Juventus Stadium, Turin
Thursday 25th Sept, 2014
Juventus host newly promoted Romagna based side Cesena on Wednesday at the Juventus stadium in Turin. The start of the season has been solid so far for new head coach Massimilliano Allegri with Juventus claiming 9 points in 3 games without conceding a goal. A professional display saw them grab a vital win away at the San Siro last Saturday and Allegri will be hoping to keep up the winning run in this busy schedule of games. The two sides met earlier this season in a friendly which ended 0-0 but it would be a big surprise if Cesena manage to get anything out of this game.
Cesena come into this game as one of the weakest teams in this division. They lack significant quality in their roster and survival would be a miracle for them this season. The Seahorses started well with a win in their opening game but have struggled since then. Team manager Pierpaolo Bisoli understands the magnitude of the task ahead of him and is likely to setup his team to grab a draw which will be a massive point for them even at this early stage of the season. But how far that is achievable is a question that will be answered tomorrow night at the Juventus stadium.
Team news and tactical brief
Juventus have more or less settled on a 3-5-2 formation this season with their head coach Massimilliano Allegri recently pointing out that without Andrea Barzagli it is almost impossible to switch to a back four. Barzagli was not summoned against Milan but he will be on the bench for this game. Martin Caceres picked up an injury against Milan so Giorgio Chiellini, Angelo Ogbonna and Leonardo Bonucci are expected to start on Wednesday. Patrice Evra started on the bench against Milan but he should be the holder on the left flank for this game while summer signing Romulo is likely to get his debut on Wednesday night as the right fullback.
Arturo Vidal looked very confident on the pitch against Milan but Allegri will have one eye on the Champions League game so it is most likely that Roberto Pereyra will deputize for the Chilean. Andrea Pirlo is still nursing his knee injury so Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio should continue to run the show in the middle of the park. Upfront finally it will be the much awaited debut of new recruit Alvaro Morata. His cameos as a sub were impressive enough to suggest that he can add quality to an already strong team. Alongside him the relentless Apache Carlitos Tevez will be looking to continue his explosive start to the new season.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon(GK); Chiellini, Bonucci, Ogbonna; Romulo, Pogba, Pereyra, Marchisio, Evra; Tevez, Morata
Cesena have had an indifferent start to the season although they won their first game at home. They would be immensely disappointed to throw away a 2 goal lead against Empoli on Saturday. Bisoli is known to rotate his players throughout the season while he never settles on a single formation for the entire season. The first three games of the season have been more of a 4-3-1-2 module which is likely to continue here as well although the team will be more defensive on Wednesday. On loan Juventus keeper Nicola Leali will be guarding the goal with experienced central back pair Massimo Volta and Stefano Lucchini in front of him. Daniele Capelli will be handed the task to check the right side of the defence while Francesco Renzetti will be on the opposite flank.
The flat 3man midfield lacks creativity but that won’t be a concern for Bisoli as their main aim would be to stifle the free flowing Juventus midfield and offer little space for them to work. Keeping that in mind, experienced customer Emmanuel Cascione is a safe bet to drive the team from the heart of the midfield. Rest of the load will be distributed between Manuel Coppola and Brazilian Ze Eduardo. On paper these names do not look likely to cause any trouble but teams sitting deep and packing the defence have posed problems to Juventus previously and one feels they would require an early goal to settle themselves better. Franco Brienza will be the playmaker in Bisoli’s lineup whose main job would be to keep an eye on Claudio Marchisio who will operate as a regista. Apart from this, he will be looking to feed the two frontmen Guido Marilungo and Alejandro Rodriguez.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Leali(GK); Capelli, Volta, Lucchini, Renzetti; Cascione, Coppola, Ze Eduardo; Brienza; Marilungo, Rodriguez
Players to Watch Out For
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)
In absence of two protagonists in midfield Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo, doubts were raised how Juventus would cope in their absence. But all those doubts were comprehensively quashed and Claudio Marchisio deserves a special mention for this. Although Juventus have not yet lined up against a very strong midfield till now, but the ease with which Marchisio has slotted in the regista position is praiseworthy. His goal against Udinese was typical of him and he is expected to be the driving force once again on Wednesday night.
Nicola Leali (Cesena)
Standing at 6’2’’, Nicola Leali will be an important factor in Cesena’s quest for survival this season. Leali himself will be looking to impress his parent club on Wednesday. This is his first season in the top flight and his abilities will be fully tested as he has a pretty weak defence in front of him. A good show in Turin will further strengthen his position as one of the most promising goalkeepers in the peninsula.
Juventus 2–0 Cesena
The games are coming thick and fast and although the busy fixture list might be a headache for Massimilliano Allegri yet this game should not cause any trouble. A relatively easy 2-0 win is expected for the Bianconeri.
Blast From the Past
Juventus ran out comfortable 2-0 winners last time these two sides met in 2011 thanks to goals from Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal.