CHIEVO VERONA

v

JUVENTUS

Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi
October 16, 2011; 13:00 GMT

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Serie A action returns after the International a�?breaka�? with Juventus and Chievo both looking to maintain their solid start to the current campaign. Antonio Contea��s men occupy the apex of the table and are still waiting to lose a game this season, while the Flying Donkeys are lodged in the top half and are unbeaten at home.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Chievo Verona

The unheralded cousin of former Scudetto winners, Hellas Verona have scripted a romantic story of their own in the city of Romeo and Juliet. Chievo, one of the most modest clubs to have played top-flight football in Italy in last two decades, continue to defy the odds every season by refusing to get relegated. The Gialloblu are an extremely difficult customer in Verona, not because of their home support but because of the often erratic nature of the pitch.

Domenic Di Carloa��s team has made a good start to the 2011/12 campaign, having lost just once in five matches. They have won their last two home games, including the priced scalp of Napoli. Their only blemish has been a 2-1 loss to Parma on the second matchday.

32 year old Stefano Sorrentino will start in goal; the former Lazio academy product has been one of the more reliable and under-rated a�?keepers in Serie A over last two seasons. Another calcio veteran Gennaro Sardo is likely to start at right-back. It was Sardo who handed Chievoa��s first victory over Juve in 2009/10 season with a precious goal. Juventus fans are unlikely to forget his performance in the 2-2 draw in Turin last season. Two thumping long rangers from the right-back in a space of three minutes saw Chievo claw back from 2-0 down to earn a point. Slovenian international Bostjan Cesar will partner up with Argentine Santiago Morero in the heart of Chievo defence with Bojan Jokic manning the left flank.

Michael Bradley, a rare example of an American plying his trade in the peninsula, has made an encouraging debut to his Serie A career. He has looked lively in each of the three matches that he has started, and he also provided a crucial assist against Genoa. Bradleya��s fellow midfielders in a three man line-up are likely to be Luca Rigoni and new signing Finnish PA�rparim Hetemaj.

Peruvian Rinaldo Cruzado turned heads with his performances in Copa America and was promptly snapped up by Chievo. He will play in the a�?holea�? behind the two-pronged attack of Davide Moscardelli and Sergio Pellisier. Both of Chievoa��s strikers are in form and have each struck twice in five matches. Pellisier, especially, has turned into a serial tormentor for Juventus in recent seasons. The Chievo legend routinely performs well against the old lady and scores crucial goals in this fixture.

Possible Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino; Sardo, Cesar, Morero, Jokic; Bradley, Rigoni, Hetemaj; Cruzado, Pellisier, Moscardelli

Juventus

Since 2007/08 season Juventus have defeated AC Milan more than once but the Old Lady rarely looked as unstoppable in those games as it did in the last match. The Serie A champions were humbled in all three departments as Contea��s team dominated the match and deservedly won 2-0. The nature of that victory has already started premature talks of Juve winning Serie A title. Antonio Contea��s real test will take place in next one and half months, with Juve facing a punishing fixture list.

The team is not suffering from any injury scares and it is likely that Conte will roll out a similar defensive set-up as he did against Milan. Stefan Lichtsteiner has proved to be irreplaceable in the starting XI and will start at right-back. Giorgio Chiellini played in his natural position, at left-back, in his last matches for both La Nazionale and Juventus and he is likely to retain that position with Andrea Barzagli and Bonucci forming central defensive pairing.

Claudio Marchisio has been in wonderful form lately. He scored both goals against Milan and followed it up with another goal for Gli Azzuris. Arturo Vidal is a good player but it looks unlikely that he will replace Marchisio in starting XI should Conte stick with a 4-2-4 formation. Andrea Pirlo has been the chief creative spark behind Bianconeria��s ascendancy under Conte. It will be interesting how he copes with fatigue. He has rarely been rested and played for 180 minutes for Italy over the last 10 days.

Krasic needs to return to his prime form

While Simone Pepea��s crossing is poor, his work rate and commitment are a treat to watch a�� two qualities Conte himself was famous for. Pepe has been the most used winger under his coaching and even the harshest critics of Pepea��s game have to accept the fact that his energy is a primary element in Juvea��s high pressing game. Krasic, on the other hand, has been pretty off colour so far. He was the only dark spot in an otherwise sparkling performance against Milan. Milos needs to perform quickly if he has to retain his spot in starting XI.

Alessandro Matri and Mirko Vucinic are likely to start upfront. None of the strikers have found their best form yet, though Vucinic did play well against Milan. Matri scored a goal against Chievo last season and will look to repeat that feat.

Possible Starting Line-up (4-2-4): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini; Pirlo, Marchisio; Krasic, Matri, Vucinic, Pepe

Key Facts

  1. Juventus have not beaten Chievo in Serie A since August, 2009.
  2. Juventus have won five times and lost just once in Verona.
  3. Antonio Conte was one of the top performers for Juventus when the two clubs met for the first time in Serie A in 2001/02 season.

TheHardTacklea��s PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Sergio Pellisier (Chievo)

Pellisier has been a regular thorn in the Old Ladya��s side. Last season, he scored a last gasp equaliser to deny Juventus all three points in the first leg, while his hattrick in an epic 3-3 draw in 2008/09 season still remains one of the all-time best individual performances from a Chievo player. If Juventus have to stop the Flying Donkeys from scoring, they have to first stop Pellisier.

Milos Krasic (Juventus)

Just before the winter break last season, Juventus led Chievo 1-0 when Krasic found himself one-on-one with Sorrentino. It was a golden opportunity to seal the match but the Serbian amazingly hit to cross piece when it was easier to score. That miss cost Juve three points and with that started the eventual implosion in the second half of the season. Krasic needs to make amends for that miss and find his form.

TheHardTacklea��s PREDICTION

Chievo 0-1 Juventus

TheHardTacklea��s BLAST FROM THE PAST

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