September 25th 2012, 18:45 GMT kick-off
Fiorentina prepare to host Champions and arch rivals Juventus at the Artemio Franchi as an old rivalry is reignited on Tuesday night. A rivalry that dates back to the 1981-82 season where Fiorentina fans felt cheated as Juventus clinched the Scudetto, finishing a point above the Viola on the final day of the season through a ‘disputed’ penalty, in the eyes of Fiorentina supporters. The transfer of legendary attacker Roberto Baggio from Florence to Turin hasn’t quite helped bring the two clubs closer.
The antagonism between fans of both the clubs could cause Juventus coach Antonio Conte to watch the game from the comfort of his living room. Such is the rivalry that there is a growing fear regarding Conte’s safety were he to sit in the stands.
Team News and Tactical Brief
La Viola’s start to the season has warranted the enthusiasm that surrounded their transfer campaign. Vincenzo Montella has in a space of a few weeks managed to bring cohesion to a Fiorentina squad that is a far cry from the one that crawled themselves to a disappointing 13th place last season.
The manager is expected to a few changes from the one that faced Parma. Migliaccio, Pasqual and Ljajic could replace Mati Fernandez, Cassani and Seferovic. His 3-5-2 will see the back three comprise of Rocaglia, who scored a fantastic opener against Parma, Rodriguez and Tomovic. Former Bologna shot-stopper Emiliano Viviano will stand in goal for the home side.
The creativity in midfield will come in the form of veteran Serie A midfielder David Pizarro and also Borja Valero. Pizarro, often under-rated, will sit in front of the defense and dictate Fiorentina’s play. The Chilean International possesses an extensive passing range and will often spray out passes on to the wings where Cuadrado and Pasqual will offer the width.
In attack, Fiorentina’s talisman Stevan Jovetic will spearhead the attack and will be supported by another one of their bright prospects Adem Ljajic. Montella’s side are easy on the eye with their swift passing and movement. Jovetic, of course, is always at the center of every wave of Fiorentina attack, he will drop short or drift on to the wings in search of space and to receive the ball a bit deeper which will give him more time on the ball.
Aquilani, Hamdaoui and Della Rocca are all ruled out for this game.
The game against Parma proved once again that Juventus are streets ahead of their fellow Serie A teams. Despite rotating quite a few players, the Bianconeri gave the league a glimpse of the quality and depth they can call upon this season.
Conte will stick with his 3-5-2 formation that has served him so well this campaign with just a few players who were given a rest expected to be back for this game. Barzagli, Pirlo, Vidal and Giovinco are all expected to make their return to the starting eleven after earning a break against Chievo. Martin Caceres and Paolo De Ceglie could take the places of Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah as fullbacks.
While Fabio Quagliarella, who seems to have rejuvenated his Juventus career will be partnered by the tricky Sebastian Giovinco in attack. Quagliarella bagged a brace against Chievo in what was without a doubt his strongest outing for Juventus. The former Sampdoria man seems to have recaptured the kind of form he displayed prior to his horrific knee injury back in January 2011. What he needs now more than ever is continuity which he will receive provided he keeps on finding the back of the net.
Juventus will play their usual high pressing, high tempo game. Caceres and De Ceglie will look to stretch Viola’s defense as they try to exploit the width on the pitch. Andrea Pirlo will set the tone of Juventus’ attack but expect either one of Ljajic or Jovetic to escort him wherever he may venture. It is here where Vidal and Marchisio play key-roles in supplying the forwards and of course winning back the ball.
Simone Pepe and Simone Padoin are both on the treatment table for Juventus.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon; Lucio, Bonucci, Barzagli; Caceres, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Giovinco, Quagliarella
- Juventus are unbeaten in 43 Serie A games.
- Fiorentina has not defeated Juventus in Serie A since 2nd March, 2008
- Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina, leads the goal-scoring charts in Serie A.
Players To Watch Out For
Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina)
Fiorentina’s star man was courted throughout the summer by Juventus but the Viola stood firm over their €30M asking price, which Beppe Marotta wasn’t ready to meet. With 4 goals and 1 assist to his name already, it isn’t hard to see why Jovetic is considered as the brightest young talent in Serie A. Once again, Fiorentina will pile their hopes on his young shoulders in the hope he can deliver against the Champions.
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
The Juve youth product has enjoyed an encouraging start to his campaign. His late runs into the box coupled with his tactical awareness makes him an integral part of the Juventus midfield trident and so vital to Conte’s footballing philosophy. He faces a strong midfield on Tuesday night and his performance will go a long way in deciding the outcome of the midfield battle and indeed the game.
Fiorentina 1-2 Juventus
In Fiorentina, Juventus face their sternest Serie A test yet. The Viola will be motivated to bring their illustrious opponents’ 100% record to an abrupt halt. Given the footballing beliefs of both the managers, this will make for one highly entertaining game. Expect both teams to come out all guns blazing in a very open encounter. Form and the superior technical quality though suggest Juventus will be the last team smiling and gather the three points they aim for.
Blast From The Past