Stadio Olimpico, Turin
09 May, 2011; 18:45 GMT
Juventus welcome Chievo Verona to the Stadio Olimpico in Turin on Monday night in a quest to continue their bid for the last Champions League spot. The Bianconeri have revived hopes of a place in Europe’s elite competition with a vital win last round against Lazio. With just three games remaining this season, Juve need to gain maximum points and hope the other contenders slip up. Any slip-up by the Bianconeri on the other hand could result in a fatal blow to the CL hopes.
The last encounter between these two sides ended up in a low scoring 1-1 draw in Verona. Fabio Quagliarella was on target for Juventus with a trademark spectacular over-head goal. Sergio Pellissier broke Bianconeri hearts with a late equalizer in stoppage time after some lax defending. As it stands, Juve remain out of the European spots in 7th place with 56 points, 4 behind 4th place Lazio. Chievo occupy 12th place with 42 points.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Boss Del Neri will field his standard and strict 4-4-2 formation. The line-up should read the same as last week barring the exception of the return of versatile midfielder Claudio Marchisio from a minor injury. Marchisio will take the place of Simone Pepe, who scored the winner against Lazio. Gianluigi Buffon silenced his critics last week with a typically commanding display in goal. In front of him will be hardman Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. The latter has put in impressive performances since joining the club in the summer and has rightly merited a starting berth ahead of Leonardo Bonucci. Fabio Grosso and the much maligned Marco Motta will be the fullbacks.
Milos Krasic will provide the width down the right wing. The flying Serb’s form has been a far cry from the man who regularly tore apart defences in the first half of the season. Pulling the strings from the centre of the park will be Alberto Aquilani. The former Roma man is long due an instrumental display from midfield. Against Lazio, he flattered to deceive yet again. Partnering him will be Felipe Melo, who contrastingly has been nothing short of impeccable this season. Patrolling the midfield area and screening his defence, Melo looks every bit the man Juve paid €25 for in 2009. Alex Del Piero will partner Alessandro Matri in attack. The 26 year old striker hasn’t score in the past three games and will look to be on target against Chievo.
Juventus will miss Bonucci, Quagliarella, Martinez, Iaquinta, Grygera, Rinaudo and Sissoko through injury.
Probable line-up (4-4-2): Buffon; Motta, Barzagli, Chiellini, Grosso; Krasic, Melo, Aquilani, Marchisio; Del Piero, Matri
Form Guide: WDDWW
Chievo have done just about enough this season to stay out of relegation contention. The flying donkeys will be relieved to have crossed the 40 point mark against Lecce last week to almost certainly guarantee them a spot in next season’s Serie A. Manager Stefano Pioli will stick with his preferred 4-3-1-2 formation. The central defensive pairing of former Roma man Marco Andreolli and Cesar will have their hands full with the threat of Del Piero and Matri.
In midfield, former Man City man Gelson Fernandes will need to be on top of his game, against the likes of Melo and Aquilani. Rigoni will marshall the midfield alongside Fernandes and will be the holding player in there, breaking up play will be his job. Kevin Constant has been one of Chievo’s most influential players this season. The midfielder who joined from Châteauroux in the summer has been capturing the attention of bigger clubs. He is blessed with trickery and has a decent shot on him. He will be relishing chances against Juve’s weaklink Marco Motta. Chievo’s iconic captain Sergio Pellissier will partner Moscardelli in attack. The duo are a mixture of skill and physicality and could cause nuisance to the Juve defence.
Luciano is the only player unavailable to Stefano Pioli.
Probable line-up (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino; Sardo, Andreolli, Cesar, Mantovani; Fernandes, Rigoni, Constant; Bogliacino; Pellissier, Moscardelli
Form Guide: WLWLD
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus)
Having put pen-to-paper in midweek on a one year contract extension, all eyes will be on Il Pinturicchio. Alex Del Piero has been long the symbol of Juventus. His creativity, skill and technique have dazzled fans and inspired Juventus to many victories over the years. The onus will be on him once again to lead his beloved Old Lady to an all important win.
Juventus 2-0 Chievo Verona
The magnitude of this game cannot be under-estimated. Juventus are unbeaten in their past seven games, winning five of them and will be looking for continuity. The Bianconeri also hold a good home record against Chievo in recent history and will be determined to gain three points from this massive fixture.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST