Both Juventus and Chievo go into the new campaign with optimism – both sides enjoyed a positive run-in to the 2008/09 season.
Still, Juventus have had the better of the Gialloblu in recent meetings, with the Turin based side winning four of their last five matches. The odd game out however, was this tie last April. Chievo were on a great run which would eventually guarantee them their place in Serie A. The game was a thrilling 3-3 draw, and the Verona based side will be hoping to repeat the feat this weekend. They will go into this game after a 3-0 win over Mantova in the Coppa Italia last weekend – and Juventus will have taken heart from their own recent performances against both Inter and Milan over the past week. Despite the loss on penalties to the latter, their pre season has shown encouraging signs, none more so than the manner in which new signing Diego seems to have taken to Italian football.
After deploying a 4-3-3 formation last season, given the players he had at his disposal at the time – Coach Ciro Ferrara has now opted for a more fluid 4-3-1-2 system with Diego pulling the strings in the trequartista role behind the first-choice pairing of Amauri and Alessandro Del Piero. Midfielders Tiago and Mohamed Sissoko are out through injuries, and new signing Felipe Melo is carrying over a ban from last season – so promising youngster Claudio Marchisio will be given the nod ahead of Christian Poulsen. He will line up beside Mauro Camoranesi and Hasan Salihamidzic. Ferrara’s only other injury worry is Sebastian Giovinco who could be out for a number of weeks.
21 Grygera – 5 Cannavaro – 3 Chiellini – 19 Molinaro
16 Camoranesi – 8 Marchisio – 7 Salihamizdzic
11 Amauri – 10 Del Piero
Former Parma Tactician Domenico Di Carlo will stick with his favoured 4-3-1-2 formation, with the South American duo of Mario Yepes and Santiago Morero forming a reliable defensive barrier. On-loan Udinese midfielder Giampiero Pinzi will look to stamp his authority on the game and attempt to thread balls through to a probable strike force of club captain Sergio Pellissier and Uruguayan striker Pablo Granoche who could start – but Di Carlo will still be hoping to recover the injured Albanian Erjon Bogdani.
21 Frey – 33 Yepes – 2 Morero – 4 Mantovani
10 Luciano – 7 Marcolini – 16 Rigoni
23 Bogdani – 31 Pellissier
The Flying Donkeys could not face a tougher start to a campaign. However, opening games have thrown up a surprise or two in previous seasons. Solidity and team-work will form the basis of Chievo’s fight for survival and their general approach to games. As Tactician Di Carlo has adopted a more defensive formation this term – he will ask his players to soak up pressure from Juventus before hitting them on the break, using the speed of Luciano and Luca Rigoni and the finishing prowess of leading marksman Pellissier to stun the Bianconeri.
Juventus captain Del Piero has already expressed the team’s intent to start the season with a morale boosting win- and with the home crowd on their side it is hard to envisage any other sort of outcome to this game.