Match Preview Serie A

Chievo Verona vs Juventus Match Preview and Scouting

January 30, 2016 - 7:13 am


Chievo v Juventus

Serie A Week 22 –  Sunday, 30th January – 11:30 GMT – Stadio Bentegodi



On Wednesday, Juventus basically secured the qualification to the Coppa Italia final with a commanding 3-0 victory over Inter at the Stadium. The team was a bit sloppy in the first half, but still created some good chances and scored; it was instead masterful in the second half, where it took advantage of an undermanned Inter to seal the deal and secure itself a friendly in March in the second leg. It was Juventus’ 14 win in a row in all competitions.

The best news coming out of the Inter bout was obviously Alvaro Morata breaking his drought. I think that the Spaniard was still effective on the pitch, he was not playing too selfishly or seeking the goal too insistently. However, you could see that it was getting into his head as he missed some easy chances, probably because he was overeager in the box. Hopefully, goals will now come in bunches for him, because Juventus will need them.

As a matter of fact, after the game there were some bad news too: Mario Mandzukic will miss a month because of a calf injury and Kwadwo Asamoah will be sidelined for two-three weeks with an hamstring ailment. At this point, Mandzukis is set to miss the first leg against Bayern Munich, but I would not rule out a quicker recovery than the initial timetable, considering his grit and tenacity. It is the second time that the Croatian striker gets injured in a match where he showed no signs of physical problems, which says a lot about his pain tolerance. The Asamoah injury is frustrating because these hiccups continue to set him back when he is given a little of playing time, luckily Juventus is deep in the midfield and should not miss him.

I do not think that the management will make a move to replace Mandzukic, even though Fabio Quagliarella, Giampaolo Pazzini and maybe Alessandro Matri are very available, nor they should. Giuseppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici are after several talented several Serie B strikers, Gianluca Lapadula, Ante Budimir, Filip Raicevic and Simone Ganz, likely to stash them and see if one blossoms, but I do not foresee a scenario where they bring one in to groom him. For one reason or another, their respective teams sorely need them now.

Against Chievo Verona, Juventus will seek the 12th consecutive win in Serie A to pressure Napoli that plays later that day. I personally hope for a good performance because I will make my annual trip to Verona to see the team in person. Here is a stat: we have always won in the matches I witnessed to (4-0, three against Chievo Verona and one against Shamrock Rovers).

Patrice Evra is disqualified for this game, so it is Alex Sandro time, which also means that Stephen Lichsteiner will play on the other flank, especially since Juan Cuadrado played in the midweek match. The Colombian was terrific and I really hope Massimiliano Allegri finds a way to give him more playing time, he could be our it factor. The lineup should be the standard one, with Morata replacing Mandzukic upfront. Considering that Sami Khedira and Paul Pogba are primed to start and that we will face Genoa on Wednesday, it could be a good chance to give Claudio Marchisio some rest: Hernanes would take his spot. Giorgio Chiellini coul get a day off too, with Martin Caceres replacing him.

Probable lineup:

3-5-2: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Khedira, Marchisio, Pogba, Sandro; Dybala, Morata. 


Mandzukic (calf), Asamoah (hamstring), Lemina (knee). 






Chievo Verona are unnecessarily secretive at a Belichickian level with the squad list and injuries, but they should be very depleted in this match. Alberto Paloschi has flown to Wales to join Swansea. They should be without Riccardo Meggiorini too, who is nursing an hamstring injury. This means that Roberto Inglese, a very nice young player, and Paul-Josè Mpoku, an interesting offseason addition that quickly fell out of grace, are likely to be the striker’s duo in Rolando Maran’s 4-3-1-2, unless he changes the scheme. Sergio Pellissier probably can not go for 90 minutes.

Absences galore in the defence too: Bostjan Cesar is suspended and Alessandro Gamberini suffered a serious hamstring injury in the last game. In that occasion, the coach trotted out Gennaro Sardo, who is famous for scoring the winning goal in Chievo’s lone win against Juventus; however, the recently acquired Nicolas Spolli is the favourite to pair up with Dario Dainelli in the middle of the defence in this one. Nicolas Frey, a natural right-back but very versatile, could be an option both at centre-back should Spolli not be ready to play or at left-back to have a more defensive player there than Massimo Gobbi, who is famous for scoring a in a Fiorentina’s 3-2 win against Juventus in Turin. On the right, there should be Fabrizio Cacciatore, who is famous for scoring goal against Juventus and dancing awkwardly afterwards during his time with Hellas Verona. So many bad memories.

Perparim Hetemaj has missed the last two games because of bruised leg. Maran has used Giampiero Pinzi and Nicola Pinzi as box-to-box midfielder in the past: as usual, against Juventus, the most defensive option is the most likely one. The starters Ivan Radovanovic, Lucas Castro and Valter Birsa will form the rest of the diamond. Simone Pepe, who could be an option both in the midfield and in the attack, should be out as well.

In this season, they got off to a brilliant start where they were scoring a ton, but then lost some steam and regressed to the same old Chievo of yesteryears. Still, they have a nice record and have built a nice cushion over the most dangerous areas of the table.

Probable lineup:

4-3-1-2: Bizzarri; Cacciatore, Dainelli, Spolli, Gobbi; Castro, Radovanovic, Pinzi; Birsa; Meggiorini, Mpoku. 


Gamberini (hamstring), Meggiorini (hamstring), Hetemaj (leg), Izco (knee), Pepe. 






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  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet January 30, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Thank you for the preview, Enrico!…Bothersome news indeed regarding Mandzukic…as much of our fine form has come from the manner in which the big man does the dirty work up top, keeps always at least two defenders uneasy and occupied and allows Dybala (and others) to enjoy the space which he creates. We had developed a system, which Morata cannot slip into seamlessly for his game is completely different to that of the Croatian. Yet in saying that, the Spaniard finds chances every single time he plays, the problem has been in his head and heart, not his body and if he has turned a corner, regained confidence I am hopeful he can keep us within striking distance of a solid result against both Naples and Munchen. For he has lightning pace, a natural instinct for finding goal scoring opportunities and unlike Mandzukic, he can conjure a goal out of nothing.

    Which leaves Allegri with an interesting choice to make. Zaza is a more natural replacement for Mandzukic, as he loves to bully, plays very direct and can shoot, yet he is not at all suited to playing with his back to goal. Still, with playing time an issue and the EUROs in his sights, perhaps this is just what Simone needs to prove his doubters wrong and improve from super sub to worthy starter.

    If Pereyra can be brought back into the fold more swiftly (I believe he may be in the squad for this match and be given a few minutes), he could occupy the immensely important position playing between the lines, allowing Dybala to play up top with Morata without needing to forage so deep.

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      BelgianJuventino January 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Do you think Saponara would be good enough to justify that sum and do you think he could be a starter or sub at juve?

      I dont know what to think of this deal. Saponara wasnt that great at Milan as far as I can remember

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet January 31, 2016 at 9:17 am

        He has blossomed at Empoli, and is on course to have the finest campaign of his career to date. Is of a good age, is italian (which means something to me, and to the club, for we have a longstanding history of investing in the finest talent found domestically and supplying the backbone of la nazionale…as the saying goes…a strong juve is a strong azzurri) and I believe he can further improve.

        Great with both feet, beautifully creative and a capable, intelligent dribbler of solid pace and trickery.

        If it wasn’t for Conte’s preference for Pirlo and Verratti as deep lying playmakers, he would already be a regular part of the azzurri set-up. In my opinion he should be given the chance to make a claim for a role in the EUROs as he is one of the special players who can pick out a pass before others have even pondered it’s possible existence.

        In terms of players comfortable dribbling at speed and creating, who can also score we have only Dybala presently in the ranks. Cuadrado, for me, is a less potent player. Quicker, yet less talented on the ball.

        Yes, I believe that Saponara could be worth 15m. Considering that is what we paid for Pereyra and the modern market…it seems a fair price.

        • Avatar
          BelgianJuventino January 31, 2016 at 9:58 am

          Thanks for the elaborated reply. I do not know enough about Saponara to have a good foundation for an opinion about him

          He does a great job this season, but I have my doubts that he will have an impact for Juve, who is he going to put on the bench?

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet January 31, 2016 at 11:23 am

            Allegri has a history of favouring an attacking midfielder who can dribble and create behind a front pairing. It is why he transitioned to the 4-3-1-2 last season, Vidal was there for a while, which I didn’t like as it took away his defensive warrior value, Pereyra was also there, and was growing into the role as the season progressed.

            Problem with the 3-5-2 is that it often leaves us with an extra man at the back, which creates fewer options further up the field. Unless we have beckenbauer. Bonucci and Chiellini half slithers of the confidence and usefulness moving forward with the ball at their feet when not pressured, which draws players to defend them, and opens up space. However, neither have the passing range, consistently, to make this work as well as it could…with Beckenbauer!

            It would mean one of our CBs missing out…discussion of this must wait until another day, for the Chievo game is soon to start, comrade!

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet January 30, 2016 at 10:11 am

    David Moyes…spotted at the Kremlin???

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      BelgianJuventino January 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      Talking about a career switch!

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    BelgianJuventino January 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    This game should be in the pocket even with only half of our starters. But chievo is chievo, they have bothered us a lot before indeed! Glad they lost some of those players with a knack for scoring against us!

  • Avatar
    ho Hi January 31, 2016 at 11:42 am


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    Bianconeri_Archer_PH January 31, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    This dude is on fire

    • Avatar
      ho Hi January 31, 2016 at 12:32 pm


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    ho Hi January 31, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    typical Bonucci

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino January 31, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Fuck yeah Morata is back with a bang!!

    • Avatar
      ho Hi January 31, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      strong game. now genua than frosinone,then the first big battle. then bayern.
      we will see how strong juve can really be

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino January 31, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        At this rate, we can challenge Bayern for the win. Lets hope we continue on this good run at least until the Bayern games.
        The game against Napoli will be huge, neither one is dropping points in the league lately. They also won 5-1 today