Did you know Juventus has only lost one game in Serie A this season? Had it not been for that 4-2 collapse in Firenze, Juventus very well could be undefeated. It’s something I don’t realize unless I look at the table. Yet, it’s true. Fiorentina, who have been noticeably tamer without Giuseppe Rossi, are the only Italian side to defeat Juventus this season. Of course that was with Rossi, and now he’s injured. But you will be reading plenty of these types of lines over the next 12 days, so let’s just get to the preview.


Hopefully the midweek international friendlies will not have a huge effect on Juve’s players, as several saw action in said games. That said the lineup seems to be the normal first choice line up, barring one switch.

In defense, Angelo Ogbonna is projected to start instead of Leo Bonucci. Meanwhile Giorgio Chiellini is expected to return, and of course the wall Andrea Barzagli will be there. I would imagine that Ogbonna is literally starting in place of Bonucci, and thus will be handling (to an extent) his ball playing duties. Though sometimes the three centerbacks all take an equal third of said duties, especially in tighter games.

Now in midfield, we do have a noticeable absence. Andrea Pirlo is suspended for the game. Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal, and, Paul Pogba will start in midfield. I can’t see how Marchisio isn’t the regista, though I also read that he and Vidal may “share” the duties. We’ve seen that before though, it just means Vidal gets the ball on the right flank and/or in the opponents half. Either way, y’all know I like Marchisio in that regista role A LOT so I am looking forward to seeing more. Hopefully Pogba can break out of his recent “slump” and maybe even give us another wondergol. It’s been like two weeks since the last one, that’s a long time to wait for a Pogba wondergoal.

Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah are the wide men, and I am interested to see what happens here in terms of substitutions. Now, most likely neither of these two men will start in the Europa League fixture, so, do we play them a full 90? Or, do you want one of these guys in the Europa League? Either way, I will be assuming way too much information from any possible substitutions to Asamoah and Lichtsteiner during the game this weekend.

Up top we have the dynamic duo of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente. Hall and Nash Tevez and Llorente both scored against Milan (Llorente had a simple tap in, Tevez had a beauty) and I fully expect them to be involved in any goal scoring against Fiorentina.


Per usual, our man Enrico has the scoop on Fiorentina with his scouting report. Fiorentina are obviously one of the stronger sides in Serie A, but injuries and suspension have harmed them short term (Borja Valero) and long term (Beppe Rossi, who may make the World Cup but will miss most of the remainder of Serie A it seems.)

Their recent form is poor, there is no disguising that. They are still somewhat alive in the race for the final Champions League spot, but mostly because Napoli have not put the race to sleep. I suppose they are keeping up the 2010s tradition of the last Champions League spot going to the team that screws up the least.

As Enrico mentioned, Fiorentina can play a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3. Gazzetta dello Sport claims they will be playing a 4-3-3. Nenad Tomovic is one of their injured players, so new(ish) arrival Modibo Diakite will probably start at right back. He will look to improve from his last game, versus Parma, where had got sent off for receiving two yellow cards. In the middle there’s Stefan Savic and Gonzalo Rodriguez, both of whom have been rather good this season. In fact Rodriguez, though he did give up a penalty, was probably the Viola’s best defender in that 4-2 win against Juve. Finally at left back Manuel Pasqual is predicted to start.

The midfield is projected as Alberto Aquilani, David Pizzaro, and Matias Fernandez. The first two guys did not provide much trouble for Juve’s midfield last time around, but Fernandez bagged an assist. Still, I think the clear advantage in midfield lies, as always, with Juventus.

Finally it gets sort of interesting with the three attacking players. Now, it’s pretty certain that Juan Manuel Cuadrado and Josip Illicic will start on either flank, and given how poorly Asamoah played versus Fiorentina the first time around, I would expect Vincenzo Montella to put him in at right wing, but who knows. Then at striker, we also have a bit of indecision: Mario Gomez is projected to start, but I am skeptical of that. First, while Gomez is certainly their best striker (at least with Rossi out, Rossi vs Gomez is a tougher call) he only returned from injury about a month ago, and he has yet to start a Serie A match since his return. Plus he is very much out of form having just returned from injury. Meanwhile, our old handsome friend Alessandro Matri is fully fit and in decent form. He’s not had very many great, or even good, games with Fiorentina, but he has certainly been better there than he was at Milan. If I was Montella (and he knows way more about calcio than I do) I would start Matri, and then put in Gomez as a sub if Matri is playing poorly.

Bottom Line

Well, Fiorentina’s suspensions and injures put them in a hole here. Plus, I can only imagine that Conte and the team have been going nuts thinking about that 4-2 loss from earlier in the season. They will want to avenge that loss, and they will want to dominate Fiorentina in this game to get in their heads for the Europa League ties. Of course, that could lead to Juve losing focus, and Fiorentina could once again take advantage of that. My prediction? 2-1 to Juve.