November 10th, 19:45 GMT kick-off
After their extraordinary unbeaten streak came to an end against Inter, Juventus have responded and in just the manner that Conte was looking for. The midweek Champions League game was a crucial one for the Bianconeri and the victory was just what the doctor ordered as they shrugged off Nordsjaelland to keep their hopes of a qualification alive. It was perhaps the most dominating Juventus performance we’ve seen this campaign. What they did manage to do was channel the anger caused by losing at home to Inter onto the field and to their benefit.
The defeat to Inter though still leaves them at the top of the table with barely any breathing space as the Nerazzurri are on their tail with just a single point behind the champions. Back to business in the league, they face a Pescara outfit – a far cry from Zdenek Zeman’s Serie B conquering one. Pescara have struggled this season as many have predicted they would. The obvious goal for them this season, is survival but that, of course, is easier said than done. They languish in 14th position, three points above the drop zone.
Team News and Tactical Brief
The Delfini look shades away from the side that demolished records on their way to glory in Serie B last season. It was never going to be easy making the jump into Italy’s top-tier even less so when you lose four elements that were crucial to their success. Ciro Immobile, Marco Verratti, Lorenzo Insigne and coach Zdenek Zeman have moved on to greener pastures and they evidently, Pescara have found it a bit difficult to replace them.
Giovanni Stroppa’s side have been feeling the heat as new-comers in Serie A, recording just three wins this campaign. They have struggled in attack, having boasted of the best in Serie B last season; they now have the most impotent strike-force, statistically speaking, in Serie A. The home side, though are coming off a morale boosting win against Parma, a win that perhaps even saved Stroppa’s job at the helm of Pescara.
The manager is expected to deploy a 3-5-2 formation mirroring Antonio Conte’s. In goal, they have one of Italy’s most promising players in Mattia Perin. The man on loan from Genoa has garnered interest from a host of top sides following solid displays in goal. Christian Terlizzi is out for the Delfini through injury and will be missed in defence. The back three will consist of Cosic, Capuano and Bocchetti.
Midfield remains key to any hope of success from this game Pescara may harbor. In Juan Quintero, they have one of the most outstanding young players in the league. Quintero has been their most creative outlet this term and his impact has been such that Milan, Juventus and a host of other top sides are touted as possible destinations for the player in the future. Captain Cascione will be the anchor-man in midfield and will sit just in front of the back-three while Zanon and Modesto will offer width down either flank. Abbruscato will lead the attack alongside towering striker Jonathas. Expect Vladimir Weiss to feature at some point during this game. His pace, trickery and direct running could cause Juventus a few headaches. Juventus Juventus Juventus
Crescenzi, Savelloni, Brugman, Colucci and Blasi are all on the treatment table for Pescara.
Having fielded his strongest eleven against Nordsjaelland, Antonio Conte could opt to rotate his squad for this game. The fixture list is a tough one and doesn’t make for pleasant reading for Conte with games against Lazio, Chelsea, Milan, Torino and Shakhtar all on the horizon. Champions League qualification rests firmly in Juventus’ hands with 4 points the target, out of the 6 available.
During midweek, Juventus were at their frightening best and outplayed Nordsjaelland on every single area of the field. The defence looked untroubled and at ease as the midfield dictated proceedings. Conte is expected to stick to his 3-5-2 formation with a few changes from the side that was deployed against the Danish side. Juventus Juventus Juventus
Stephan Lichtsteiner and Mirko Vucinic should return to the set-up and could replace Mauricio Isla and Alessandro Matri respectively. Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Pirlo could be given a precautionary rest as both are a booking away from suspension and risk the possibility of missing out on the Lazio game. Arturo Vidal is expected to retain his place in midfield. The Chilean dynamo has recovered his form and is finally looking the player who set Serie A on fire last season. After a slow start to the campaign, Vidal has found his feet with three goals in his last three appearances.
Attack remains Juventus Achilles’ heel and often the scoring exploits of the midfield have bailed out what is an obvious weakness in the Juventus machine. Alessandro Matri is low on confidence and just couldn’t find the back of the net despite various attempts. He could be relegated to the bench. Fabio Quagliarella’s goal has certainly allowed him to stake a claim for a starting spot although Mirko Vucinic is expected to spearhead the attack alongside diminutive forward Sebastian Giovinco.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon(GK); Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Giovinco, Vucinic
Player To Watch Out For
Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus)
The Atomic Ant has had his detractors this season following his return to Juventus. On occasions he has delivered on his massive potential while at certain moments he leaves a lot to be desired. Fans were optimistic that his arrival could help Juventus unlock the defenses of provincial outfits who seemed content at sitting back and defending. Against Pescara, another opportunity should present itself for him to showcase his talents and build on his midweek goal.
Pescara 0 – 3 Juventus
The home side have the most daunting of tasks in front of them and Juventus start the game off as heavy favorites. The odds are heavily stacked against Pescara and Juventus will be looking to get back to winning ways in the league. Expect a goal-fest with most or all of the goals coming from the champions.
Blast From The Past