Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Turin
28.04.2013, 13:00 GMT kick-off
It’s derby day in Turin! And it’s more than just a matter of bragging rights at this business end of the season. The Derby Della Mole seldom fails to loft up memorable moments. Two teams that have been locked in conflict and remain bitter rivals face each other on Sunday night in Serie A’s main event. For Torino, it’s a matter of survival while for Juventus, a win could seal the Scudetto for them. It may also make the champions nostalgic when they return to the Olimpico, a stadium they called home for many years.
An exciting and heated contest, the Turin derby has a lot on the line this time around. Torino will be looking for revenge as they were put to the sword with authority in the reverse fixture. Juventus put three past their neighbors in what was a routine victory for them. Juventus would lick their lips at the prospect of winning the Scudetto on their former stomping ground and a win against their traditional rivals would just be the icing on the cake.
Team News and Tactical Brief
The Granata are 7 points above the dreaded drop zone but haven’t yet mathematically secured their Serie A status. It has all gone downhill recently for Giampiero Ventura’s men as they have recorded just one point in their past four games. To his relief though, the points they have under their belt gives them a six point cushion over fellow relegation threatened outfit, Siena.
Ventura will stick with his elastic 4-2-4 formation. Brighi is out injured while Darmian and Vives will have to sit this one out on account of suspension. Ventura’s formation is heavily dependent on bringing out the best of his wide men. Cerci and Santana have been key players for Torino this season. The former has undergone a renaissance which earned him a call up to Prandelli’s national team. While his talent is beyond doubt, he is equally capable of going missing for spells during games. If not for his ridiculous hair-do, he wouldn’t be too hard to miss when he’s really off his game. Nevertheless, with 6 goals and 7 assists to his credit, he remains the most dangerous outlet for the home side.
Expect Torino to sit back and absorb Juventus’ pressure and try to break at them on the counter. The two wide advanced wingers should find space behind the Juventus wing-backs. The two central midfielders – Gazzi and Basha – have a herculean task ahead of them as try to stifle the Juventus midfield. Their constant running in every direction and their ability to negate the influence of Juventus’ midfielders will go a long way in deciding the outcome of this game.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-4): Gillet(GK); D’Ambrosio, Glik, Ogbonna, Masiello; Basha, Gazzi; Cerci, Bianchi, Barreto, Santana
Juventus will head into this game with the knowledge of whether they can conquer the Scudetto during the weekend. Napoli play a day before the Bianconeri and any slip-up on their part would offer the reigning Champions to successfully defend their title. Although, it is a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ for Juventus, they would prefer to wrap it up as quickly as possible.
Antonio Conte is expected to field his recently favored 3-5-1-1; a formation that is still in its infant stage. With similar results – two wins out of two – but contrasting performances, taking a call on it may seem a bit premature. For now, this maybe the best time to experiment for Juventus with the Scudetto all but in the bag. In a sense, it does allow Conte to field the best 11 players in his squad all at once. Team chemistry is not quite there yet as players adapt to different roles. What it does assure, is a heavily packed midfield, which can decide the level of control Juventus might take.
Mirko Vucinic as the lone man has probably the most difficult role of all the Juventus players. A target-man is an unfamiliar position for him yet he has to hold up the ball and feed the runners that dart into the box.
Anelka, Giovinco and Pepe are on the treatment table for Juventus.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-1-1): Buffon(GK); Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah; Marchisio; Vucinic
Player To Watch Out For
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
The darling of Juventus, Marchisio has seen a dip in his form. The new formation has brought with it a change in role for Il Principino, a role that he will take time to adjust to. Having come through the ranks of Juventus, this game will be a bit extra special for him and he will be well aware of what a win means to the fans. Marchisio is very likely to be the only player to start from Juventus who has been bought up in Turin. Expect a strong performance from him.
Torino 0-2 Juventus
Juventus are heavy favorites if the form guide is anything to go by but as is all too common knowledge, the form book does go out the window in derby games. Yet, it is hard to look past a Juventus victory for the sheer difference in quality in the two sides. The Bianconeri should come away with the three points and who knows may pop the champagne bottle and celebrate Serie A glory in their old stadium.
Blast From The Past