Serie A Week 8 – 24/10/10 (14.00 UK)
Bologna – Juventus
Stadio Renato Dall’Ara
Only four points separate Juventus and Bologna, but the atmosphere in the camps must be radically different.
Bologna are nursing their wounds from their Palermo battering and are only just outside the bottom three. Juventus, meanwhile, seem to have hit their stride in Serie A and are hovering behind the top four.
After the embarrassing defeat in Sicily, the Rossoblu could have asked for few tougher games to get back on track. Nevertheless, the talk from the Romagna capital has been of avenging that defeat and putting some distance between themselves and the dreaded bottom three.
In Thursday’s training, Coach Alberto Malesani appeared to have pinpointed the ‘anti-Juve’ formation – a defensive 4-1-4-1 with Ivan Radovanovic in front of the back line to provide extra support to the defenders who have been unable to keep a clean sheet since the League opener.
Should the Rossoblu end up chasing the game, this formation should allow the wide midfielders, likely to be Antonio Buscè and Daniele Paponi, to move alongside lone striker Marco Di Vaio and form a three man strike force.
For the remainder of the XI there should be no surprises, with Azzurri ‘keeper Emiliano Viviano in goal, and Gaby Mudingayi and Albin Ekdal in the middle of the field. The final decision rests on which central defender to field alongside Daniele Portanova, and at the moment Miguel Britos seems favoured over Nicolo Cherubin.
Juventus have to rely on their ability to recover rapidly after their Thursday night trip to Austria. With virtually no time to prepare this game specifically, the Bianconeri must entrust themselves to their fitness, their class, and their high morale product of the emphatic 4-0 thrashing of Lecce.
Coach Gigi Del Neri was annoyed by the first 45 minutes his team conceded to Salzburg in mid-week, yet there should be no great turnover in the team for the trip to the Dall’Ara. After a great performance last Sunday, Fabio Quagliarella will start up front with Amauri.
Milos Krasic, the talisman of this early season Juventus, will take the right side of the four man midfield formed by Alberto Aquilani, Felipe Melo, and Claudio Marchisio. Only the one change at the back as Marco Motta looks set to replace Zdenek Grygera on the right. In between the posts Marco Storari will again start in place of the long term injured Gigi Buffon.
Keep an eye on: Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) – Undoubtedly a controversial choice as it seems unlikely the eternal talisman will start this weekend after playing 90 minutes in Europe on Thursday. Nevertheless, he should feature at some stage and Del Piero is one goal away from being Juventus’ all time top scorer in Serie A. With Bologna not having kept a clean sheet since Week 1, he must have his sights set on this record…
Last five in Serie A: Bologna (D W D D L) Juventus (W L W D W)
Last season: Bologna 1-2 Juventus
Top tip: Key to this game will be how much the Europa League fixture took out of the Bianconeri’s legs. If they are feeling jaded then Bologna can look to take a point, much like they did at the Dall’Ara against Inter. But if the likes of Krasic and Quagliarella maintain their form, Juventus should pip this one.
Stat fact: Marco Di Vaio made of Juventus his first real test at a big club when he joined from Parma in 2002 for the considerable fee of €32m. He spent two seasons with the Bianconeri netting 18 goals in 55 appearances, it was during his spell in Turin that he earned his only Scudetto title.
Bologna (probable): Viviano; Garics, Portanova, Britos, Rubin; Radovanovic; Buscè, Mudingayi, Ekdal, Paponi; Di Vaio
Juventus (probable): Storari; Motta, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Krasic, Felipe Melo, Aquilani, Marchisio; Amauri, Quagliarella
Ref: De Marco