Juventus Stadium, Turin
Wednesday 9th Nov, 2014, 14:00 GMT
Juventus come into their game against Parma this weekend looking to extend their incredible run of consecutive home league wins to 24. After some poor recent results, Juventus will be looking to get a victory against bottom of table Parma before the international break. Their displays in Europe have left much to be desired so far hence the three vital points secured against Olympiacos was of great significance. Max Allegri’s men switch their focus to domestic matters now with Parma’s visit to the Juventus stadium on Sunday.
If Juventus have been struggling, Roberto Donadoni’s Parma are genuinely in crisis and are currently in 19th position in the league table. Last Saturday’s win over Inter Milan was only their second win this season, having lost eight other fixtures. The Ducali have been decimated by injuries this term but they have performed admirably against the big clubs namely Milan, Napoli and Inter. Both teams will be looking to build on their most recent victory ahead of the international break.
Team news and tactical brief
Massimiliano Allegri went with a back four in Juventus’ narrow Champions League win in midweek and the same is expected to continue here as well. Andrea Barzagli, Martin Caceres and Luca Marrone are all out with in injuries and Angelo Ogbonna looks like he might not be fit in time for the game tonight. Stephan Lichtsteiner admitted that he felt equally comfortable in both the modules of back three or four and he is expected to start at right back. Leonardo Bonucci has played every single minute of this season while his centre-back partner Giorgio Chiellini has been struggling on the pitch recently. Chiellini has looked uncharacteristically shaky this season which has led to sloppy goals being conceded by Juventus. Kwado Asaomoah aggravated his thigh injury midweek and is expected to be out for two weeks. Allegri has no other options but to use Simone Padoin as a makeshift leftback with Partice Evra out with a muscle injury as well.
Arturo Vidal’s suspension and Andrea Pirlo’s injury means that the Bianconeri will line-up with Paul Pogba, Romulo and Claudio Marchisio in the middle while new Argentine signing Roberto Pereyra is likely to start as a trequartista. Peryera is essentially a mezzala but he has been used previously as a playmaker by Udinese manager Francesco Guidolin. If the versatile Argentine does not click in this new role then Allegri is expected to change to a trident of Carlos Tevez with two Spaniards Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Morata. Llorente, who made a decisive impact after coming on as a sub in midweek, looks likely to get the nod over Morata for this game. But he is expected to play some part later in the second half. Carlos Tevez has already scored six times this season and he will be looking to get on the score-sheet tonight before returning to the Argentine national team after a gap of nearly three years.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Buffon(GK); Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Bonucci, Padoin; Romulo, Pogba, Marchisio; Pereyra; Tevez, Llorente
Parma boast the worst defensive record in Serie A. The 21 goals they have conceded so far is three more than any other side in the division. Roberto Donadoni’s side have looked flat and uninspiring in most of the games this season. They finished seventh last year and certainly were not expected to be involved in the relegation dogfight. It is difficult to imagine them getting out of this soon particularly with injuries to so many key players. Mattia Cassani and Gabriel Paletta were two major players in defence last season but both have succumbed to long-term injuries. Alessandro Lucarelli has shown signs of an ageing defender while his partners in the three man defence haven’t looked good either. Antonio Mirante kept his only clean sheet of this campaign last week against Inter but he is a strong presence in the Parma goal.
Wingbacks Andrea Rispoli and Paolo De Ceglie were excellent last week and De Ceglie , in particular, will be looking to prove a point against his former side. Summer signing Francesco Lodi has failed to add anything to Donadoni’s system but 18-year-old Jose Mauri has really turned out to be a solid player. Donadoni had little to no options in midfield and was forced to field the youngster but Mauri has responded very well on the pitch so far. Upfront the pair of Antonio Cassano and Ishak Belfodil have looked toothless mainly because of Belfodil’s sluggish form. Parma will be looking to exploit Juventus’ weakness in set-piece situations but apart from that they have very to little to offer in the final third.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Mirante(GK); Costa, Lucarelli, Mendes; Rispoli, Lodi, Acquah, Mauri, De Ceglie; Cassano, Belfodil
Juventus have won their last 23 home matches in Serie A
Juventus have kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 8 home matches in Serie A
Juventus have scored at least 2 goals in their last 5 home matches in Serie A
Juventus have won their last 3 home matches against Parma in all competitions
Parma have lost their last 3 away matches in Serie A
Pirlo has scored 8 goals in the league against Parma – at least 4 more than against any other Serie A side
Players to Watch Out For
Paul Pogba (Juventus)
Paul Labile Pogba had a tough start to this season and some below par displays on the field did not help him either during this tough phase.But the goal against Sassuolo lifted his spirits and he is riding high on confidence after scoring the crucial winner against Olympiacos midweek.
Antonio Cassano (Parma)
Antonio Cassano will be the key man for Parma again. The enigmatic fantasista has scored five of his side’s 13 league goals this season .Blessed with great technique and imagination, the 32-year-old will be essential part of Parma’s attempts to gain a point or three tonight.
Juventus 2–1 Parma
Juventus have recently gained three points in the title race against Roma and won a crucial match in the Champions League, so morale is high ahead of the last match before the international break. Parma registered their first victory of this season last week but the situation is still difficult and so they are expected to play for a draw and keep picking up points while waiting for easier fixtures later.
Blast From the Past
Carlos Tevez scored a first-half brace to end Parma’s 17-match unbeaten run last year to reestablish a 14-point advantage over Roma at the summit of Serie A in March 2014 last season.