Juventus Stadium, Turin
October 31st 19:45 kick-off
A top striker may elude Juventus but something that never seems to stop bothering them is controversy. The Italian giants were at the centre of a storm yet again with their 1-0 victory over Catania during the weekend. Indeed, Arturo Vidal’s goal and Gonzalo Bergessio’s disallowed goal were subject of the media frenzy in a weekend that was rife with refereeing errors. Angelo Alessio was the subject of much abuse from the press which catalyzed a ‘Silenzio Stampa’ response from the Champions. Juventus have opted not to speak to the media before their midweek game against Bologna.
Bologna head into this game on the back of a 3-1 home defeat to Inter. The Rossoblu struggled against Andrea Stramaccioni’s impressive Nerazzurri under the rain at the Dall’Ara. The loss against Inter was their third successive defeat in Serie A which sees them hover just a point above the relegation zone.
Team News and Tactical Brief
The Champions didn’t perform with greatest of conviction against Catania but do have the three points to show for it proving yet again they can churn out victories when tricky oppositions come along. The game against Bologna though should be comparatively straightforward. The intimidating atmosphere at the Juventus Stadium certainly presents itself as the Bianconeri’s 12th man.
Manager Antonio is expected to ring around a few changes to the side that faced Catania ahead of the massive Derby d’Italia game during the weekend. Lichtsteiner, Vucinic and Bendtner are all expected to start from the bench with Caceres, Giovinco and Matri drafted into the starting eleven. Paul Pogba should retain his place in midfield after a solid display against the Elefanti. Owing to an accumulation of yellow cards, Juventus’ match-winner Arturo Vidal is suspended. Emanuele Giaccherini should cover for him in midfield.
Juventus should stick to their favored 3-5-2 formation. The bulk of the Bianconeri’s play stems through the spine, Andrea Pirlo, in particular. Pirlo will pull the strings from midfield, orchestrating Juventus attacks. Pogba and Giaccherini won’t offer the same protection as Marchisio and Vidal do but they bring something else to the table. Giaccherini will inject his pace and trickery into midfield and will tend to drift over to the left-wing offer support to wing-back Kwadwo Asamoah.
In attack, Juventus’ struggles have been well documented. They may lead the table in terms of goals scored but that merely clouds the fact that their strikers have failed to find their feet. Giovinco is expected to start from the outset. The diminutive attacker has three goals to his name and with his trickery and acceleration is sure to cause a few problems to Bologna’s back-line. He is expected to be partnered by Alessandro Matri.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Caceres, Pogba, Pirlo, Giaccherini, Asamoah; Giovinco, Matri
Having let go off two of their most prized possessions in the summer, Bologna have begun life after Di Vaio and Ramirez in not the most desired fashion. Alberto Gilardino having taken over the mantle from Di Vaio has bagged 5 goals this term and continues the trend of strikers reviving their career with the Rossoblu. Gilardino possesses an aerial threat and would feast on service provided to him from the wings. Though he does have his work cut out for him against Juventus’ stingy back-line.
Following on from their home defeat to Inter, coach Stefano Pioli could shift to a 3-4-1-2 formation and mirror the one deployed by Antonio Conte. Juventus have struggled to break-down sides that have emulated their formation and this may have come to Pioli’s attention as well. His side dominated the early proceedings against Inter but failed to capitalize on their chances. Against Juventus, they will constantly be under pressure and their plan will be to defend in numbers.
Pazienza will be the midfield destroyer. The former Juventus man will look to break-up Bianconeri attacks and release the ball to the players more cultured in possession. Saphir Taider will play in the hole just behind Bologna’s attacking duo which includes Manolo Gabbiadini. The 20 year old striker is highly rated and is on loan at Bologna from Juventus. Gabbiadini will eye the opportunity to open his account this campaign against his owners.
Pioli does have a few injury concerns. Perez, Curci, Acquafresca, Gimenez, Stojanovic and Natali are all on the treatment table while playmaker Alessandro Diamanti is serving a one game ban due to accumulation of yellow cards.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-4-1-2): Agliardi; Sorensen, Antonsson, Cherubin; Motta, Pazienza, Kone, Morleo; Taider; Gilardino, Gabbiadini
Player To Watch Out For
Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus)
Since signing from Udinese, Asamoah has been a force of nature down Juventus’ left-wing. The Ghanaian International has more often than not dominated his flank with authority using his pace and power and tearing down opposition full-backs. Expect him to once again pile on the pressure on Bologna’s right side which should be manned by former Juventus defender Marco Motta.
Juventus 2-0 Bologna
At home, Juventus have seldom disappointed. Bologna won’t make it easy for the hosts though and should sit back absorbing pressure and hit the Bianconeri on the break. Bologna’s stuttering form coupled with their injury worries and Juventus’ sheer quality should see the Bianconeri extend their unbeaten run to 49 games.
Blast From The Past