Stadio Olimpico Di Torio, Turin
Last weekend, Juventus achieved one of it’s most memorable triumphs in recent times against AC Milan. Despite missing some crucial players due to injury, the Old Lady galloped to a brave 2-1 away win. The grit and spirit shown by the Juve players in that match reminded its fans of the pre-Calciopoli era, the times when Juventus were known for eking out victories in the face of adversity.
However, the hard fought victory came at a heavy price. Juve were literally bruised and battered after the game, and the number of injuries reached a critical level. Such was the damage that Juve faced Red Bull Salzburg in Europa League with a squad made up of only 10 regular first team players. The effects of missing players showed as Juve failed to break the deadlock, ending the match 0-0.
Cesena’s first Serie A campaign in 19 years began with a bang. They won 2 of their first 3 matches, defeating Milan in the process. Since then, their form has steadily gone downhill. They were dealt a body blow in Coppa Italia, when they lost to minnows Novara, 3-1. Coach Massimo Ficcadenti’s job was on the line. President Igor Campedelli recently came out and stated that his job was safe for now.
Juventus’ much publicized injury problems of the last two seasons shows no sign of abetting. The crisis has reached fever point for this match. Left-back Paolo De Ceglie and Jorge Martinez suffered fractures in the Milan game; it’s unlikely that they will return to action in 2010. Nicola Legrottaglie, Felipe Melo and Sissoko suffered muscle strains in the course of last week. Chiellini’s fitness is still lacking, and he too might miss the game.
Luigi Delneri faces a real headache ahead of the clash with Cesena. There is a good chance that Juve will start this game with 2 or more Primavera players. If Chiellini fails to get fit by the time of the match, then either Frederick Sorenson or Vincenzo Camilieri will start alongside Leonardo Bonucci. Marco Motta will play as right-back, but his partner on the other flank is still a mystery. Against Milan, Pepe was used as a right-back; Matteo Liviero played in that position in Europa League. Some sources suggest that Fabio Grosso and Hasan Salihamidzic, frozen out of the squad, can make a return.
With Milos Krasic suspended and Martinez injured, Juve face an uphill task to position two wingers in a 4-4-2. Simon Pepe is likely to fill in for Krasic, while Claudio Marchisio will man the opposite flank. If Sissoko or Melo fail to get fit in time for the match, then another primavera player, Manuel Giandonato, will partner Alberto Aquilani in centre of the park.
Amauri is fit, but his form is hardly encouraging. Delneri might opt to start with Fabio Quagliarella along with evergreen Alessandro Del Piero. Quagliarella was Juve’s best attacking player in San Siro last week, scoring a brilliant header.
Probable XI (4-4-2): Storari; Motta, Camilieri, Bonucci, Liviero; Pepe, Aquilani, Giandonato, Marchisio; Quagliarella, Del Piero
Pressure has been mounting on coach Massimo Ficcadenti lately. The Seahorses have slowly dwindled away after a sensational start to Serie A. They haven’t won a match since September, and haven’t won a game on the road till now.
Appiah is the most important midfielder for Cesena
Cesena usually plays a 4-3-3 with swift flank movement. Till now, two players have shown brightly for them in Serie A – full-back Yuto Nagamoto and winger Ezequiel Schelotto. Nagamoto, on loan from FC Tokyo,who has troubled opponent full-backs with his pace. Schelotto has been tipped as the “next Camoranesi”. He has already represented Italy in U-21 level, playing well for them. His crossing ability and darting runs one the flanks made him one of the best players in Serie B last season.
Former Juventus player Stephen Appiah will act as the anchorman in the midfield. Cesena will miss Budan, Caserta and Colucci for this tie.
Probable XI (4-3-3): Antonioli; Nagamoto, Von Bergen, Pellegrino, Lauro; Schelotto, Appiah, Parolo; Giaccherini, Bogdani, Jiminez
Quagliarella has scored a few goals till now
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus)
A lot of Juventus fans were dismayed when Quags was loaned in as a replacement to Diego. So far, he has kept a decent strike-rate. His best performance in the black and white jersey came against Milan last week. He worked very hard, covering for defenders when needed. He also scored the opening goal for Juve with a Hernan Crespo like header.
Despite all the senior players missing out, Juventus are strong enough to get a result in this home match.
Juventus 1-0 Cesena