal to prevent a loss. Juve must focus all their energy on Serie A hereafter.
Catania’s performance in the first half of 2010/11 season is miles ahead of their performance around the same time last year. In 2009/10 they were languishing in relegation zone; a fine turnaround in the 2nd half of the season saw them finish in mid-table. Their resurgence was credited to Sinisa Mihajlovic’s coaching abilities and Argentine Maxi Lopez’s goal scoring form. Mihajlovic left to take over Fiorentina last summer; Lopez is yet to strike the form of last season.
Juventus and Catania will also face each other in next round of Coppa Italia.
Team News and Tactical Watch
The Southern Italian club has one of the highest ratios of foreigners in their team. Catania often fields a team comprising of Argentine and Italian players. For tomorrow’s match, as many as five Argentine players can feature for them.
Catania’s most dangerous attacking threats are Maxi Lopez and Mascara. Lopez notched up an impressive 11 goals in 17 matches last season. He hasn’t quite managed to replicate that form this season, having scored only twice in Serie A. Last week he showed some signs of getting back to form, with a brace against Livorno in Coppa Italia. Mascara has scored just once while assisting two goals. Argentine ‘keeper Mariano Andujar has been one of the most in-form custodians in Serie A till now. He is one of the main reasons behind Catania having the 2nd best defensive record in the league. Catania will deploy a 4-1-4-1 formation wit Maxi as lone striker.
Maxi may move to a bigger club in next transfer window
Gle Elefanti has compiled an impressive set of results before coming to this game. They have lost just once in last 6 matches – to Palermo in the Sicilian Derby. They have eked out draws at Sampdoria and Lazio. Most importantly, they are still unconquered at the Stadio Angelo Massimino. Having played 7 home matches, the Rossazzuri has won 4 and drawn 3.
Possible Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Andujar; Potenza, Silvestre, Terlizzi, Alvarez; Biagianti; Gomez, Izco, Ledesma, Mascara; Maxi
Juventus suffered a 3-1 reversal at the hands of Palermo on 14th November. The Old Lady has not lost a match since then, in all competitions. While this seems like a good record, truth is that the Bianconeri have dropped points in too many matches. Against Fiorentina, Juve fell to an unfortunate Marco Motta own goal. For rest of the match, they dominated Viola but failed to score a goal. The lack of a natural goal-getter is one of biggest head-aches of Luigi Delneri. In the end, a freak goal from Pepe preserved Juve’s unbeaten record.
The Fiorentina match showed another weak-point of the current Juventus team – full backs. Both Fabio Grosso and Marco Motta struggled to contain Santana and Manuel Vargas, leaving Juve dangerously vulnerable to counter-attacks. With the winter transfer window opening, transfer director Giuseppe Marotta has to work overtime to fix these two problematic areas.
Juventus will bank on the same 4-4-2 formation. Qugliarella will pair up with Iaquinta upfront while Felipe Melo and Alberto Aquilani will combine with Milos Krasic to create chances for the strikers.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Storari; Sorensen, Bonucci, Chiellini, Grosso; Krasic, Melo, Aquilani, Pepe; Quagliarella, Iaquinta
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Milos Krasic (Juventus)
Krasic was one of the few players who played well in Poland. He assisted Iaquinta for Juve’s equalizer. He could have had 2 more assists, had Del Piero and Pepe been not wasteful. His pace with ball and ability to cut in from the wings has caused night-mares to full-backs who have tried to mark him. The Serbian continues to be Juve’s most valuable player in 2010/11 season.
Catania 0-1 Juventus
Last season, Catania’s revival was started with a 2-1 away win over Juve. Jorge Martinez, currently a Bianconero, opened the scoring for them. Marchisio and Silvestre exchanged goals in a 1-1 draw in the return leg.
In 2008/09, Claudio Ranieri’s Juventus took a lead in the home match through Amauri. However they could only managed a 1-1 draw in the end. In the home match Juve crushed Catania 3-0, with goals from Giovinco, Del Piero and Marchionni.