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JUVENTUS

v

GENOA

Juventus Stadium, Turin
Sunday 22nd Feb, 2015, 14:00 GMT

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Sunday afternoon will see Juventus welcome Genoa, as they look to avenge their only loss of the season. Massimiliano Allegri’s men can be forgiven if they don’t look entirely motivated against Genoa on Sunday. After their triumph in Dortmund midweek to reach the Champions League quarterfinals and a comfortable 14 point lead atop the Serie A table, the most difficult part of Allegri’s job for the remainder of the season may be keeping his side focused on the task at hand. However, considering the club have only attained four straight Scudetti once in their history, the feat should provide all the inspiration Juventus need to see out the remainder of the Serie A campaign. Allegri will look to utilize his deep bench and give some playing time to those who haven’t seen much of it in recent weeks. The Bianconeri will not have it easy on Sunday though, as they take on a rested Genoa side looking to do the double over them this season. Genoa had a brilliant start to the campaign, but have only managed to win two games since beating Milan on December 7th. Despite their struggles though, they remain in eighth place and in the hunt for a European spot next season.

Team news and tactical brief

Juventus

Juve have in their ranks two ex-Genoa players in Stefano Sturaro and Alessandro Matri who both enjoyed fruitful spells in Liguria but neither is expected to feature against their former employer. The Old Lady have the luxury of a 14-point lead at the top of the table and will be able to rest some of the more jaded players and still put out an extremely strong side. The Bianconeri were dealt some bad news when it was reported that Paul Pogba will be out for 50 days after coming off injured in Germany during the week. Pogbaa s withdrawal through injury forced Massimiliano Allegri into the bold move of returning to a three-man defence after having abandoned it in favour of a four-man version earlier in the season. The Frenchmana s absence also reduces the likelihood of the game going down in folklore for a long-range screamer.

It is expected that Juve will face Genoa with three at the back and Andrea Barzagli is expected to stay in the side following his return from injury. Romulo, Kwando Asamoah, Kingsley Coman, Andrea Pirlo, Luca Marrone and Martin Caceres all remain out injured for Juventus. The Pogba-shaped hole in Juvea s midfield will increase the focus on Roberto Pereyra who has done a good job as a utility man and his speed allows him to quickly link midfield with the attack so it will be interesting to see if he can keep making the most of his opportunities. Juventus have one suspension with Alvaro Morata obliged to sit out and Fernando Llorente is expected to start in his place.

Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2):Buffon(Gk);Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichsteiner, Pereyra, Marchisio, Vidal, Evra; Llorente, Tevez

Juventus Genoa

Genoa

Genoa travel to Turin having suffered their first defeat in six games last weekend when losing 2-0 at home to Chievo. The result was disappointing for Gian Piero Gasperini’s squad, but despite an alarming loss of form at the turn of the year, they can still claim a European spot providing that they make use of their game in hand. Striker Marco Borriello could be in contention to start after featuring as a half-time substitute last weekend. The visitors will be looking to get vital points as theya ve faded recently in the race for the Europa League and they sit eight points off fifth place. Genoa will have to play their strongest side but recent form has been stuttering and Juventus Stadium is not a place where many escape downwards spirals.

Genoa have two important players out suspended in the form of the Venezualan midfielder Tomas Rincon and Spanish attacking midfielder Iago Falque. The Grifone will also be without the elegant playmaker Tino Costa and Turin-born, former Juve player Lorenzo Ariaudo. In October, a 94th-minute winner from Luca Antonini proved enough to earn Genoa a famous win at Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, and it remains Juve’s only setback of an otherwise dominant league campaign. Genoa was the surprise of Serie A during the first half of the campaign and even climbed as high as third at one point. However, only two victories since mid-December has seen their dreams of European football fade away and Genoa face a battle to preserve a top-half finish. A three-match winless run has seen Gian Piero Gasperini’s side drop to seventh, with 11th-placed Palermo only two points behind. Defeat in Turin could see them tumble further down the table. Genoa are without the suspended duo of Iago Falque and Tomas Rincon, while M’Baye Niang is a doubt through injury.

Probable Starting Line-up (3-4-3):Perin(Gk);Roncaglia, Burdisso, De Maio; Edenilson, Kucka, Bertolacci, Bergdich; Lestienne, Perotti, Niang

Key Facts

  • Juventus have won 56 times and scored 196 goals against Genoa in Serie A a more than any other side.
  • In the reverse fixture in the first part of the season, Genoa won their first match against Juventus in Serie A since April 2009.
  • Genoaa s last win away to Juventus in the top-flight came in January 1991: since then, they have lost eight times and drawn three times.
  • Juventus are unbeaten in their last 18 Serie A fixtures (W12 D6): their last defeat came against Genoa in the reverse fixture.
  • Juventus have conceded 14 goals so far, five fewer than last season after 27 match-days.Only Bayern Munich (17) have kept more clean sheets than Juventus (15) across the top-five European leagues this term.
  • Juventus have not lost any of their last 41 Serie A games at home, winning 37 of these.
  • Prior to their home defeat against Chievo, Genoa were unbeaten in five Serie A fixtures (W2 D3).
  • Moreover, the Bianconeri have scored in each of their last 44 league fixtures at the Juventus Stadium.
  • Juventus have not lost any of their last 41 Serie A games at home, winning 37 of these.

Players to Watch Out For

Alessandro Matri (Juventus)

When Genoa beat Juventus back on October 29th, Matri provided the crucial assist on Luca Antonini’s game winner. Less than six months later, Matri finds himself on the opposite side. Given that his team travelled to Germany on Wednesday, it wona t be a surprise to see Allegri use Matri in this game.

Mattia Perin (Genoa)

Probably one of the first instances of Mattia Perin showcasing his talent was at his time on loan during Pescara. His buzzy nature in the penalty area could have been interpreted as the sign of a nervous young player but that is his style. Back at his parent club Genoa for last season, Perin has cemented his place as one of the best shot-stoppers in Italy. Slowly garnering a reputation as one of the best young keepers in the world, one would feel that it is not long before Perin gets a big club move.

Prediction

Juventus 1a 1 Genoa

Juventus had a terrific night in Dortmund, where they won 3-0 and progressed to the Champions League quarterfinals. With a 14-point gap in the domestic league, all they need to care about right now are the cups. Genoa’s plan to catch Sampdoria (given the game they have in hand) was halted last week as Chievo managed to beat them. Morale for these teams will be hugely contrasting, with Juventus high on spirit and Genoa may feel as if they have missed a good chance to close in on the European spots. Juve are also at home and could have the support of a big crowd that will gather to celebrate after the victory in Germany, and for these reasons it will not be easy for Genoa.

Blast From the Past

First-half goals from Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tevez ensured Juventus got back to winning ways after a stunning 4-2 loss against Fiorentina in 2013.