As Serie A returns from the international break, Juventus Stadium plays host to the strangest of top-versus-bottom clashes. The home side, following disappointing losses to AS Roma and Udinese have yet to register a point in 2015/16, while Chievo arrive in Turin with the maximum six points.
Indeed, the Veronese side have been hugely impressive, beginning the campaign with a 3-1 victory over Empoli and following that up with a 4-0 rout of Lazio. Coach Rolando Maran arrived in October, helping them avoid relegation once again as they steadily climbed the table to finish in 14th place.
His tactics saw them remain a dour and functional side, but one that proved hugely difficult to score against—only Juve, Roma and Lazio conceded fewer goals than their tally of 41 last term.
Yet, they struggled at the opposite end of the field, netting just 28 times, which was the lowest total in Serie A by some distance. It remains to be seen if they can maintain their explosive start, and La Madama has long been a difficult opponent for Chievo, who have lost their last six meetings with the Old Lady.
The Bianconeri will be looking to improve their own fortunes, with a number of new signings added to the side and some familiar faces returning from injury. Coach Massimiliano Allegri will hope those two factors lead to a dramatic change in performance as they prepare for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Manchester City.
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST (2:45 p.m. ET)
Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin
TV Info: BT Sport Europe (UK), beIN Sports (U.S.)
Live Stream: Bein Sports Connect (U.S.)
Last five results (Serie A unless otherwise stated):
|Marseille 2-0 Juventus (Friendly)||Atalanta 1-1 Chievo (Friendly)|
|Juventus 2-0 Lazio (Super Cup)||Vicenza 2-1 Chievo (Friendly)|
|Juventus A 1-0 Juventus B (Friendly)||Chievo 0-1 Salernitana (Coppa Italia)|
|Juventus 0-1 Udinese||Empoli 1-3 Chievo|
|AS Roma 2-1 Juventus||Chievo 4-0 Lazio|
Juventus (4-3-1-2): Gigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Stefano Sturaro, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba; Hernanes; Alvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala
Unavailable: Sami Khedira (injured), Kwadwo Asamoah (injured), Patrice Evra (suspended), Rubinho (suspended)
Chievo (4-4-2): Albano Bizzarri; Nicolas Frey, Dario Dainelli, Bostjan Cesar, Massimo Gobbi; Valter Birsa, Nicola Rigoni, Perparim Hetemaj, Lucas Castro; Alberto Paloschi, Riccardo Meggiorini
Unavailable: Ivan Radovanovic (injured)
Player to Watch
The clear danger man for Juventus to watch on Saturday is Alberto Paloschi, one of the most underrated and unappreciated strikers in Serie A. The 25-year-old began his career with Milan, growing up in their youth sector before making his debut in February 2008, scoring almost immediately.
Struggling to find space with the Rossoneri, however, he would move on to Parma, where he netted 12 goals in the following campaign. A subsequent switch to Genoa failed to see him shine, and he was sent to Chievo ahead of the 2011/12 season, his first two years there passing him by.
But 2013/14 saw Paloschi finally deliver on his obvious early promise, netting 15 times, and he bagged nine more goals last term. He has already struck three times in this season’s opening two fixtures, and the Juventus defence will need to be aware of him at all times.
If one former Milan man in Paloschi poses the biggest threat for Chievo, there is also another whom Allegri and his players must pay attention to. Valter Birsa has been at the heart of everything positive from the Gialloblu so far this term, creating the openings from which their goals have flowed.
The Slovenian midfielder has found the back of the net twice, and has weighed in with no fewer than three assists in his side’s opening two matches. The task of marshalling Birsa is likely to fall to Claudio Marchisio, with the Turin native expected to recover from injury in time to face Chievo.
With Sami Khedira likely to remain sidelined, the Italian international will be deployed at the centre of the Juventus midfield, making the two men direct opponents on Saturday in a clash that could well decide the outcome of the match.
Odds (via Odds Shark)
Away win: 117-10
Home win: 25-119