Juventus v Bari Preview: Can The Bianconeri Overcome The Galletti?



Olimpic Stadium, Turin
January 16, 2011, 14:00 GMT
The Old Lady welcome Bari to the Olimpic Stadium in Turin as they look to get their Serie A title march back on track. After a disastrous start to 2011, Juventus finally are back to winning ways as they overcame Catania during the midweek Coppa Italia game. The Bianconeri, who welcomed the return of legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon on Thursday, will be looking to score their first points in Serie A this year.
Rumours regarding Gigi Del Neri getting the sack were doing the rounds, but the board has claimed that the former Sampdoria tactician’s job is safe, although he would definitely be feeling the heat, following the back to back defeats he had to endure at the hands of Parma and Napoli, in the league. The Old Lady currently occupy 6th position in the league table and a win at home would go a long way in giving them the confidence boost they desperately need. A defeat here would definitely spell the end for any sort of scudetto challenge the Bianconeri were hoping to mount.
Bari is the just the team Juve would want to face right now; the Galletti are bottom of the table and are almost certainly going to get relegated at the end of the season, barring a miracle. Coach Giampiero Ventura is facing the heat and the rumours linking Franco Colomba to replace him won’t help his cause. Bari have won just a single away game this season and have managed to rack up a meagre 14 points in 19 Serie A games. Ventura’s side will be looking towards the first game of the season where they managed to defeat Juventus at the San Nicola for inspiration.
Team News and Tactical Brief
The Bianconeri are plagued by injury problems with Luca Toni, who recently arrived from Genoa, the latest to be added to a worrying list that includes Leonardo Rinaudo, Paolo De Ceglie, Vincenzo Iaquinta, and Fabio Quagliarella. Felipe Melo is suspended following his red card against Parma. Gianluigi Buffon is expected to make his first Serie A start this season in goal and will boost a shaky looking Juve defence.

Superman Returns

Momo Sissoko isn’t expected to start after his feud with the club, which would allow Claudio Marchisio to return to his favoured Central Midfield position alongside Alberto Aquilani. Simone Pepe should continue his role on the left flank. Leading the attack will be former Palermo man Amauri, who is yet to open his account this season for the Bianconeri. He will be partnered by Alex Del Piero, who should recover in time from a minor knee injury. Jorge Martinez could make a return to first team action after he was sidelined with a broken foot in the 2-1 victory over Milan in October.
Form Guide: LLDWW
Possible Lineup (4-4-2): Buffon, Sorensen, Chiellini, Bonucci, Grosso, Krasic, Aquilani, Marchisio, Pepe, Del Piero, Amauri.

Coach Giampiero Ventura will be without the services of former Juve man Sergio Almiron along with Abelkader Ghezzal, Salvatore Masiello, Marco D’Alessandro and Paulo Barreto. In goal will be fan favourite Jean Francois Gillet. Bari possess pacy wingers who troubled Juve’s fullbacks in the reverse fixture and Ventura will be hoping for ‘more of the same’ from Edgar Alvarez and Emmanuel Rivas when their side travel to Turin.
Former Celtic midfielder Massimo Donati will be looking to take control of the game in the centre of midfield and had scored a wonderful winner in the same fixture earlier in the season. Stefano Okaka should lead the attack for the Galletti; the striker currently on loan from Roma hit the winner for Bari in their fixture against Lecce. He is expected to be partnered by Belarus International Vitali Kutuzov. New signing Gergely Rudolf, who arrived from Genoa, should start on the bench.
Form Guide: LWDLL
Possible Lineup (4-4-2): Gillet; Masiello, Belmonte, Glik, Raggi, Alvarez, Donati, Gazzi, Rivas, Okaka, Kutuzov.
Alberto Aquilani (Juventus)

Aquilani will have to perform at his inspirational best

Aquilani has been in tremendous form this season. He gives the Juve midfield a bit of fluidity and a different dimension with his passing ability . With the absence of Felipe Melo in midfield, he will have to contribute a great deal defensively as well. He was impressive in his substitute appearance against Catania and alongside Claudio Marchisio he will have to establish control over the proceedings in midfield.
TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION
Juventus 3-1 Bari

Bari have been woeful away from home this season, while Juventus have been impressive in Turin. The Bianconeri start this game as favourites and have historically always done well against the Galletti in Turin. They should win the game comfortably.