CESENA
vs
JUVENTUS

Stadio Dino Manuzzi
12.03.2011, 19:45 kick-off

Juventus will face a potential banana skin when they take on Cesena at the Dino Manuzzi stadium. Things have been going from bad to worse for Juve at this crucial point of the season. The Old Lady are coming off three consecutive defeats, and what’s increasingly worrying for Juve fans is that the team haven’t managed to find the back of the net since their impressive victory against Inter almost a month ago. They have been goalless in more than 300 minutes of football; this for a team which boasted the most potent attack in the league at one point of time towards the end of last year. It’s no secret that Juve find themselves in a difficult state, and even a Champions League spot, which was the Bianconeri’s realistic target at the start of the season, seems to be slipping away. Juventus sit in seventh position in the table, ten points behind fourth placed Lazio.

With crisis enveloping Vinovo, doubts about coach Del Neri’s job security were raised. Reports emanating from Italy suggest that he could be given the sack, if the team continue their free-fall. Fabio Capello, Luciano Spalletti and Walter Mazzari are some of the many names thrown up as possible replacements, should Del Neri be axed. These reports have been rubbished by the Director of Sport, Beppe Marotta, who insists the team are well and truly behind Del Neri.

Cesena themselves are in a fair bit of trouble currently. The Seahorses are in 17th position in the league table, just one spot above the drop zone with 28 points in as many games. After an excellent start to their Serie A campaign, which included an upset win over AC Milan, Cesena have slowly faded away. They’re last two games, however, were victories over Chievo and Sampdoria, and they will definitely be a tricky opposition for Juventus.

The Seahorses don’t hold the most encouraging home record in Serie A this season. In their 14  games at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi this season, Cesena have won 5, drawn 3 and lost 6 games, making them the second worst team in terms of home performance this term.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Cesena

Manager Massimo Ficcadenti will take encouragement from his side’s previous two wins. Cesena lost their best player, Yuto Nagatomo, in the winter transfer window to Inter, and have since brought in promising fullback Davide Santon from the Nerazzurri, who should start at right back. Francesco Antonioli produced a howler in goal against Sampdoria last weekend, as he fumbled Massimo Maccarone’s free-kick to hand Samp their first goal, but he should get the nod to start between the sticks.

Emanuele Giaccherini has been Cesena’s star man this season, and will look to continue his rich vein of form. The diminutive winger scored two well taken goals against Samp, which proved to be vital. He should fancy his chances against the inexperienced Fredrik Sorensen. Cesena normally employ a 4-3-2-1 formation, which is heavily reliant on the creativity of Giaccherini and Jimenez. Top scorer Erjon Bogdani will spearhead Cesena’s attack.

Igor Budan, Fatic, Felipe and Sammarco are out with injuries, while no players are suspended for the Seahorses.

Possible Lineup (4-2-3-1): Antonioli; Santon, Von Bergen, Pellegrino, Lauro; Parolo, Caserta, Colucci; Jimenez, Giaccherini; Bogdani

Form Guide: WWDLL

Football Fans Know Better

Juventus

The Bianconeri have been very disappointing this year, and their problems have been well documented. There is an air of uncertainty and the players are low on morale; there is no better cure in football than a victory. Juve will be searching for inspiration from somewhere to get them out of the rut they find themselves in.

Del Neri has many injury worries, with Felipe Melo and Luca Toni added to a long list that includes Fabio Quagliarella, De Ceglie, Rinaudo, Grosso and Salihamidzic. Club captain Alessandro Del Piero is expected to start in Del Neri’s standard 4-4-2 formation. The defeat against Milan was crying out for a player of his quality and creativity, and Del Neri probably introduced him to the game too little too late. He will partner Ale Matri in attack.

Alberto Aquilani will return to the first team set up and will partner Claudio Marchisio in the centre of midfield. The former Roma man has been disappointing this year ever and hasn’t really replicated the form he displayed at the very start of the season. Simone Pepe returns after suspension and might be preferred ahead of Jorge Martinez, who has been very quiet in his role as a left winger in the past few games.

Possible Lineup (4-4-2): Buffon: Sorensen, Barzagli, Chiellini, Traore; Krasic, Marchisio, Aquilani, Pepe; Del Piero, Matri

Form Guide: LLLWW

TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Milos Krasic (Juventus)

Krasic needs to hit top gear on Saturday Night

Krasic exploded onto the scene at the very start of the season and was Juve’s best player in the first half of the campaign. However, his goals and assists have dried up considerably. His poor form hasn’t helped the team’s cause. Teams have found a way of neutralizing his threat. On his day, he’s capable of troubling any defence in the world with his pace, trickery and dribbling ability. If Juve are to come away with a positive result Krasic will have to return to his best form.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Cesena 1-1 Juventus

Juventus are in dire need of a win to get their season back on track, while Cesena will fancy their chances against a team in crisis. Cesena’s home form has been abysmal while on the other hand, Del Neri’s men will be determined to come away with a victory. A draw could be on the cards here, though an upset victory for Cesena cannot be ruled out.

TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve_vCIVhNAA