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Ciro Ferrara would be hoping for his Juve side to win again.....

Kick-off: Sunday, January 17, 2010, 15:00 CET.
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, Verona.

Loitering In Mid-Table

Chievo haven't made the best of starts to the New Year as they have lost all their three competitive games this year. 2010 started with the Flying Donkeys narrowly losing to Inter in Verona; last weekend they suffered another 1-0 defeat as they fell to Roma away while on Thursday they crashed out of the Coppa Italia as they were defeated 3-2 by Fiorentina in Florence.

Nevertheless, Chievo are 13th in the Serie A standings with 24 points from 19 games. They are just six points from a European place and it doesn't look that they would be sucked into the relegation mire.

However, the Flying Donkeys should be aware that they have to start garnering points from now on in order to establish themselves in mid-table. Their home form in the league isn't very inspiring as they have lost more games at the Bentegodi than they have won, although they would certainly fancy a chance against a shaky Juventus side.

Finding Their Feet

Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara's future at the club has been hanging by a thread for quite a long time now and many thought that the humiliating 3-0 defeat to Milan on Sunday night would be the final straw that would break the camel's back.

However, Juve issued a 'motion of confidence' and it appears that Ferrara will remain the coach of the Bianconeri. He celebrated that in style on Wednesday night as Juve defeated Napoli 3-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.

But it is the league that matters most to Juve supporters and Ferrara would have to start leading his players to wins in Serie A. Their overall form still looks bleak and grey, although the Turin side have won three of their last five away games in Serie A.


FORM GUIDE

Chievo

January 14 v Fiorentina (A) - LOST 3-2 (Coppa Italia)

January 9 v Roma (A) - LOST 1-0 (Serie A)

January 6 v Inter (H) - LOST 1-0 (Serie A)

December 20 v Napoli (A) - LOST 2-0 (Serie A)

December 13 v Fiorentina (H) - WON 2-1 (Serie A)

Juventus

January 13 v Napoli (H) - WON 3-0 (Coppa Italia)

January 10 v Milan (H) - LOST 3-0 (Serie A)

January 6 v Parma (A) - WON 2-1 (Serie A)

December 20 v Catania (H) - LOST 2-1 (Serie A)

December 12 v Bari (A) - LOST 3-1 (Serie A)

 

TEAM NEWS

Chievo

Moro and Scardina are unavailable while Pinzi, Morero, Rigoni and Mandelli are doubtful.

Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino, Frey, Mandelli, Yepes, Mantovani; Luciano, Rigoni, Marcolini; Pinzi; Abbruscato, Pellissier

Juventus

Juve have a host of injury problems ahead of their trip to Verona. Iaquinta, Camoranesi, Caceres, Trezeguet, Giovinco and Poulsen all have been ruled out of the clash with Chievo while Sissoko is unavailable because of his African Nations Cup commitment with Mali. Grygera, Legrottaglie, Diego, Grosso, Felipe Melo and Marchisio are struggling with injuries but legendary goalkeeper Buffon is back between the sticks after successfully recovering from a knee surgery.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Buffon, Grygera, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso; Salihamidzic, Felipe Melo, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Diego, Del Piero


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mario Yepes (Chievo)

The Colombian central defender was the best stopper on the pitch against Inter and stifled several Inter moves. But Yepes failed to maintain that form against Roma last week and made several mistakes. Nevertheless, Yepes has been a rock for Chievo at the back and he would be the key defender at the heart of the Veronese defence on Sunday.

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)

The legendary custodian is set to return after a spell on the sidelines and it is a massive news for Juventus. Gianluigi Buffon missed the Bianconeri's last three league games as well as Wednesday's Coppa Italia tie with Napoli, but will start against Chievo on Sunday afternoon. He said in a statement on his own official website, "After a one month break, I am ready to return. Everything has gone well and I have not had any problems in terms of recovery. I am hoping to be back between the sticks on Sunday against Chievo."


PREDICTION

Juventus wouldn't find it easy against Chievo in Verona but they should still do enough to garner a victory. The Flying Donkeys are struggling at the moment and have lost their last four matches in all competitions. It doesn't promise to be an entertaining game of football but Juve should nick it in the end.

Chievo 0-2 Juventus

Subhankar Mondal, Goal.com

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