How Juventus Will Line Up Against Genoa
Antonio Conte tried to change things at the Santiago Bernabeu, and even though the end result was defeat, a back four appeared to at least be worth examining further.
Leonardo Bonucci dropped to the bench and Martin Caceres and Angelo Ogbonna came in to play at full-back.
The playacting from Cristiano Ronaldo conned the referee into sending off Giorgio Chiellini, making the Bianconeri's task even more difficult, but the character shown by his players will please Conte.
SKY- That wasn't a sending off for Chiellini. Pogba- "It was shocking. It wasn't a red card, but the ref made that decision regardless."— Aaron Giambattista (@agiamba) October 23, 2013
The Old Lady could have stolen a point with Sebastian Giovinco guilty of wasting a chance to drive straight towards goal.
Genoa present a different challenge on the domestic scene this weekend, which will probably mean that Juve are tasked with breaking down the opposition, rather than the reactionary tactics needed against Los Merengues, who assumed control in Madrid.
Conte appears to be content with bringing back his tried-and-tested 3-5-2 system, but with a twist.
With Stephan Lichtsteiner's absence likely to continue through injury, Conte is unsatisfied by the reserve options at right midfield.
Simone Padoin has failed to impress, while Mauricio Isla was even snubbed at the Stadio Artemio Franchi last Sunday when Marco Motta was incredulously put on as Juve tried to stem the relentless waves of Viola attacks.
The other problem that continues is at the heart of the side, with Paul Pogba's form meaning his is now a permanent fixture in the Juve starting lineup, but with Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal also available, there is a selection dilemma for the coach.
It appears as if Pogba might be prepared to move to the wing, a role that he played for half-an-hour when Juve were chasing the match against Galatasaray.
Kwadwo Asamoah was given a torrid time by Joaquin last Sunday and paid the price by being dropped to the bench for the Champions League midweek, but the Ghanaian will come back in at left midfield after Ogbonna failed to command consecutive starts.
With injury concerns for Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella, Conte can consider himself fortunate to have Fernando Llorente showing signs that he is about to enter a rich vein of form.
The Spaniard equalised against Real Madrid with a quick reaction to Iker Casillas' save from Pogba's header, and now it will be a case of whether he can develop a better understanding with Carlos Tevez.
The Grifone will present a stern test for Juve, and with three draws in the last four matches between the two teams, Gian Piero Gasperini will be hopeful that his second spell in charge of the Gialloblu can continue to prosper.
But preparations appeared to have been marred with the news that central midfielder Matuzalem has had a brush with the law, reported by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which could make his presence at the Juventus Stadium this weekend in doubt.
Francelino Matuzalem was stopped by Police last night on the seafront at Arenzano while intoxicated #JuveGenoa— Omid Zamani (@Juventus__fan) October 25, 2013
With Gasperini's 3-4-3 formation, the clash of styles should make for a thoroughly entertaining game with a huge variety of tactics on display.
Off the field though, Juve have received better news with a new kit sponsorship, announced on the club's official website, with Adidas to commence in 2015.
The deal will run over six years and bring in €139.5 million, aligning the club with some of the biggest kit sponsorships in Europe.
Juventus will earn as much as Bayern Munich and Arsenal with Adidas' kit sponsorship and merchandise deals. Juve leapfrog over Milan & City.— Signore Calcio (@SignoreCalcio) October 24, 2013
Probable XI: Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Paul Pogba, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Kwadwo Asamoah; Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente.
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