Serie A Preview: Chievo v Juventus
The league leaders will be looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season against a Flying Donkeys team that could move level on points with their opponents if they win
By Jonathan Mitchell
Sardo, Morero, Cesar, Jokic
Bradley, Rigoni, Hetemaj
Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
Krasic, Del Piero, Vucinic, Pepe
Chievo coach Domenico Di Carlo is expected to go with the same starting XI that drew 0-0 with Cesena in their last fixture before the international break after the players who represented their countries - Alberto Paloschi (Italy Under-21), Bojan Jokic and Bostjan Cesar (both Slovenia), Kamil Vacek (Czech Republic), Rinaldo Cruzado (Peru) and Michael Bradley (USA) - were all given a clean bill of health.
The Verona-based side's only doubt is veteran Brazilian midfielder Luciano, who is still struggling with an injury to his right thigh muscle.
Antonio Conte, on the other hand, is likely to make tweaks to both his personnel and his formation. After utilising a 4-1-4-1 formation in the 2-0 victory over AC Milan, the Bianconeri boss looks set to revert to his trademark 4-2-4 formation, with Alessandro Del Piero replacing Arturo Vidal in the side and partnering Mirko Vucinic in attack.
The coach has also received positive news on the injury front in that Claudio Marchisio has shaken off a sprain suffered on international duty. The in-form midfielder fired Italy into an early lead against Serbia but had to be replaced on the 70-minute mark due to the knock. However, he has since said: “I’m alright, it’s a little sprain, but it hasn’t even swollen up. I'm in good shape."
Elsewhere, Emanuele Giaccherini, while not expected to start, discovered that a training-ground injury was not a muscle tear as first feared, but a minor inflammation which would only keep him out of a few practice sessions.
Left-back Paolo De Ceglie could also be available after working extensively to shake off a muscle strain. However, it seems likely that Conte will continue with Giorgio Chiellini in the full-back position after his performance there against Milan.
Two players who definitely look to be ruled out are Frederik Sorensen and Vincenzo Iaquinta. The Danish defender underwent surgery on a fractured nose on October 10 and returned to training the following day with the support of a protective mask, while the experienced striker is still to fully recover from a thigh strain.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chievo have won only one of their 16 Serie A meetings with Juventus. The Bianconeri have won 11 and there have been four draws.
- However, the Flying Donkeys are actually undefeated in the three most recent fixtures between the sides.
- While Juventus have received plenty of plaudits and praise for their start to the season, Chievo are just three points behind and could move level with their opponents should they win.
- Sunday's hosts are unbeaten at home this season after four competitive games at Stadio Bentegodi.
- On a similar note, Juventus remain undefeated in the league this season after five fixtures.
- The run also stretches back into the previous campaign, as the Old Lady have suffered just one reverse in their past 15 matches: a defeat to Parma in May.
- Claudio Marchisio (pictured) is his side's top scorer with three goals so far, which is just one less than he managed in all of 2010-11.
- Long-term injury victim Fabio Quagliarella last scored for Juventus in the corresponding fixture last season, which finished in a 1-1 draw on December 19, 2010.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chievo 0-2 Juventus
- 34.79 %
Chievo 0-3 Juventus
- 17.88 %
Chievo 1-3 Juventus
- 13.97 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 16, 2014||Juventus 3 - Chievo 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 25, 2013||Chievo 1 - Juventus 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 3, 2013||Chievo 1 - Juventus 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Sep 22, 2012||Juventus 2 - Chievo 0|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Mar 3, 2012||Juventus 1 - Chievo 1|
|Mar 2, 2014||Atalanta 2 - Chievo 1||ITA1|
|Feb 23, 2014||Chievo 2 - Catania 0||ITA1|
|Feb 16, 2014||Juventus 3 - Chievo 1||ITA1|
|Feb 8, 2014||Udinese 3 - Chievo 0||ITA1|
|Feb 2, 2014||Chievo 0 - Lazio 2||ITA1|
|21||Nicolas Sebastien Frey||Defender|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
|-||Alessandro Del Piero||Striker|
The once-capped Italy international has played over 300 games for the Flying Donkeys in his 11 years in Verona. He is not only the club captain and on-field leader but also their primary goal threat. The 32-year-old is currently joint-top scorer with Davide Moscardelli this season, having netted twice in four appearances - and his team-mates will look to him to breach Gianluigi Buffon's net.
The 32-year-old has been in exceptional form for both club and country so far this campaign. His influence has helped guide his side to the top of the table and drawn praise from all quarters, including Juventus and Italy legend Fabio Cannavaro. And while Catania general manager Pietro Lo Monaco may have exaggerated the situation when he said "If you take him [Pirlo] out [of the Juventus team], the others become like ants," the point had its basis in reality - Pirlo's presence is crucial to the continuing success of Antonio Conte's side.
With both teams in reasonable early-season form this could be a tight match - but, in Andrea Pirlo, Juventus have a man who could make the difference, and his craft could help his side create the one opportunity needed to eke out a narrow victory.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed