Stadio Olimpico Di Torio, Turin
April 10, 2011; 4:00 pm IST
Juventus will be looking for an elusive third consecutive win, when they host Italy’s oldest football club, at the Olimpico. Under Gigi Delneri, Juve has never managed to string a hattrick of wins this season – this is the Old Lady’s best chance of changing that record. With Lazio and Udinese dropping points in the last round, a small but achievable window of opportunity has opened up for Juve to sneak into UCL.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Coach Gigi Delneri finally changed his tried and tested 4-4-2, against Roma, in the last match. Delneri moved Krasic and Pepe as advanced winger, while Matri played as the centre-forward. AS Roma dominated much of the first half – Vucinic and Totti bypassed a Chiellini-less Juve defence with ease. Juve was kept in the match by a heroic performance from Marco Storari, arguably his best since joining Juventus. In the second half, Juve gradually got hold of the midfield, as Roma showed signs of fatigue. Bianconeri drew first blood through an unlikely source – Fabio Grosso. The much maligned left-back superbly dribbled into the Roma penalty box before releasing an inch-perfect lob towards Krasic. The Serbian winger made no mistake, as a rasping volley made it two back to back goals for him. Shortly after Krasic’s strike, Mexes went off injured, as Roma completely withered away. It was a matter of time before Juve would score another goal. Alessandro Matri flummoxed the Roma backline after easing past its offside trap to make it 2-0 to the visitors. Fabio Grosso slipped a delicious through ball to Matri for his goal. The match finished with Juve achieving an away win in Rome for third consecutive season.
Buffon, Chiellini are injured for the Genoa game, so Marco Storari is likely to start. Both Marco Motta and Fabio Grosso will miss this match because of suspension so Frederik Sorensen and Grygera can fill in as right and left backs respectively. Felipe Melo was possibly the best player for Juve against Roma over two halves. He dropped deep, as a third centre-back, with Bonucci and Barzagli getting overrun – making several timely interceptions. He also brilliantly covered for a misfiring Alberto Aquilani with some neat passes to Krasic and Pepe. Claudio Marchisio, a natural central midfielder has been playing as a left-winger in 4-4-2. However, the last match showed that he is much more suited to a three man midfield which enables him to slide into a more centralized position. Aquilani’s ordinary form has been continuing for quite some time now and it is clear that he is not just going through a bad patch.
Alessandro Matri has proved himself to be an inspired winter signing so far. His positioning and off the ball movement is top notch – two qualities the other Juve strikers lack. Matri is already having the best Serie A season of his career; in Turin he has scored six goals in nine matches. Krasic has scored in back to back matches but his overall form hasn’t improved yet. His goals however, might give him a much needed confidence boost.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-3): Storari; Sorensen, Barzagli, Bonucci, Grygera; Aquilani, Melo, Marchisio; Krasic, Matri, Pepe
Italy’s oldest football club was tipped to be one of the teams to watch out for, in Serie A, this season after making some good signings in summer. What was supposed to be a season to remember for the Grifoni has turned into a nightmare. Constant wheeling and dealing has reduced Genoa’s squad to nothing short of a circus. Currently Genoa has over seventy players in their squad – a considerably large number. Their topsy-turvy season saw Giam Piero Gasperini get sacked, a manager, who led Genoa to Europa League from Serie B. Under Davide Ballardini, their form hasn’t improved, as they continue to dish out inconsistent performances. In recent times they have defeated the likes of Roma or Palermo but have lost to the likes of Catania. Currently lodged in 12th place Genoa can neither get relegated nor can they hope for European football.
Genoa is most likely to field a 4-4-2 formation. Eduardo hasn’t managed to replicate his Braga/Portugal form in Serie A. In the first leg his faulty positioning led to one of the goals conceded by il Grifoni. He hasn’t been helped either by an often error prone central defensive pairing of Kaladze and Dainelli. Domenico Criscito is not fit for this game, so Emiliano Moretti will replace the former Juve left-back.
Milan youth product Paloschi has been touted to be the next big thing in Italian football for quite some time now. In Genoa he has shown signs of maturing into a class player. He often rose to the occasion – scoring vital goals, like in the epic 4-3 win over AS Roma. Antonio Floro-Flores was strongly linked to a move to Juventus in winter before the move collapsed. Instead he joined Genoa – he would certainly want to prove a point to Juve.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Eduardo; Mesto, Kaladze, Dainelli, Moretti; Rossi, Konko, Milanetto, Antonelli; Paloschi, Floro Flores
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Alessandro Matri (Juventus)
Lot of Juventus fans were dissapointed when the club lost out on Pazzini in winter. Matri’s form so far has shown little cause for complaints. His positioning is brilliant and he has shown versatility in playing either as a centre-forward or a support striker. Most importantly, he has shown the ability to finish off chances presented to him – something not offered by Toni, Iaquinta or Amauri. Matri will be loving the prospect of squaring off against Kaladze, who hasnt had the best of seasons so far.
Juventus 2-0 Genoa
It will not be unrealistic to expect a win for the Old Lady. Genoa dont have any target left for the season and they might lack proper motivation. Juve is in better form and will be favourties for this home game.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST