What: Serie A Championship, Week 8
Who: Juventus - Torino
When: Saturday October 25, 2008, 20:45CET
Where: Stadio Olimpico Grande, Turin, Italy
Bianconeri On The Way Up?
The Old Lady's predicament in Serie A has left plenty of questions unanswered but for those watching the Champions League game on Tuesday, the potential is clearly there for all to see. Although the club is flying high in Europe, they have let themselves down in Serie A, losing twice on the bounce against Napoli and Palermo via the same 2-1 scoreline. No-one has really come up with an answer to their woes in the league and the game against Torino, who are struggling and just a point above the relegation zone, will offer the Old Lady much hope to turn the frail form into firm consistency.
The club has given coach Claudio Ranieri the unavoidable vote of confidence amongst calls for the axe to drop on him. His reaction to the Real Madrid game was modest to say the least but the former Chelsea Tinkerman knows well that just one win in his side's last five games will not pull the mask over the critics beady eyes.
Inter are pulling away at the top of the table and anything less than a win could see the Old Lady wave good bye to the Tricolore. Ranieri's job seems safe for now and it is unlikely he will be given the boot at such a crucial stage of the season with fixtures against Roma and Inter coming up over the next month.
The atmosphere in the Olimpico Grande will hit fever pitch heights as both teams thrash it out for pride, points and a positive result in light of the recent problems in the league.Injuries have hit the Bianconeri badly, with Claudio Marchisio the latest casualty to be added on the crocked list. However, that's no excuse as a make shift side did the business in Europe.
More of the same is expected against Torino. The last Derby Della Mole finished 0-0 and fans will not be happy to see that scoreline again this time. Juve are on the way up and they need to sustain this with a much needed win against their bitter rivals from across town.
Torino Fighting For Survival
With relegation looming at such an early stage in the season, the pressure is on Toro to turn things around. Only one win in seven games with two draws and four defeats have left the club staring at the drop zone and a loss to Juve this weekend could see the Granata dragged into the mire.
Toro coach Gianni De Biasi knows it's his last chance saloon but he will not be served any drinks from unforgiving president Urbano Cairo unless, of course, he dishes out a win over Juventus. The next two games are crucial for the club as they take on high-flying Atalanta next week before clashing with fellow strugglers Sampdoria.
This game represents a cross road for Torino and it could well prove to be the turning point in their negative season. De Biasi is treading a thin line which could give way and send him crashing out of the club unless he turns his hand towards the magic wand and brings good fortune to his side.
Although their position suggests otherwise, the Granata will be no push-overs. In derby's they seem to pull it out of the bag and they are perfectly set up to frustrate the Old Lady. There is plenty to play for and only a good performance will do for the passionate Torino faithful who are still reeling from their side's poor start.
October 21: Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid (CL)
October 18: Napoli 2-1 Juventus (Serie A)
October 5: Juventus 1-2 Palermo (Serie A)
September 30: Bate Borisov 2-2 Juventus (CL)
September 27: Sampdoria 0-0 Juventus (Serie A)
October 19: Torino 0-1 Cagliari (Serie A)
October 5: Udinese 2-0 Torino (Serie A)
October 1: Torino 3-2 Livorno (Coppa Italia)
September 28: Torino 1-3 Lazio (Serie A)
September 24: Chievo 1-1 Torino (Serie A)
Juventus: Claudio Ranieri has a number of injuries to cope with, Momo Sissoko being the only central midfielder he has at his disposal following Claudio Marchisio's twisted ankle against Real Madrid. Jorge Andrade, David Trezeguet, Jonathan Zebina and Cristiano Zanetti are all out, while Mauro Camoranesi has been recovering well and began training with the team this week, although he is doubtful for the derby. Gianluigi Buffon is also unavailable as are Cristian Poulsen and Tiago.
Probable Starting XI 4-4-2: Manninger, Knezevic, De Ceglie, Chiellini, Grygera, Marchionni, Sissoko, Nedved, Salihamidzic, Del Piero, Amauri.
Torino: Matteo Sereni has been ruled out after he injured his ankle during training. The goalkeeper saved a shot from Abate with his foot and his ankle felt the full force as it gave way and twisted. Pisano, Malonga and Corini are still out while Pratali is suspended.
Probable Starting XI 4-4-1-1: Calderoni, Diana, Di Loreto, Rubin, Natali, Saumel, Dzemaili, Abate, Zanetti, Rosina, Amoruso.
Players To Watch
Juventus: Keep an eye out for captain and talisman Alessandro Del Piero. He was sublime against Real Madrid on Tuesday and he is determined to give his best for his side. He will be the one to provide the creativity for his side and he usually shines in big matches.
Torino: Alessandro Rosina will be the key factor for his side's chances of success. The second striker is keen on causing an upset and his powerful left foot will keep the Juve backline on their toes.
With so much at stake in terms of the rivalry, history and passion of the Derby Della Mole, this game is too close to call. Juventus have been blowing hot and cold while Torino have just been, well, cold.
On Paper, the Bianconeri are by far the strongest side and they should be favourites to win. The confidence from the midweek victory has given them real hope. However, Torino are not there just to make up the numbers and they will be playing for pride and points and the try and cause the Old Lady more tears