Juventus V Torino
Serie A – Week 13 [30th November 2014] – Juventus Stadium
Juventus will be aiming to make it 25 home league wins in a row for the first of this seasons Derby matches against a struggling Torino.
Max Allegri fielded a strong starting XI in the midweek match against Malmo and it took an inspired half 2nd half display to snatch 3 points in difficult conditions. Juventus are undefeated in their last 17 games against Torino and have kept an impressive 11 consecutive clean sheets against their city rivals.
Having ditched the 3-5-2 formation for a more dynamic 4-3-1-2, Juve have certainly looked more threatening in the final third having notched up 4 victories since the change, scoring 15 goals and conceding just 2 in all competitions. With that in mind, the starting XI will likely remain unchanged with Stephan Lichtsteiner at right back while Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will remain the centre back positions.
Juventus confirmed today that Kwadwo Asamoah will undergo surgery in Barcelona and could be out for anything up to 3 months and with Simone Padoin’s suspension, Patrice Evra will return to left back. Andrea Pirlo may be rested with Claudio Marchisio filling in for him in the centre of midfield while Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal will partner him. Roberto Pereyra will sit in behind the front pairing of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente.
4-3-1-2 : Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Marchisio, Pogba, Vidal; Pereyra; Tevez, Llorente
Andrea Barzagli (Heel ), Luca Marrone (Thigh, )Martin Caceres (Thigh) and Kwadwo Asamoah (Due to undergo knee surgery) – Romulo and Angelo Ogbonna (Returning to full fitness)
Torino haven’t scored against Juventus since February 24 2002, almost thirteen years ago. And scoring seems to be their main problem in this season’s Torino. They have found the back of the net only seven times so far and they have the second worst attack of the League. They failed to score in seven Serie A matches. They also missed three penalties in this season.
Fabio Quagliarella has been their lone offensive spark so far: he scored four goals. Giampiero Ventura has yet to find the best combination upfront. Marcelo Larrondo, Paolo Vitor Barreto and the two big summer acquisitions Amauri and Josef Martinez are still scoreless in Serie A. It’s blatantly obvious that they are not as dangerous as in the past season and that tends to happen when you sell your two best players (Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci).
The management has been stressing that they had fewer points last season at this point of the year, but after finishing eight, it was fair to expect a better start. The reinforcement campaign, which looked good on paper, hasn’t started to pay off yet, but they remain confident that they’ll be able to turns things around after January and finish strong, like they did last year. They are currently in 15th position with twelve points.
Since they haven’t been able to find the right partner for Quagliarella, they have had some success by fielding a CAM behind him. Alexander Farnerud and especially Omar El Kaddouri have played well in that position. The Moroccan is a precious tactical weapon since he can play also in the midfield. Torino certainly need his playmaking skills and his creativity.
Torino haven’t scored much, but they certainly have a stringy defense: they conceded only thirteen goals. They seem to have benefited from the change on goal, with the veteran Juan François Gillet replacing Daniele Padelli. They have a very physical and experienced defensive line composed by Kamil Glik (sent off in both derbies last season), Emiliano Moretti and either Cesare Bovo or Nikola Maksimovic. Like in the past season, the two wingbacks are a strength of the squad: Matteo Darmian has now been moved on the left to make room for the energetic Bruno Peres on the right. The Brazilian fullback immediately adapted to Serie and quickly overtook Cristian Molinaro in the pecking order.
In the middle of the field, Giuseppe Vives continues to be a suspiciously good deep-lying midfielder. Farnerud was out with an injury at the beginning of the season and is starting to play well recently, while Antonio Nocerino (who missed some time too and is still banged up) hasn’t performed at the level they hoped for so far. Juan Sanchez Mino got off to a good start, combining well with El Kaddouri and adding a bit of unpredictability, but he’s struggling lately. Since Ruben Perez and Marco Benassi haven’t played that much, Alessandro Gazzi has established himself as a key element of the squad. Gazzi-Vives-Farnerud is the most likely combination for Sunday, with El Kaddouri behind Quagliarella.
Compared to the past season, Torino haven’t looked fluid and especially have been very passive, settling for counter-attacks, which are not as effective without a speedster in the attack. The goals have mostly been extemporaneous, they haven’t built a true identity yet. Derby is always a special occasion but they’ll surely bring it, but Juventus have owned them in recent years.
3-5-2 : Gillet; Moretti, Jansson, Maksimovic; Darmian, Gazzi, Vives, Farnerud, Peres; El Kaddouri, Quagliarella