Stadio Olimpico, Turin
September 29th 2013, 10:30 GMT kick-off
The City of Turin will be divided come Derby Day. Torino welcome their city rivals Juventus on Sunday for the Derby Della Mole. You don’t have to dig too deep to find Juventus’ last victory against Il Toro. The Serie A Champions did the double on their neighbours last season with an aggregate score-line of 5-0. Torino, on the other hand, have struggled to get the better of Juventus and you’d have to go back 18 years to meet their last victory against the Bianconeri.
Juventus have started the season in just the fashion that was expected of them. Unbeaten, and two points off leaders, Roma, they sit in 4th place on league standings. As for Torino, they’ve started their season on a positive note as well. Two draws, two wins and a solitary loss against Atalanta is the only blemish on an otherwise solid beginning. The Granata occupy 8th place in the league charts.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Manager Giampiero Ventura has been in many ways a mentor to his opposite number. Antonio Conte modeled his 4-2-4 formation on Ventura’s philosophy. Ventura, ironically enough, has now shifted tactics to a 3-5-2 system, one that emulates, none other than Conte’s. It’s this change in formation that has perhaps catalyzed their great start. It certainly will receive credit for two of the most flourishing players in the system: Alessio Cerci and Danilo D’Ambrosio.
Cerci who has been an inconsistent talent for most of his career, is firmly laying a claim for a spot in Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad for the World Cup. Cerci has been shifted into the centre as a floater in behind the team’s prima punta. That freedom to invent and navigate has brought out the best in him. With 5 goals, he’s the surprising leader of the goal-scoring table. The other revelation has been Danilo D’Ambrosio. The wing-back has seen his potential exploited in his new role that has perhaps relieved a bit of his defensive duties. They are the threats Conte will highlight for his side to be wary of.
Torino could take encouragement from the teams that have set out to hold fort against Juventus. Set-pieces will obviously be something Ventura will instruct his team to target as a means to obtain a goal but you’d expect them to sit back and hit the Bianconeri on the break. Cerci’s excellent form bodes well for Torino and he will be at the heart of all things good that the Granata have to offer.
Only Marcelo Larrondo is injured for Ventura’s men.
Possible Starting XI (3-5-2): Padelli; Darmian, Bovo, Moretti; D’Ambrosio, Basha, Vives, El Kaddouri, Pasquale; Cerci, Immobile
Recent games have seen Juventus do just enough to get over the finishing line. Against Chievo, they did have lady luck on their side with a goal wrongly disallowed for the Flying Donkeys coupled with an own goal that gave them the three points. With the rotation policy employed by Conte, he’d be content with the victories coming by. On the flip-side though, their propensity to concede first is not something Conte will be pleased with. Their character and famous fighting spirit comes to the fore here but they’ll be wishing they didn’t make things hard for themselves to begin with.
The rotation is set to continue with Conte expected to reintroduce Tevez, Vidal, Vucinic, Lichtsteiner, Asamoah and Bonucci to the playing eleven. Juventus may have an eye on the crucial Champions League game in midweek against Galatasaray and with that in mind, a few players might be rested. Andrea Pirlo is one such player.
The former Milan man has attracted criticism for his slack start to the season and as such could be ‘benched’ or ‘rested’, as you please. What that does is allow us to get a look at the highly intense midfield trio of Vidal-Pogba-Marchisio; three players with high energy levels that make for a pulsating prospect.
Pepe, Rubinho and Caceres are not included in the travelling Juventus squad.
Possible Starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio, Asamoah; Tevez, Vucinic
Player To Watch Out For
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
No player knows the true meaning of a local derby more than, well, a player that was born and brought up in the City. Claudio Marchisio is one such player. The Prince of Turin has come through the ranks at Juventus and is a symbol of the club. He’s someone who is fully aware of the magnitude of the derby and one that often rises to the occasion. Marchisio has yet to make an impact this season but what better way than against rivals, Torino.
Torino 1-2 Juventus
Juventus will begin the game as favorites as their sheer quality tips the scale in their favor. Conte rightly noted that form goes out the window in derbies. The element of passion comes into play. History, of course, certainly points towards Juventus and you’d expect the Bianconeri to emerge from this game with a hard fought slender win.