Juventus Stadium, Torino
December 1, 2012
The Derby Della Mole is a strange derby. Contested by two of the most successful teams in Italy, this derby pits two clubs whose paths have steadily deviated away from each other in recent past. Torino, best known for the incredible yet tragic tale of the Il Grande Torino team has not won the league title in half a century. The Toro fans had to live with the ignominy of seeing cross-town rivals achieve success both in Italy as well as Europe. Juventus, the best supported club in Italy faces a strange situation in this hometown. In Turin, despite the gulf of success between two clubs, it is Torino that enjoys greater sympathy of the local populace. Juventus home games in Stadio delle Alpi were infamous for their poor attendances. The club had to take the prudent way of constructing the new stadium at a relatively small capacity of 41,000, a small number for a club like Juventus but not small enough when one considers the degree of local support.
Derby Della Mole makes a return after a gap of four years and interest is running high for this particular encounter as Torino will fancy their chances with Juventus focusing on their high voltage encounter against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.
Team News & Tactical Brief
A number of problems with the 3-5-2 were exposed when Juventus lost to Milan. Bianconeri were not outplayed by any stretch of imagination but they created frightfully little upfront as Milan defence dished out a disciplined performance.
One of the biggest problems against AC Milan was Juve’s lack of width. Mauricio Isla, who was brought in to specifically excel as a right wing-back in 3-5-2 failed miserably. From outset it was clear that Juventus were targeting Milan’s left flank where Kevin Constant has often been wobbly. However, the Old Lady’s forays down the right were ineffectual mainly because of Isla’s horrendous crossing. On multiple occasions he pulled the trigger too early or too late and allowed Constant to block his crosses. Kwadwo Asamoah, despite an impressive number of assists on the left wing-back position is not a proper wing-back. His main strength is his tactical reliability and physical ability to find space on the wings but his crossing is extremely ordinary. Whenever Asamoah comes against full-back who is able to match his physical drive, he struggles. This has already been evident against both the Milan sides this season. He is not a wide-man who can cross his way out of a tight situation. Juventus completely lost their width against Milan, the same thing that worked so well against Chelsea in mid-week.
Juventus’ central midfield of Marchisio, Pirlo and Vidal also had poor games individually. Pirlo was nowhere near his usual self while Vidal was guilty of trying his luck with long rangers once too many. The usually reliable Marchisio struggled to cope with two of his partners having a poor game and faded as the match progressed. Juventus attackers had very little supply as a result of this and the Old Lady had only two shots on target in the match.
The difficult away trip to the Donbass Arena in mid-week is bound to test Conte’s ability to rotate the squad. There are reports that Fabio Quagliarella may be dropped because he lashed out at Alessio after being substituted against Milan. If the ex-Napoli striker is indeed dropped then Mirko Vucinic is likely to start along with Sebastien Giovinco.
Possible Starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Vucinic, Giovinco
Giampiero Ventura is currently one of the most experienced managers in Serie A, having managed over a dozen clubs in last three decades. Ventura masterminded Torino’s rise to Serie A last season and sees his side in a relatively safe place in the table, four points above relegation zone. He would be encouraged by how well his team played against an in-form Fiorentina side last weekend, a team which themselves had troubled Juventus the most this season.
Interestingly, Torino utilizes the 4-2-4 system, the same system that is often believed to have been introduced by Il Grande Torino side and which was Antonio Conte’s preferred formation when he started his Juventus tenure. Against Fiorentina, Torino started with Mario Santna and Alessio Cerci upfront. They flanked the striker pairing of Meggiorini and Bianchi. The advanced wingers pushed back Fiorentina full-backs aggressively from the start as a result of which Torino got a massive advantage over the Viola on the flanks. Meggiorini on the other hand dropped deeper and dragged Ruben Oliviera with him, creating more gaps in Fiorentina defence. Torino’s tactics almost worked as Fiorentina looked to be heading for their first loss since early October but finally held on for a 2-2 draw.
Torino are unlikely to try out such an aggressive style of play in Juventus stadium but they will be once again looking to stretch Juventus on the wing. Juventus usually play a high line of defence with wing-backs pushing along the flanks. This means there is often space left behind the wing-backs which Juve’s three man defense has to be very careful about.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-4): Gillet; Darmian, Glik, Ogbonna, D’Ambrosio; Basha, Gazzi; Cerci, Bianchi, Meggiorini, Santana
Juventus lead the all-time Derby Della Mole chart having won 91 games compared to Torino’s 72. 62 matches have ended in draws.
Juventus have not lost the Turin derby since 1995.
Juventus are the most attacking team in Serie A with 29 goals scored and 18 shots per game, both highest in the league.
Torino have the 4th best defensive record in Serie A till now.
Player to Watch Out For
Mirko Vucinic (Juventus)
The Montenegrin had a good start to the season but his form has dropped steadily in past few rounds. Vucinic is still getting actively involved in overall game play of Juventus but he hasn’t been scoring goals as frequently as he should. It is important for Juventus’ campaign that he recovers his scoring touch and this game might be a perfect platform for that.
Angelo Ogbonna (Torino)
Few expected the highly rated central defender to play in Torino this season after a number of clubs including Juventus were linked with him. The 24 year old has been more or less solid in the heart of Torino defence and is likely to have a busy time when he faces Juventus.
Juventus 3-0 Torino
In the end, this encounter will be won and lost on the flanks. Juventus will be looking to bounce back quickly after their loss to AC Milan and their city neighbours are likely to face a highly motivated Bianconeri. This will be the first Derby Della Mole in Juventus stadium so the home fans are also likely to play a big role in this encounter.