Serie A – Week 2 [13th September 2014] – Juventus Stadium
Serie A’s defending champions will be missing a whole host of first team players as they welcome Toto Di Natale’s Udinese to Juve Stadium.
Arturo Vidal is set to miss the game and expected to be out of action for at least 10-15 days after he picked up a thigh injury whilst on international duty for Chile over the weekend.
Andrea Barzagli and Spanish striker Alvaro Morata are injury doubts as the pair are returning to full fitness while Andrea Pirlo is still recovering from a bruised hip he sustained during the Trofeo TIM tournament at the end of August.
Carlos Tevez was reported to have pulled up yesterday with a suspected muscular injury but the striker was quick to reassure fans via his twitter account :
“Thank you to everyone for being worried about me,” wrote Tevez on Twitter this evening.“I have no lesions and I am preparing for Saturday’s game.”
Gracias a todos por preocuparse. No tengo ninguna lesión y estoy preparado para el partido del sábado
— Carlitos Tevez (@carlitos3210) September 11, 2014
Giorgio Chiellini is still suspended which will likely result in Allegri using the same back three of Martin Caceres, Leonardo Bonucci and Angelo Ogbonna who worked so well against Chievo in Week 1.
With Vidal and Pirlo being the notable absentees in centre of pitch, new signing Roberto Pereyra is likely to make his full Juve debut against his former side. Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio will play alongside him in the 3 man central midfield.
With doubts over whether Tevez will start from the bench or feature at all in the game, Fernando Llorente will start alongside either Sebastian Giovinco or Kinglsey Coman.
3-5-1-1 : Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Ogbonna; Lichtsteiner, Pereyra, Marchisio, Pogba, Evra; Tevez, Llorente
Andrea Barzagli (Returning to fitness), Andrea Pirlo, Alvaro Morata (Returning to fitness), Arturo Vidal
After four years, Francesco Guidolin has left Udinese and there’s a new sheriff in town: former Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni. They were really close to appointing Gigi Delneri but they ended up making a much more interesting choice. Allegri has never beaten Stramaccioni, who, moreover, was the first one to violate the Juventus Stadium fortress.
After the end of Guidolin’s realm, things have changed, but not so much. The tactic is the same (3-5-2), the cornerstones are the same (Di Natale didn’t retire) and the interesting youngsters who could break out this year are basically the same. Dusan Basta was the only mayor player that left (he wasn’t particularly impressive in the past season), but they already had Silvan Widmer in line to replace him on right flank.
They uncharacteristically added some veterans in order to solidify the roster: Panagiotis Kone, Cyril Thereau and Albert Riera. The first two are insurance policies if Bruno Fernandes and Luis Muriel won’t be as good as they are supposed to be in this season. Riera was acquired for nothing and could be useful if they eventually change the tactic.
Against Empoli, they weren’t particularly sharp, but they were cynical. The ageless Antonio Di Natale is in stellar form: he has already scored six goals in this season (four against Cremonese in Coppa Italia, a brace in the last Serie A match) and he’s of course their biggest threat. Differently from the previous years, they have decided to rely on his partnership with Luis Muriel, whose pace and dribbling skills could be a problem on the counter-attacking game.
They have a very deep squad and Strama has many options in the midfield. Against Empoli, the coach opted for a muscular trio: Badu-Allan-Guilherme and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them starting again. Kone and Bruno Fernandes represent the alternatives if they want at little more creativity and playmaking, while Pinzi could have a chance to play if they prefer having a veteran on the pitch in a tough road game.
Simone Scuffet is hurt and he’s out for a month due to an ankle sprain. He didn’t start against Empoli (he wasn’t injured) as Stramaccioni picked the Greek international Karnezis over him. The coach said that they have a project for Scuffet, but it still seems a bizarre decision. Probably they don’t want the youngster to get a big head after last year’s brilliant performances, but somebody who refuses to move to Atletico Madrid in order to finish high school in Italy sounds like a pretty humble guy, but that’s just me.
The left flank could be their week spot in Saturdays’s game. Both Gabriel Silva and Maurizio Domizzi are out due to muscular injuries and this means that the LCB-LWB combination will be completely new. Igor Bubnjic is the natural replacement of Domizzi: it will be only his 8th Serie A game. Heurtaux (watch out for his headers on the set pieces) and Danilo will complete the defense.
The situation is a little more complicated on the left flank: Giovanni Pasquale is the first option, but Strama has tried Ivan Piris consistently in that position in the recent practices. In any case, they are both shaky. Riera is in the mix too, but playing fullback in Turkey and doing it in Italy are two different things. A fancy option could be moving Widmer on this flank and using either Piris or Belmonte on the other.
In any case, Juventus will face a very ordinate squad that has been playing together for a long time, even if there’s a new coach at the helm. Udinese will sit back and try to strike with quick counters, which is the forte of both Muriel and Di Natale, as Stramaccioni admitted in today’s press conference.
3-5-2 : Karnezis; Heurtaux, Danilo, Bubnjic; Widmer, Allan, Guilherme, Pinzi, Piris; Muriel, Di Natale.
Gabriel Silva, Simone Scuffet, Maurizio Domizzi