Stadio Artemio Franchi
October 7th, 13:00 kick-off
Antonio Conte’s former side Siena host reigning Serie A Champions Juventus at the Artemio Franchi on Sunday afternoon. Conte managed Siena for just a season, which was enough to see him achieve what he was hired for – promotion to Serie A. He then went on to join Juventus last season and the rest as they say, is history. The at Siena had its fair share of controversy, the consequences of which have impacted his current club Juventus.
Conte’s alleged involvement in the Calcioscommesse scandal meant that he was slapped with a 10 month touchline ban. The ban has since been reduced to 4 months implying Conte will be available on the 9th of December when Juventus travel to Sicily to face Palermo. Siena, for their part, were slapped with a six points deduction which they may find hard to recover from and are certain relegation contenders.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Serse Cosmi’s side begun their campaign with a six point deduction but that hasn’t deterred them as they have enjoyed a fairly decent start to the season. Had it not been for the deduction, Siena would have found themselves in mid-table, instead they remain second from bottom in the relegation zone with two points to their name. However, they have managed to record excellent wins against Inter and Bologna.
Cosmi will field his tried and tested 3-4-2-1 formation. Siena are the underdogs going into this fixture and attacking Juventus might not be the smartest tactic to employ. They will sit back and soak up the pressure hoping to hit the champions on counter. A lot of their play revolves around striker Emanuele Calaio, who has bagged two goals this season. Owing to his huge physique, Calaio can hold up play and involve others in attack.
The duo of Alesandro Rosina and Ze Eduardo will play just behind him. Rosina, a once very promising prospect, might just be given the task of escorting Andrea Pirlo wherever the former Milan man may decide to venture and suffocating him. Defence will be marshaled by the experienced Massimo Paci who will be flanked by Neto and Felipe. The three of them will have to contain the tricky movements of the Juventus front duo. The lack of a target-man could also work to their disadvantage as they may find it difficult to pick up a striker.
Matteo Contini has been ruled out for Siena while Gaetano D’Agostino remains a doubt.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-4-2-1): Pegolo; Neto, Paci, Felipe; Sestu, Vergassola, Rodriguez, Del Grosso; Rosina, Ze Eduardo; Calaio
While Juventus completely outplayed Roma in what was their most impressive performance of the campaign so far, the Champions League game against Shakhtar was a stark contrast. The lack of home support was evident and Juventus were on the back-foot for the most part. They lacked the cutting edge they’ve shown at the Juventus Stadium against a highly technical opposition. The Ukranian Champions were comfortable in possession and constantly threatened. It was more of a point gained for Juventus than two lost.
Now back to Serie A, Siena might test the fitness levels of Conte’s side. The games are coming thick and fast for the Bianconeri and their squad depth will be questioned again and again. The manager is likely to deploy his favored 3-5-2 formation. A few changes from the team that faced Shakhtar here and there are expected without being completely overturning the starting eleven. Luca Marrone will step into the heart of defence, replacing Leo Bonucci who is suspended. Marrone’s versatility has proven handy and the youngster has shown maturity beyond his age with composed displays in back three.
Caceres and De Ceglie can replace Lichtsteiner and Asamoah. The former duo completely stretched Roma’s back-line with their marauding runs and forays into opposition territory. More of the same is what Conte will ask for against Siena as he looks to stretch the opposition. Andrea Pirlo should retain his place in the center of midfield. Pirlo of course will pull the strings and look to spread play with his vast range of passing. The maestro has looked a bit off color in a few games this season but his quality is renowned and should he hit top gear, there will be no shortage of goal-scoring chances. Up front, Mirko Vucinic is expected to be partnered by pint sized attacker Sebastian Giovinco.
Simone Pepe remains sidelined for Juventus.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Marrone, Chiellini; Caceres, Giaccherini, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Giovinco, Vucinic
- Juventus are unbeaten in 45 Serie A games.
- Siena are undefeated at home this term.
- Juventus have scored the most amount of goals in Serie A so far with 15.
Player To Watch Out For
Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus)
The Atomic Ant has blown hot and cold so far and is yet to cement his place as a Juventus starter. Fans still remain on the fence with his signing and whether he will really inject any quality into a fairly lackluster Juventus attack. He will get the chance against Siena to prove his detractors wrong and show himself to be worthy of the famous Bianconeri colors.
Siena 0-2 Juventus
The home side might just fancy their chances against a Juventus side coming off an exhausting few weeks. But the Bianconeri have quality in abundance and it is this very quality that should spur them on to another victory in Serie A. The game will be tight in its initial stages with Siena doing most of the running but Juventus should come out comfortable winners at the end of the day.
Blast From The Past