Serie A Week 2 – 12/9/10 (14.00 UK)
Juventus – Sampdoria
After losing on the opening weekend at Bari, Luigi Del Neri’s new-look Juventus face his former side Sampdoria in their first home game of 2010-11.
The Genoese outfit are virtually the same team that Del Neri led to fourth place last year and will provide a tough test for his new Bianconeri team. Still heavily influenced in his system and tactics, Del Neri’s replacement Mimmo Di Carlo is just as eager to record a positive result after their recent Champions League disappointment.
Both teams will go with 4-4-2 line-ups heavily reliant on strong defensive cores allowing for fast-paced free movement from the wingers and front-men. However, Sampdoria are facing up to the challenge of matching Juve without Andrea Poli and Fernando Tissone, with the emphasis falling on Daniele Dessena to step up, whilst the in-form Giampaolo Pazzini is a last-minute doubt with acute back pain. But, the team’s familiarity in their tactics will hold an advantage over the host of Bianconeri new boys expected to play, such as Milos Krasic and Simone Pepe.
Del Neri has been working his attacking players with regular ball and movement drills away from the main group aware that their effectiveness in striking up an understanding will make or break his time in Turin. Vincenzo Iaquinta has returned and is likely to feature on Sunday in some capacity whilst the club are also boosted by the news Claudio Marchisio has recovered from his injury in time. Jorge Martinez and Amauri remain on the sidelines along with long-term absentee Gianluigi Buffon.
In Buffon’s place is Marco Storari, signed off the back of some excellent form in the second half of last season for Sampdoria. Marginalised Hasan Salihamidzic and Fabio Grosso joined the main squad this week for training and could be selected in the squad for the game.
The tie has set up a fascinating clash between the group of players that took advantage of Juve’s slip-up last year to secure fourth against the management team that guided them there now on the other bench. Del Neri’s tried and tested methods come up against the team he was most successful in using them on.
Keep an eye on: Marco Storari (Juventus) – Marco Storari’s performances in the second half of last season propelled Sampdoria to fourth place. Now in Juventus’ goal, he has been working hard in training to deal with not only the high number of crosses expected, but for the variety of snap-shots his former teammates will throw at him.
Last five in Serie A: Juventus (- – – – L) Sampdoria (- – – – W)
Last season: Juventus 5-1 Sampdoria
Top tip: Do not expect a repeat of last season’s one-sided affair with Juventus a revamped side currently light in attack and Samp more than familiar with what to expect tactically.
Stat fact: Sampdoria have only beaten Juventus four times in 24 encounters, with Juventus scoring twice as many goals as Samp over this period.
Juventus (probable): Storari; Motta, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Krasic, Marchisio, Felipe Melo, Pepe, Del Piero, Quagliarella
Sampdoria (probable): Curci, Zauri, Gastaldello, Lucchini, Ziegler; Semioli, Palombo, Dessena, Guberti; Cassano, Pozzi Ref: Mazzoleni