Juventus Stadium, Turin
August 25th 2012, 18:45 GMT
Defending Serie A Champions Juventus play hosts to Parma in the inaugural round of the 2012-2013 Serie A season. The Bianconeri are coming off a perfect league season without a defeat. Pre-season saw them continue to impress as they notched up their first cup of the season by overcoming Napoli 4-2 in the Supercoppa. With new arrivals that further strengthened an already formidable squad, Juventus are front-runners for the Scudetto.
Parma concluded last season in excellent fashion, embarking on a 7-game winning streak that saw them finish off the campaign in 8th position. Their biggest loss though, remains that of Sebastian Giovinco to their opponents this weekend. The talented play-maker was Parma’s most effective and outstanding player last season with 15 goals and 11 assists. However with a few smart purchases, they will look to improve upon last season’s standing.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Juventus were hit with bad news prior to the season kicking off. Manager Antonio Conte faces a 10-month touchline ban for his supposed involvement in the controversial Scommessepoli scandal. His acting replacement Massimo Carrera has done well in Conte’s absence, guiding Juventus to the Supercoppa win but it remains to be seen just how well the Bianconeri cope sans Conte.
With additions in the form of Kwadwo Asamoah, Lucio, Mauricio Isla, Sebastian Giovinco and Paul Pogba, Juventus have reinforced shrewdly this transfer window. The new recruits give Juventus a bit more depth that may enable to fight in the three competitions they find themselves participating in. The lack of a world-class striker though is evident and the search for that elusive bomber continues.
Carrera is expected to deploy a 3-5-2 formation. A minor thigh injury has ruled captain Gigi Buffon out of this fixture; Marco Storari is expected to step in. Defenders Martin Caceres and Giorgio Chiellini are on the sideline which means Lucio will be handed his Serie A Juventus debut in the back three alongside Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci. Barzagli is renowned for his anticipatory skills while Bonucci will initiate attacks from the back with his ball-playing ability.
In midfield, the trident of Marchisio-Pirlo-Vidal were instrumental in Juventus’ success last season. The constant pressing by the midfield helped them dominate opponents. Marchisio and Vidal will cover each and every blade of grass, and will not offer a moment’s rest to their opposition on the night. Andrea Pirlo will be deployed just in front of the defence and will dictate the tempo of the game. Expect Juventus to have the lion’s share of possession and outrun Parma in midfield. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah will provide the width down either flank.
The attacking duo of Sebastian Giovinco and Mirko Vucinic have performed admirably during pre-season. They will continue to spearhead the attack and hope to combine with each other and search for pockets of space in between Parma’s back three. Giovinco will often drop deep in search of the ball, he also has the tendency to drift towards the left and then cut in and unleash a shot towards goal.
Probable Starting Lineup (3-5-2): Storari(GK); Lucio, Bonucci, Barzagli; Lichtsteiner, Marchisio, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah; Giovinco, Vucinic
Despite their late surge towards the climax of last season, Parma failed to find to a spot in Europe. Roberto Donadoni’s side start off this season with optimism and have bolstered their ranks with the additions of Sotiris Ninis, Marco Parolo, Dorlon Pabon among others. While the club will desire to finish the campaign with a European spot, they will remain content with a top half of the table end.
Donadoni will employ a similar 3-5-2 formation to that of Juventus. There won’t be much change to the back three. Cristian Zaccardo and Alessandro Lucarelli bring a lot of experience to the defence and they will have to contain Juventus’ tricky front pair of Giovinco and Vucinic.
New signing Marco Parolo is a quality midfielder who’s capable of controlling the midfield department. Whether he gets the opportunity to do so against Juventus, remains to be seen. He is expected to inspire Parma’s attacks from the centre of the field. Captain Stefano Morrone will patrol the midfield area alongside Parolo. His job will be to break up Juventus attacks and try to negate any sort of influence Andrea Pirlo might have on this game.
Up front ex-Juventus striker Amauri will lead the line for Parma. He will be partnered by Dorlon Pabon whose signing has gathered hype and certainly is one to keep an eye on this season. Pabon’s Serie A debut couldn’t come against a tougher opponent. He faces an uphill task in trying to breach last season’s best defence in the league.
Sansone and Palladino are injured for the visitors while Galloppa will serve a suspension that has been carried forward into this season.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Mirante(GK); Zaccardo, Paletta, Lucarelli; Biabiany, Morrone, Valdes, Parolo, Gobbi; Amauri, Pabon
- Juventus are undefeated in their last 39 matches in Serie A.
- Parma have won their last 7 matches in Serie A.
- Juventus have scored at least 2 goals in 9 out of their 11 matches in Serie A.
- Parma have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 away matches in Serie A.
Players To Watch Out For
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
The best player in Serie A last season and one of the best players on display at the recently concluded Euros, Andrea Pirlo offers creativity and an unmatched range of passing. He was pivotal to Juventus success last season and will once again look to be the orchestrator of every Bianconeri attack.
The Brazilian striker endured a rough time at Juventus where he was constantly the subject of abuse and insults from the Bianconeri supporters. On Saturday, he will find himself at the Juventus Stadium in front of a crowd that will be on his back and will do everything he can to silence them.
Juventus 2-0 Parma
The Old Lady starts as favourites and shouldn’t really disappoint going into this match. Parma might offer resistance but in the end, the sheer firepower and technical quality of Juventus should see them through this game and begin their Serie A title defence with all three points in the bag.
Blast From The Past