Stadio Olimpico Di Torio, Turin
27th February, 2011; 1:15 am, IST
After a rousing victory in the Derby D’Italia, Juventus was brought crashing back to the earth with a 2-0 loss against Lecce. The performance against Lecce was one of the most abject displays from a Juventus team in recent times – keeping in mind that there have been many poor matches in last 2 seasons. Gianluigi Buffon’s uncharacteristic folly saw him get a red card and Juve imploded after that incident. Lecce attacked in waves and realistically could have scored more goals.
Bologna hosted AS Roma in midweek with Vincenzo Montella taking charge of the iLupi. Roma eked out a narrow 0-1 win thanks to a De Rossi goal. Bologna, historically one Italy’s most successful clubs, fought hard in that match but was unable to utilize their chances.
Bologna held Juventus to a goal-less draw in the first leg. An otherwise ordinary match was marked by Milos Krasic’s dive which led to a Juve penalty. Vincenzo Iaquinta stepped up to take the spot kick but was denied by Viviano. Krasic was subsequently banned for the dive by FIGC.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Juve’s form in 2011 has been nothing short of dismal. The 1-0 victory against Inter was thought to be a threshold for the team to revive the campaign. When Juve faced a depleted Lecce side for a lunchtime kick-off everyone expected a victory. Sadly, the match turned into a replica of another infamous lunch-time kickoff – the 4-1 loss to Parma. Buffon handled the ball outside the penalty box when it would have been safer to hold his ground. Once the inspirational captain went off, Juve’s defence went to sleep. The offside trap which worked perfectly against Inter failed as Chiellini played Mesbah onside for the first goal.
Not a single player performed to his potential against Lecce. Juve did manage to create a few chances in second half but Vincenzo Iaquinta’s poor finishing ensured a 2-0 scoreline. Juve is now 7 points behind 4th placed Lazio and are in danger for missing out on UCL football for the second time in as many years. Pressure is mounting on both Delneri and the players to deliver the results. Juventus is yet to win 3 consecutive matches this season – this will be good time to start doing that.
Buffon will miss this match because of suspension so Marco Storari will don the gloves. The defence continues to give head-aches to Delneri. Chiellini did well as a left-back but the Lecce match showed that his presence in central defence is much more important. Delneri can use veteran Hasan Salihamidzic instead of a very inconsistent Frederik Sorensen as right-back.
Milos Krasic is one yellow card away from missing the crucial match against AC Milan. He was substituted by Delneri against Lecce to make way for Storari. The Serbian has looked out of sorts in 2011 – his form might decide the fate of Juve’s season. Another midfielder who has been totally off-colour recently is Alberto Aquilani. Aquilani’s poor form has even raised some questions on whether Juve would want to make his loan move permanent. He suffered an injury in training and will probably miss this match. Felipe Melo and Claudio Marchisio have been better than these two but neither of them is capable of providing the creative spark to the front two.
Except Alessandro Matri none of the Juve strikers have any sort of form going into this match. Luca Toni worked hard without any end product against Lecce. Fit again Vincenzo Iaquinta provided much needed pace and movement but his finishing was terrible. Even the ageless Alessandro Del Piero has missed some sitters in last few months. More concerning is the fact that Del Piero’s trademark free-kick delivery seems to have deserted him in this period.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Storari; Sorensen, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini; Krasic, Melo, Marchisio, Pepe; Del Piero, Matri
A decent run of form in 2011 has seen the Rossoblu climb out of relegation zone. The financially embattled club has won 4 matches out of 9 played this year, drawing three times. A 3-1 win over Lazio was perhaps their best result this season. Veteran marksman Marco Di Vaio has taken the mantle of scoring goals – hitting the back of the net 14 times.
Bologna is likely to field a 4-3-1-2 formation. In Emiliano Viviano they have one of the best young ‘keepers in the peninsula currently. Viviano was unbeatable against Palermo last weekend, single handedly ensuring a 1-0 win. He has been getting very little protection from his defensive line as both Britos and Daniele Portanova have been error prone. Former Lazio midfielder Gabi Mudingayi will anchor the midfield while Della Rocca will play in the hole behind Di Vaio and Meggiorini.
Marco Di Vaio will be the most important Bologna outfield player. He has scored more than half of the goals scored by the Rossoblu. Given the trend of former Juventus player doing well against the club in recent times, Di Vaio will certainly fancy his chances.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-1-2): Viviano; Esposito, Portanova, Britos, Rubin; Casarini, Mudingayi, Perez; Della Roca; Meggiorini, Di Vaio
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Milos Krasic (Juventus)
Krasic’s form has dropped sharply in last two months. He has looked tired and has not made any meaningful contribution in matches for long periods. The Bologna match provided Krasic with an unwanted tag of a diver. After that match referees have often been reluctant to give fouls committed on him. If Krasic chose a match to make his comeback, this match will be a good choice.
Juventus 2-0 Bologna
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST