Juventus Stadium, Turin
September 22nd 2012, 18:45 GMT kick-off
After a scintillating midweek Champions League game against Chelsea, Juventus prepare themselves to host the ‘Flying Donkeys’ Chievo Verona at the Juventus Stadium. For the reigning Champions, this game represents a test of their ability to recover after midweek European action. Lack of European games was cited as one of the main reasons that contributed to their success last term. While such claims are by no means off the target, the Bianconeri will feel they have a point to prove regarding their capability of fighting on all three fronts.
For Chievo, their campaign hasn’t quite started in the manner they would have desired. Two losses and a solitary win against Bologna on opening weekend see them sit in 12th place in the league table. Against Lazio, they were outplayed in every area of the pitch and the difference in quality was evident as they struggled to contain Lazio’s attack. The same can be said of their first away game at Parma, where they never looked in control of the game and eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat.
Team News and Tactical Brief
The Bianconeri made a very good impression in Europe with their resilient display against the Champions of Europe – Chelsea. Despite going two goals down, that grit we’ve come to associate with Juventus once again was on show as they managed to crawl back and come away with a point from Stamford Bridge.
Against Chievo though, manager Conte is expected to ring in the changes and rest certain players. Bonucci, Pirlo, Lichtsteiner, Giovinco are all expected to be given a breather. Lucio, Pogba, Isla, Quagliarella are most likely to replace them. Conte is all set to deploy his favored 3-5-2 formation. Isla and Lucio are in line for their first Serie A starts with their new club.
There has been a lot of excitement behind Isla’s signing; the attacking side of his game has certainly been the source of it all. Currently, he is playing second fiddle to Stephan Lichtsteiner but having only just recovered from a long term injury, he’ll see this opportunity as too good to let go off. Expect him to bomb up and down that right flank.
Arturo Vidal put in a tremendous fighting shift against Chelsea where he also managed to find the back of the net with an excellent left-footed finish. The downside for him was that he unfortunately picked up an ankle injury which could rule him out of the game on Saturday. Emanuele Giaccherini is expected to take his place.
In attack, given his positive effect on the game after coming on as a substitute, Fabio Quagliarella will be given the nod ahead of diminutive play-maker Sebastian Giovinco. He will be partnered up front by the enigmatic Mirko Vucinic. How the two combine will make for an intriguing watch. Vucinic will run along the channels in the hope of drawing out defenders thus giving Quagliarella more space to make runs into.
Simone Pepe and Simone Padoin are both sidelined for this game through injuries.
Probable Starting Lineup (3-5-2): Buffon(GK); Lucio, Barzagli, Chiellini; Isla, Marchisio, Pogba, Giaccherini, Asamoah; Vucinic, Quagliarella
Domenico Di Carlo’s side’s haven’t quite hit top gear yet with consecutive losses to Parma first and then Lazio overshadowing their victory at home to Bologna on the very first Serie A weekend. But it’s still early days in the season and while flaws have been highlighted in Chievo’s games, the right time to address them remains the present. This weekend they face their sternest test yet in the form of Champions Juventus.
Di Carlo will line-up his side in a familiar 4-3-1-2 formation. Alberto Palsochi is ruled out with a long-term injury and is definitely a blow for the away side. Expect them to sit off allowing Juventus time on the ball. Chievo’s threat should basically come in the form of counter-attacks where Di Carlo will surely order his players to target Lucio. The Brazilian International has been error-prone for Juventus during pre-season and is seen as the weak link in a defense that has yet to match the dizzy standards it set for itself from last season.
The defense is expected to remain unchanged from the one that conceded three goals to Lazio at home. Midfield, as always, is the area which Chievo need to put a stamp on in order to control the game. Rigoni will sit in front of the defense and look to break-down Juventus attacks. Rinaldo Cruzado will slot in the hole just behind the attacking duo of Cyril Thereau and Sergio Pellissier. The away side will enter the Juventus Stadium and are likely to play for the draw, sitting back and soaking pressure that Juventus offer.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino(GK); Sardo, Dainelli, Cesar, Jokic; Vacek, Rigoni, Hetemaj; Cruzado; Thereau, Pellissier
- Juventus are unbeaten in 42 Serie A games.
- The last time Juventus beat Chievo was in August 2009.
- Chievo have never beaten Juventus in Turin.
Players To Watch Out For
Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus)
The former Napoli man has been renowned for his sublime play-station goals. Out of favor for much of last season and viewed as a ‘finished’ player by many Juventus fans, the game against Chievo should allow Quagliarella to prove his detractors wrong and cement a spot in Juventus’ first eleven.
Sergio Pellissier (Chievo Verona)
Pellissier is idolized by the Chievo fans and is by far their best player and talisman as well. The captain has often proven to be the scourge of Juventus in the past and if Chievo are to hope for anything positive out of this game, they will once again ask their captain for inspiration.
Juventus 2-1 Chievo
This will be a tight contest. Juventus might show a bit of fatigue while Chievo remain the fresher side. The home side though are a far more technically gifted side than their opponents and that alone should see them start off as favorites and justify that tag and bag the much coveted three points.
Blast From The Past