Serie A Week 13 – 21/11/10 (11.30 UK)
Genoa – Juventus
Juventus will be eager to not throw away any more crucial points this weekend, but they face a reborn Genoa at Marassi.
With the title race wide open this term, the Old Lady are in with an outside shot of actually winning their first Scudetto post-Calciopoli. However, consistency is proving to be their biggest enemy and they have surrendered one goal leads in their last two ties against Brescia and Roma – which both ended 1-1.
Saying that, Gigi Del Neri seems to have built a solid 4-4-2 playing unit. After some early season difficulties, which included a reverse on the opening day at Bari, the Bianconeri are proving tough to break down given that they haven’t lost since their Week 4 home reverse against Palermo back on September 22.
They still have the best attacking record in the League, while they have conceded just three goals away from the Olimpico in the League this term. Juve have scored in their last seven Serie A meetings here, bagging two a game on each of their last three trips.
Although the club’s injury crisis is starting to ease slightly, the former Sampdoria tactician does have his hands tied to a degree. Fabio Grosso should start after picking up a slight foot problem, but with Milos Krasic yet to prove his fitness and Simone Pepe suspended, young Davide Lanzafame may have to start in midfield ahead of the Serb.
Marco Motta returns to the defence after his ban against Roma last Saturday. In attack, Fabio Quagliarella is almost assured of his place in the team, although it remains to be seen who partners him. Amauri, whose last League goal came in February’s 3-2 win over Genoa, is definitely out after injuring his knee on Thursday. He could be sidelined until January.
Genoa have had a shaky start to the season and with five losses Gian Piero Gasperini was shown the door. In his place has arrived Davide Ballardini and he’s delivered instant results with two wins out of two thanks to a 4-3-3 system.
Ballardini has spent all week preparing for the Old Lady’s visit and the unusual 12.30 local time kick-off. As a result, his side have been waking up at 8am, having a bite to eat at 9.30 and training at midday this week in a bid to adapt to the conditions.
The former Lazio boss has no suspensions to deal with, but he will be without Bosko Jankovic, as well as former Juve players Giuseppe Sculli and Raffaele Palladino.
Keep an eye on: Andrea Ranocchia (Genoa) and Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus) – Having played alongside each other for Italy in midweek, the two players, teammates at Bari last term, will face off at Marassi eager to illustrate their worth.
Last five in Serie A: Genoa (W L L W W ) Juventus (D W W D D )
Last season: Genoa 2-2 Juventus
Top tip: If Juventus can control the midfield then don’t rule out an away win, even if a draw might be the more likely outcome.
Stat fact: This game hasn’t ended in a 0-0 draw in Serie A since 1962. Their last 10 top-flight meetings at Marassi have also delivered a combined 34 goals – that’s an average of 3.4 a tie.
Genoa (probable): Eduardo; Rafinha, Ranocchia, Dainelli, Criscito; Rossi, Milanetto, Veloso; Rudolf, Toni, Mesto
Juventus (probable): Storari; Motta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Grosso; Lanzafame (Krasic), Aquilani, Melo, Marchisio; Quagliarella, Iaquinta