GENOA

v

JUVENTUS

Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa
21.11.2010, 11:30 GMT

Juventus, Italy’s most successful club, are traveling to Genoa to face the oldest football club in Italy. Both clubs have struggled to find consistency in Serie A so far.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Genoa

Genoa had probably the best transfer campaign in the peninsula. They brought in a clutch of new players in all three departments. With one of Serie A’s brightest young coaches at the helm, they looked good to break into the top-4. However, things didn’t run out to be that rosy. The Grifoni’s campaign got off to a perfect start with a narrow away win against Udinese. After that victory Genoa went on a downward spiral – failing to win their next 4 matches. Giam Piero Gasperini, who in his four and half year stint had guided Genoa from Serie B to top half of Serie A, was sacked. He was replaced by former Lazio boss Davide Ballardini. Genoa’s form has slightly improved since then. Ballardini has won both games since taking charge.

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Toni is yet to find his goal-scoring form.

Under Gasperini, Genoa usually played a 3-4-3 formation, but the new coach prefers a 4-3-3. Portugal National Team goalkeeper Eduardo hasn’t managed to replicate his world cup form. He can be one of the busiest players on the field when he faces Italy’s most prolific team. Genoa has two of the most exciting full-back in Italy. Brazilian Rafinha, who arrived from Schalke last summer, plays at right-back while Domenico Criscito mans the left flank. Andrea Rannochia, one of the best defenders in Serie A in first half of last season, pairs up with Dainelli in the heart of defence.

Portuguese Miguel Veloso acts as the primary play-maker in the centre of midfield. He was one of the many new acquisitions for Genoa last summer. Veterans Omar Milanetto and Marco Rossi add width to the three man midfield.

Former European Golden Boot winner Luca Toni was one of the marquee signings for Genoa in the transfer window. Signed from Bayern Munich, Toni was expected to fill up the role of a target-man. Toni hasn’t had the expected impact so far. Despite starting in 12 matches he has scored only 4 goals. Two of his goals came in Coppa Italia against lowly Grosseto. Toni has to fire if Genoa is to finish in top-7. Giandomenico Mesto, who scored Genoa’s first goal in 2010/11 season, will play alongside Rudolf in the attacking trident.

Possible starting XI (4-3-3): Eduardo; Rafinha, Rannochia, Dainelli, Criscito; Milanetto, Veloso, Rossi; Mesto, Toni, Rudolf

Juventus

An injury ravaged Juventus put up a fighting display in a 1-1 draw against AS Roma last week. The indomitable team spirit has been one of hallmarks in the Luigi Delneri era so far. Juve will be bolstered by the fact that Vincenzo Iaquinta managed to find the back of the net in last game. Another big gain has been the emergence of Frederick Sorensen. The young Scandinavian defender was brilliant against Roma, despite playing in an unfamiliar position. Sorensen’s good performance at right-back gives Delneri an extra-option – Marco Motta hasn’t been impressive in that position till now.

Chiellini and Bonucci will play as centre-backs in Juve’s 4-4-2. Delneri will be hoping Sorensen maintains his form as he is set to start as a right-back again. World Cup winner Fabio Grosso will play on the opposite flank.

Juventus' Fabio Quagliarella in congratulated by his team mates after scoring against Cesena during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Turin November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Team spirit has been one of the most encouraging features in recent matches.

Alberto Aquilani was the best player on the pitch against his former club. His passing range and vision has added an extra-dimension to Juve’s attacking play. His partner in the heart of midfield – Felipe Melo – was not fully fit against Roma. It showed when he took the field as he misplaced several passes. Melo should be fully fit for this clash and he would look to continue his rich vein of form.

Serbian sensation Milos Krasic has returned to training and there is a chance that he will start. If he doesn’t start Juve youth product Davide Lanzafame will play as right-winger.

Fabio Quagliarella has scored six goals in Serie A till now and is by far Juve’s best striker. He will partner Iaquinta in the two man forward line. Amauri is out injured.

Possible Starting X (4-4-2): Storari; Sorensen, Bonucci, Chiellini, Grosso; Krasic, Melo, Aquilani, Marchisio; Quagliarella, Iaquinta

Past Encounters

In 2009/10 season two matches between these sides produced 9 goals. In first leg, Juve’s winning run was stalled as they were held to a 2-2 draw in an away game. Juve did win the return leg 3-2, thanks to a controversial penalty.

Football Fans Know Better

In 2008/09 Juventus destroyed Genoa 4-1 in first leg. Genoa got a measure of revenge when they defeated Juve 3-2 in the return leg. Former Juve player Rafaelle Palladino scored on the 88th minute to win the match for Grifoni.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR

Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus): Quagliarella’s prolific form has been one of the main reasons behind Juve having scored most goals in Serie A so far. A player who has often been known to score freak goals, Quags will look to continue his good form, so that Juve decides to buy him for next season.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Genoa 1-2 Juventus