Stadio Olimpico Di Torio, Turin

The rivalry between Fiorentina and Juventus is a fairly new one. It all started in 1981/82 season, when Fiorentina led the Serie A for most of the season. Yet Juve made up and they went to the last day level on points. Juve had an away game at Catanzaro, while Fiorentina were away to Cagliari. On the last day Juve won by a “disputed” penalty, while a Fiorentina goal was dissallowed. Fiorentina cried foul and complained to FIGC about bribery.

Emotions escalated in the 1990 UEFA Cup final. There was so much crowd trouble in Turin in the first leg of the final, that UEFA wanted FIGC to move the 2nd leg to a neutral venue instead of Florence. FIGC chose Avellino, Fiorentina alleged that it had a big Juve fan base and wanted the location to be changed. UEFA didn’t pay attention to their complaint and Juve won the UEFA Cup.

Another huge issue was the Baggio transfer as Viola fans went on rampage in Florence after it happened.

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Juventus returned to winning ways against Genoa last weekend. An efficient, if somewhat unspectacular 0-2 win saw the Old Lady capture the 4th place in Serie A table. Milos Krasic was back from injury against Genoa and had an impact straightaway – scoring the 2nd goal after a wonderful solo run. Alberto Aquilani had a slight injury scare but he will be fit to play against Viola.

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Right-back has been a problematic position for Juve this season. Marco Motta, who was thought to be solution to this problem, has been very ordinary till now. Motta pushes up too frequently and is caught out of position. With Milos Krasic not offering any defensive cover, opposition wingers often exploit Motta’s poor positioning in the right flank. Young centre-back Sorensen has been impressive as right-back in last 2 matches. There is a chance he will get the nod ahead of Motta. With Vargas patrolling Fiorentina’s left flank, whoever plays as a right-back will have to play an error-free game.

Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have slowly formed a solid centre-back partnership. Their form coupled with Marco Storari’s timely saves has led to Juve conceding just 4 goals in last 8 matches. Fabio Grosso will play as left-back.

Juve’s main strength has been the 4 man midfield of Krasic-Melo-Aquilani-Marchisio. They start with a 4-4-2 but the shape keeps changing depending on the game. When defending, it often becomes a 5-4-1 with Melo dropping deep. During attack it becomes a 4-3-3 with Krasic cutting in and Marchisio moving to a more centralized position. Melo and Aquilani have a 95% pass completion rate in most of matches the played – an astonishing stat. Aquilani’s passing range was always his strong point but it has been Melo who has looked more and more confident. Guilty of some horrendous miss-passes last season, the Brazilian has transformed completely this time.

Iaquinta and Quagliarella will start upfront. Amauri is injured till January. Del Piero can come on as an impact sub.

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


Sinisa Mihajlovic’s career as the coach of Viola has not began on the right note. His squad has been severely depleted by injuries. Ricardo Montolivo, Sebastien Frey and Jovetic are nursing long-term injuries. Vargas was also injured but is slowly coming back to his full fitness. Fiorentina lie in a dismal 13th position in the table with just 4 wins in 13 matches. Their away form is woeful; they are yet to register a victory on the road.

Fiorentina are likely to play a 4-2-3-1 formation. Per Koldrup will miss the match due to suspension so Michel Comporese will partner Gamberini in the heart of defence. Gianluca Comotto and Manuel Pasqual will play as right back and left back respectively.

Gaetano D’Agostino, who was heavily linked with Juventus in 2009/10 season, occupies the position of “regista” or deep lying playmaker. Marco Donadel will act as defensive screen while providing cover to D’Agostino.

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Gilardino – Fiorentina’s leading scorer

Juan Vargas will be the most crucial player among three advanced midfielders. Last season Varags was one of the best wingers in Europe. His form attracted the attention of clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus and Internazionale. He hasn’t quite managed to replicate the same form so far; he was out injured for a considerable amount of time and has looked rusty after coming back. Former Juventus winger Marco Marchionni will play on the right flank with Serbian Adem Ljajic propping up the lone striker.

Alberto Gilardino will form the tip of Fiorentina’s attacks. Gila’s talent was unquestionable but his consistency was a concern. He performs brilliantly in patches. This season he has grabbed 5 goals in 13 Serie A matches.

Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Boruc; Comotto, Gamberini, Comporese, Pasqual; D’Agostino, Donadel; Marchionni, Ljajic, Vargas; Gilardino

Past Encounters

Last season Fiorentina were unable to defeat Juventus. The Bianconeri drew 1-1 in first leg. A rare occurrence gifted Juventus a 2-1 win in the return leg. The rare occurrence was Sissoko slipping in a deadly through-ball to Grosso, who scored the winner.

In 2008/09 season, Alberto Gilardino scored a late equalizer to cancel out Pavel Nedved’s strike in first leg. Claudio Marchisio scored the only goal in the return tie to settle the match 1-0.

Milos Krasic (Serbia) Serbia V Ghana Group D 13/06/10 FIFA World Cup 2010 Photo Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Roadrunner !


Milos Krasic (Juventus): The Serbian trailblazer was involved in a lot of controversy lately. He was banned for 3 matches for simulation, got injured as his band ended. However, against Genoa, he showed no sign of slowing down as he schooled Domenico Criscito throughout the match. Krasic’s pace and constant forward movement adds flair to an otherwise solid Juventus outfit. With each passing game he is looking more and more suited to the “new Nedved” tag.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Juventus 1-0 Fiorentina