Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genova
September 16, 2012
Juventus will know that Genoa was one of the few teams to not lose to them last season in Serie A. Both matches ended in 2-2 and 0-0 draws. They will line-up for yet another match, this time with Antonio Conte in the stands, as the club will be looking to extend its 100% record in Serie A this season. A number of Juventus players were fully involved with respective national teams during the International break and fatigue will be an issue against Genoa, who had lesser number of Internationals.
Team News and Tactical Brief
The Bianconeri is likely to line up in the 3-5-2 formation with Gianluigi Buffon in goal. Giorgio Chiellini is back to full fitness and will be partnering Andrea Barzagli. Leonardo Bonucci on the other hand, has been in slightly dodgy form in first two matches. His form, coupled with the rapid rise of Luca Marrone may see the Italy U-21 international picked ahead of the former Bari defender.
Mauricio Isla is finally back to full fitness and he played for over an hour for Chile during the break but he is unlikely to start ahead of Stephan Lichtsteiner. The Swiss right-back has so far played well as a wing-back despite pre-season concerns about his effectiveness in that position. Lichtsteiner’s almost telepathic understanding with Andrea Pirlo has been one of the strongest points in Juve’s attack since last season. Last season, the first goal in the Juventus stadium was scored when Lichtsteiner beat the offside trap to meet Pirlo’s flighted pass – an almost similar goal happened against Udinese in the last match but Lichtsteiner’s shot was off the mark. The competition between Lichtsteiner and Isla will certainly be very interesting in coming weeks.
Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal are assured starters in midfield. Vidal had a particularly torrid time in midweek when he played as a central defender for Chile. Up against one of the most dangerous and in-form strikers in the world, Falcao, Vidal struggled and had to see his team slump to a 3-1 home defeat. The Chilean will certainly be looking to set the record straight against Genoa.
Kwadwo Asamoah has meshed seamlessly in the Juventus set-up and has arguably been the best player till now. Despite playing in an unfamiliar position of left wing-back the Ghanaian has performed consistently and regularly created goal scoring chances. Against Genoa’s 4-3-3, exploiting the flanks will be one of the major targets for Juventus. Asamoah and Lichtsteiner’s current form will be causing most headaches in the Genoa camp.
The Giovinco-Vucinic combination came good against Udinese. These two are the most technically gifted players in Juventus’ attacking department and if they can combine well then Juve’s inability to get a top striker might seem less magnified. Vucinic’s form against smaller teams in Serie A has always been suspect and it remains to be seen if that trend changes this season.
Expected Starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Pirlo, Vidal, Marchisio, Asamoah; Vucinic, Giovinco
Italy’s oldest club Genoa began their 2012/13 campaign with a comfortable victory against Cagliari but slumped to a 3-2 loss against Catania in last round. Under Gigi De Canio, the Grifoni will be looking to improve on their shambolic showing last season when they barely escaped relegation after having the worst defensive record in Serie A.
Genoa have lost two of their star strikers this summer but managed to rope in 2011/12 Serie B top scorer Ciro Immobile from Juventus on a co-ownership deal. Immobile will be joining forces with a striker who spent few months of last season in Juventus, Marco Boriello. The duo will be looking to inflict some pain over the Old Lady. Immobile scored for Genoa on his debut and can cause problems to the Juventus central defence with his movement. Bosco Jankovic, the third striker in Genoa’s attacking trident has already found the net once this season.
AC Milan youth product Alexander Merkel is another exciting prospect for Genoa in midfield. Merkel has already notched up a goal and an assist against his name. However, the 20-year old central midfielder might be out of his depth against one of the best midfields in Europe. Should Juventus manage to shut Merkel down they will also be able to negate Genoa’s attacking moves. Arturo Vidal’s compatriot Felipe Seymour and Slovakian Juraj Kucka will complete the midfield trio. Kucka is playing his third straight season with Genoa and was often the consistent though unspectacular performer for them last season. He will have the unenviable job of giving protection to Merkel in a midfield where they will be heavily outnumbered.
Defence was Genoa’s Achilles Heel in the past season and there have been very few indicators to prove this season will be a major improvement. They opened their campaign with a clean sheet but shipped in three goals in the next game. Catania’s second goal was an abject failure of Genoa’s offside trap. Genoa will need to tighten up the back-line if they want to escape the same treatment that Juve’s last opponent got.
Expected Starting XI (4-3-3): Frey; Feronetti, Canini, Granqvist, Antonelli; Kucka, Seymour, Merkel; Jankovic, Boriello, Immobile
Marco Borriello (Genoa)
Boriello’s greatest ever season in Serie A came in the Genoa jersey in 2007/08 season. The lumpy centre-forward scored 19 times for Genoa that season and he will be looking to get back to that form when he faces his former employers.
Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus)
The Atomic Ant finally joined the party against Udinese as he grabbed a brace. Giovinco’s performance for Italy during the International break was disappointing but he will line up against Genoa knowing that he scored twice against the same opponents the last time he faced them.
Genoa 0-2 Juventus
Genoa will look to earn a point from this match but the current Juventus team has far too much quality to drop points in this match.
THT Blast From The Past