Preview: Juventus – Lecce

Posted on 16/10/2010


Serie A Week 7 – 17/10/10 (14.00 UK)
Juventus – Lecce
Stadio Olimpico

If Juventus are serious about challenging for honours this season then they’ll have to dispose of a rugged Lecce side this Sunday.

Although the Olimpico encounter looks a one-sided affair on paper, there is no hiding the fact that the Italian giants and the southern minnows will kick their game off this weekend level on eight points in the standings.

The Old Lady have had an uncomfortable start to the season since their mass personnel changes in the summer. It has taken time for the side to gel as the defeats to Bari and Palermo testify, although there are signs of improvement – especially in defence.

After going all Zdenek Zeman like, Juve have tightened up at the back, conceding just once at Manchester City and then keeping a clean sheet in Serie A against Inter in the last round. Goalkeeper Marco Storari impressed after some mediocre performances, while Giorgio Chiellini was a rock at San Siro.

“We played well at Inter and we need to start again from that performance,” said Claudio Marchisio, who may start ahead of Simone Pepe if Alberto Aquilani is again handed a place in the XI. “We had no fear against them and that is the road to go down, starting with the really important game against Lecce.”

Juve’s home form is not great though, with one win, one draw and one loss from their League games. They’ve also conceded eight of their nine goals so far in Turin, although they have scored just as many.

Boss Gigi Del Neri is without the injured Gigi Buffon and Leandro Rinaudo. Milos Krasic is guaranteed a start in midfield, but it is unclear who will get the nod in attack with Alex Del Piero, Vincenzo Iaquinta, Amauri and Fabio Quagliarella all in with a shout.

Gigi De Canio’s Giallorossi arrive three games unbeaten, with draws against Parma and Palermo being followed up with a Week 6 win over Catania. However, they’ve only collected one point from nine possible away from the Via Del Mare and were walloped 4-0 at Milan on the opening day.

The former QPR boss is without Tore Reginussen, Javier Chevanton and Alberto Giuliatto, but the tactician could still field an adventurous 4-3-3 with former Juve player Ruben Olivera eager to shine against the Bianconeri.

Meanwhile, Guilliermo Giacomazzi has ambitions of repeating their historic 4-3 victory in Turin from six years ago. “We’ll certainly try again,” said the midfielder who returns from suspension. “This Juve side didn’t have as much talent as that one, but this one is physically tougher.”

Keep an eye on: Milos Krasic (Juventus) – He netted a hat-trick in their last home game, a 4-2 victory over Cagliari. He may have only just arrived in Italian football, but this Juve side already depends so much on the dribble wizard.

Last five in Serie A: Juventus (D W L W D) Lecce (W L D D W)

Last season: Not played

Top tip: Expect goals. In their last five Serie A meetings in Turin, there have been 25 goals scored – 16 to Juve, nine to Lecce.

Stat fact: Lecce have won just once in Turin. In fact, in 26 League meetings overall, the Giallorossi have defeated Juve three times. The Old Lady have 17 wins and there have been six draws.

Juventus (probable): Storari; Grygera, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Krasic, Felipe Melo, Aquilani, Marchisio; Iaquinta, Quagliarella

Lecce (probable): Rosati; Vives, Fabiano, Ferrario, Mesbah; Grossmuller, Giacomazzi, Piatti; Olivera, Corvia, Di Michele

Ref: Gava

Posted in: Preview, Serie A