Juventus Stadium, Turin
Saturday 31st Oct, 2015, 20:45 GMT
The season went from bad to worse for reigning champions Juventus as they went down 1-0 against Sassuolo on Wednesday evening. Already 11 points behind league leaders Roma, the Bianconeri should realistically give up their goal of a fifth consecutive Scudetto and focus on qualifying for the Champions league next season even though it seems a difficult task already after just 10 games.
A team that dominated and controlled games with discipline and efficiency have officially gone missing now. While tactical understanding seems like an impossible dream now, the team is failing to perform simple tasks like stringing two proper passes together, maintaining possession and keeping shots on target. Max Allegri’s team selections have raised a few eyebrows as his decision to rest experienced German international Sami Khedira on Wednesday was surprising to say the least with Claudio Marchisio down with flu. Rotation is no doubt required in a long grueling season but when players play with continuity they begin to understand the role, and learn from their previous mistakes. Players are not expected to come to terms with the requirements of a particular role and adapt to the team’s patterns of play, when so much tinkering is done with the first team squad. The outcome in Sassuolo, Juve’s fourth loss in Serie A, has left the defending Italian champions 12th in the standings with 12 points from 10 games.
The situation has prompted the management to send the team to a training retreat before Saturday’s game. A decisive week for the club begins with the arrival of city rivals Torino followed by a trip to Germany to face the resurgent Borussia M nchengladbach. The situation is so dire that victories in both games is a must to lift the gloom around the club, following a nearly historic year for the Old Lady last season. Even though this fixture might not sizzle with the electricity of clashes like the Milan or Rome Derby, it is a passionate rivalry that spans over many years. Juventus were the city’s first team formed by a group of students in 1897 while Torino were formed nine years later from a faction led by Alfred Dick. Both these clubs have taken their turns to dominate football on the peninsula and the 232nd Derby della Mole has greater importance this year, as Torino are three points and also three places above their famous neighbours. Torino won the derby for the first time in 20 years last season thanks to a match-winning display from Matteo Darmian. A similar result will surely plunge Juventus into a deeper crisis ahead of their crucial Champions League fixture.
Team news and tactical brief
Having seemingly turned the corner after a dismal start to the season, Juventus once again stumbled in midweek as they suffered their fourth defeat in 10 games. There is little time to recover from this blow as they welcome Torino in the first derby this season. Both Gigi Buffon and Patrice Evra feel the players should show more responsibility on the pitch as well as respect the value of the shirt. Juventus have failed to win two games in a row this season and are already 11 points behind the leaders.
Giorgio Chiellini’s suspension means Martin Caceres is likely to play on the right side of the defence. Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala should retain their places with Alvaro Morata replacing Mario Mandzukic as the striker. Roberto Pereyra and Kwado Asamoah remain sidelined with injuries.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3):Buffon(Gk); Caceres, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra; Khedira, Marchisio, Pogba; Cuadrado, Dybala, Morata.
Torino had a good start to the season but have not won in the last four. Away from home they have only won against a lowly Frosinone. Yet they arrive in this game with a three point lead over their rivals, which is a rare situation. The injuries to Nikola Maksimovic and Danilo Avelar have hurt the Granata, while Fabio Quagliarella’s barren spell in front of goal has also been an issue.
The 3-5-2 module as usual will be a stout organized group with the experienced backline of Kamil Glik, Nicola Moretti and Cesare Bovo. Marco Benassi and Daniele Baselli will make sure the midfield keeps the game ticking, as Giuseppe Vives is likely to protect the defence. Maxi Lopez is the favourite over Belotti, at this stage, to partner Quagliarella. Bruno Peres was rested in midweek so he is definitely going to start on Saturday.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2): Padelli(Gk); Bovo, Glik, Moretti; Bruno Peres, Benassi, Vives, Baselli, Molinaro; Maxi Lopez, Quagliarella.
- Torino’s win in this clash last April put an end to Juventus’ seven-game consecutive winning streak in the Turin derby.
- Prior to that game, Juve had been unbeaten in 17 consecutive derbies against Torino in Serie A (13W, 4D).
- Torino found the net in both derbies played last season, after failing to score in 10 games in a row against Juve in the league.
Players to Watch Out For
Patrice Evra (Juventus)
Evra was superb last year after moving from Manchester United. Tactically he allowed Allegri to switch to a back four but the most impressive attribute he brought to the team was his leadership. There is little doubt that this Juventus team has quality. However, it is the attitude on the pitch that is letting them down. On Saturday, the derby will require characters to overcome this dismal start. Allegri should look no further than ‘Uncle Pat’ to lead from the front, as this young team looks to start a positive run till Christmas.
Marco Benassi (Torino)
Torino beat Inter Milan in a blind auction for Marco Benassi this summer. The Italy U-21 international has been a major influence in Torino’s positive start to the season. He will have a crucial role in the middle of the park as midfield has proven to be the weakest link in Juventus’ team in this season so far. If Benassi can start the game on a positive note, Torino will have a chance to claim a historic win at their rival’s home for the first time in over 20 years.
Juventus 1a 1 Torino
With both teams desperate for all three points, this promises to be an intriguing battle between two rivals, particularly as Juventus are on the brink of a crisis and simply have to get a positive result.
Blast From the Past
Andrea Pirlo scored a sensational last-gasp winner as Juventus defeated Torino 2-1 in the Derby della Mole last season.