Stadio Ennio Tardini
May 15, 2011, 13:00 GMT
Juventus’ slim hopes of a Champions League spot were all but shattered in round 36 of Serie A, as they criminally gave up two goals in a minute of madness at the Olimpico against Chievo. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, which once again highlighted the Old Lady’s inability to hold on to leads. The Turin based outfit are now in seventh place, five points behind fourth placed Udinese with just two games to go and six points up for grabs. It will take nothing short of a ridiculous miracle now for the Old Lady to qualify for the Champions League.
His absence has been felt
Parma, after a decent enough start to the season, will heave a sigh of relief having crossed the 40-point mark in Serie A, generally perceived to be enough for safety. However, their recent form has been anything but decent, with just a single win in the past five games. The Gialloblu sit in fourteenth place in the league standings, six points above the dreaded relegation zone. With the draw against Bologna last weekend, Parma have guaranteed themselves a spot in next season’s Serie A.
The last meeting between these two sides was one of the turning points of Juve’s season. Fabio Quagliarella suffered a terrible and heart-breaking knee injury, which has ruled him out for the rest of the season. The dominating Felipe Melo was given his marching orders following a silly red card. And to add salt to the wound, Sebastian Giovinco bagged a brace to inflict a 4-1 thrashing to the Old Lady in Turin. Their season began to crumble after that very loss and it took a while for Juve to recover.
Team News and Tactical Brief
After taking over as manager from Pasquale Marino in early April, Franco Colomba has steadied the ship at Parma. He has since been confirmed coach for next season for the Gialloblu. A lot of the Parma first team squad consists of former Juve players. Antonio Mirante, Bojinov, Giovinco, Amauri, Palladino and Candreva have all plied their trade for the Bianconeri.
Colomba will most likely employ a 4-4-2 formation. He faces a striking crisis, as Amauri, Crespo and Palladino are doubts for the game. The Italo-Brazilian has been rejuvenated since leaving the Bianconeri in the January window. He has gone on to score an impressive seven goals so far. Former Juve youth product Sebastian Giovinco will move to a more central role in support of Valeri Bojinov in attack.
In defence, Cristian Zaccardo has been impressive at right back this term, and was strongly linked with a move to Juve in January. The heart of the defence will comprise of Lucarelli and Paletta. They face an uphill task of containing the threat posed by ‘Alessandro’ combination – Matri and Del Piero. While ex-Fiorentina man Massimo Gobbi will play at left back. Francesco Valiani and Francesco Modesto will be the wingers for Parma and will look to exploit the obvious Achilles heel in the Juve defence – the fullbacks. The former leads the assists charts for the Ducali, with four assists to his name.
Probable line-up (4-4-2): Mirante; Zaccardo, Lucarelli, Paletta, Gobbi; Valiani, Dzemaili, Morrone, Modesto; Giovinco, Bojinov
Form Guide: DWLLL
Gigi Del Neri’s tenure at the helm of Juve, on the other hand, looks all set to end this season. The manager was recently the subject a huge amount of criticism following the lackluster performances of his side. His sacking now looks a mere formality, with plenty of names such as Louis Van Gal, Roberto Mancini, and Walter Mazzari lined up as possible replacements.
He will again deploy his highly criticized 4-4-2 formation. The back five will remain the same as the one that faced Chievo. The midfield however, will face three changes owing to suspensions and an injury changes. Alberto Aquilani is struggling and is a doubt for the game, while Claudio Marchisio and Milos Krasic are suspended for one game on account of yellow card accumulation. Simone Pepe and Jorge Martinez will return to the starting line-up and provide width down the wings, flanking Felipe Melo and Manuel Giandonato. The highly rated youngster hasn’t started a game since his sending off against Chievo last year, and will look to make the most of this rare opportunity.
Juve will be highly dependent on the striking duo of Matri and Del Piero. The latter has been in a decent run of form of late; he scored against Chievo, and combined well with his strike partner Matri for Juve’s second goal. Paolo De Ceglie is expected to make his return after several months, and might get a few minutes under his belt in a bid to regain full match fitness.
Rinaudo, Sissoko, Quagliarella, Grygera and Iaquinta are all on the treatment table and are unavailable to Del Neri.
Probable Line-up (4-4-2): Buffon; Motta, Barzagli, Chiellini, Grosso; Pepe, Giandonato, Melo, Martinez; Del Piero, Matri
Form Guide: DWDDW
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Sebastian Giovinco (Parma)
- Will he haunt the Old Lady again?
Once touted as the next best trequartista in Italian football and the heir to Alessandro Del Piero’s throne at Juve, it looks highly unlikely that La Formica Atomica will return to Juventus next season. The scourge of the Bianconeri in their last meeting, Giovinco will look to pile on more misery to the club that deemed him ‘surplus to their requirements’ this season.
Parma 1-1 Juventus
Juventus on their travels have been one of the best sides in Serie A. Recent history too would lean in favor of a Juventus win, but with key absentees to both sides, one can expect them to cancel each other out. Expect the Bianconeri to extend their unbeaten run of eight games.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST