Chievo-Juventus Preview: Bianconeri looking to bounce back against Gialloblu
Having seen their lead at the top of Serie A reduced to just three points, Antonio Conte's side will hope to get back to winning ways against Eugenio Corini's resurgent outfit
By Max Bentley
Dainelli, Andreolli, Cesar
Vacek, Guana, Rigoni, Cofie, Jokic
Barzagli, Marrone, Caceres
Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba, De Ceglie
The Bianconeri are still reeling from Sergio Floccari's last-gasp header which knocked them out of the Coppa Italia semi-final in midweek and they are aware that they cannot afford to drop any more points in the race for a second successive Scudetto title.
Antonio Conte has a lengthy list of absentees for the trip to Chievo. Mirko Vucinic picked up his fourth booking of the season in the 1-1 draw against Genoa, meaning that he is suspended. Conte himself and Leonardo Bonucci are also suspended for two games for dissent towards officials against Genoa, whilst Giorgio Chiellini is banned for one match. Claudio Marchisio is expected to be out of action for between seven and 10 days with a hip injury sustained in the 2-1 defeat to Lazio and Kwadwo Asamoah is away at the Africa Nations with Ghana.
However, there is good news for the Old Lady, as influential midfielder Andrea Pirlo has fully recovered from injury and he should start in the centre of midfield alongside Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba. Fabio Quagliarella is expected to partner Sebastian Giovinco up front, with new signing Nicolas Anelka likely to start on the bench. Luca Marrone will be drafted into the heart of the Bianconeri defence.
Eugenio Corini has several injury worries of his own with Gennaro Sardo, Boukary Drame, Luciano and Sergio Pellissier all sidelined, whilst Mamadou Samassa is on international duty with Mali.
The 42-year-old coach is expected to name a similar side to the one which sprung an upset in the 1-0 victory over Lazio last week, but he is forced into one change with Kamil Vacek most likely to replace the injured Sardo. New signings Francesco Acerbi, Mario Sampirisi, Nikolaos Spyropoulos and Augustin Hauche are all pushing for starts but will most likely feature amongst the substitutes.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The Bianconeri possess a strong record at the Stadio Bentegodi, slipping to just one defeat in nine encounters contested to date.
- Chievo are undefeated in their last eight home matches in Serie A. The run stretches back to September 26 when they were defeated 2-0 by Inter.
- David Trezeguet remains the only player to net a hat-trick in this fixture. His came during Juventus’ 4-1 win in 2002-03.
- Juventus are undefeated in 18 of their last 19 matches against Chievo in all competitions.
- Chievo coach Eugenio Corini made 64 first-team appearances for Juventus between 1990-1992, scoring four goals from midfield.
- In the reverse fixture back in September, the Old Lady secured a 2-0 victory courtesy of a double from Fabio Quagliarella.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chievo 0-3 Juventus
- 19.08 %
Chievo 0-2 Juventus
- 16.56 %
Chievo 1-3 Juventus
- 9.85 %
|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|
The 23-year-old striker, on loan from AC Milan, was the Flying Donkeys' hero in their last outing, scoring the solitary goal in a 1-0 win away at high-flying Lazio. With seven league goals to his name already this season (his highest in a Serie A campaign), Chievo will be relying on their talisman to get amongst the goals once again in a bid to upset the Italian champions.
Juventus' midfield is just not the same without Andrea Pirlo. The 33-year-old is the catalyst of Antonio Conte's side and with Pogba and Vidal alongside him in the middle of the pitch, expect the Old Lady to dictate the midfield battle. Fully recovered from the injury which has hampered his playing time in the last month, Pirlo will be looking to add to his Serie A tally of five goals and three assists.
The Stadio Bentegodi has become a fortress for the Gialloblu since Eugenio Corini took over from Domenico Di Carlo back in October, but I expect Juventus to bounce back from that last-gasp Coppa Italia semi-final defeat to Lazio in midweek, to end Chievo's eight-match unbeaten streak at home in Serie A.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed