Turin's finest gets his derby day. - Valerio Pennicino
/Runs around with bull horns because it's the cool thing to do
Quite a lot has changed since the last Derby della Mole. I won't list them all for you, but it will be pretty easy to figure out by a picture or two. Like I said, not all that difficult to get once you make a few clicks.
But now with Toro back on the fixture list, the Turin Derby gets its chance to take place again, the first since the 2008-09 season. It's been a little while, guys. What you've been up to? Oh, that's right. Don't need to answer. I think we know where they've been.
Now it's time to show them what they've been missing, right?
(Oh, God. I sound like a Juventus YouTube preview now.)
After the loss to Milan, Juventus are off to start a new unbeaten streak after the last one went all of about a hand's worth of fingers. Torino, in their own right, are losers of two of the last three games — most recently falling 2-0 in the Coppa Italia to Siena.
This ain't the Coppa Italia. This is a jam-packed Juventus Stadium. AVANTI.
The two rivals' overall places in the Serie A table have pretty much been as many thought they would — Juventus is at the top and Toro just a few points out of the relegation zone. It's still only November and the standings are obviously not set in concrete, but if it ended this kind of way, I wouldn't be all that surprised.
The team is rightfully angry after the loss to Milan — and that's the way it should. They played poorly, recognized it — not feeding us any kind of BS in the process — and are now hopefully going to take out said anger on their city rivals. We saw what Juve did in the aftermath of the Inter loss, so if it's anything like that for the next month or so, you won't find me objecting to it.
On top of that, there's the fact Juve have been sitting on the Milan suckfest for the last six days. That could be a good thing, but also a bad thing. I'll side on the good and assume Antonio Conte did some screaming at the entire squad during their double training session on Tuesday. Or the training session on Wednesday. Or Thursday. Yeah, I just hope Conte gave them a piece of his mind and let the players know how he really felt about Sunday's 1-0 loss.
Injuries are starting to pile up again. Giorgio Chiellini, Simone Pepe, Martin Caceres, and Arturo Vidal have all missed some sort of time training at Vinovo this week. Chiellini missed the loss to Milan last weekend, but has come out and stated he's set to go for the Turin derby. Pepe seems to be picking up injuries whenever his body finally decides to be fully fit, so who knows when he'll be back. And Caceres, who filled in for Chiellini against Milan, twisted his ankle in training on Tuesday. Dammit.
Luckily for us, Juventus have assembled a damn good squad, so I'm not all that worried. If this was two or three years ago, you might see me sitting in the corner in something that likely resembled the fetal position.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. How much squad rotation will take place? It's a derby, yes. But it's also a derby that's 72 hours prior to a decisive Champions League game in Ukraine against Shakhtar. See, not so easy. Reports surfaced mid-week that Vidal will be rested in favor of Paul Pogba, something I wholeheartedly support. (Did you see Vidal against Milan? Yeah, he didn't play very well. Time for a rest, Arthur.) Other moves may be in store, especially with some fitness situations still somewhat unresolved.
2. The Arturo Vidal effect — if he plays. Rumors are flying around the interwebs and Italian papers that King Arturo will be rested in favor of Paul Pogba. And seeing as what kind of performance Vidal had against Milan, I'm all for it. It seems like this seems to be the pattern for Vidal this season, doesn't it? He plays well, then kinda has a bad game or two, then rests, then comes back to the lineup. So, if Antonio Conte wants to rest Vidal and give Pogba a start, you won't find me objecting to it — especially with Shakhtar waiting in the wings.
3.The Andrea Pirlo effect. Speaking of midfielders who struggled against Milan last Sunday, we present to you the bearded wonder known as Jon Bon Pirlo. Other than his fantastic facial hair, not much looked right when it came to Pirlo's game. His passes were off — a lot. His through balls were off — a lot. It was just a bad game all around for Juve's maestro.
4. The Giorgio Chiellini effect. As pointed out above, Giorgio of the Jungle has given himself the green light to take part in tomorrow's derby. I fear that he may rush himself, but he gets the go-ahead from the medical staff as well, there's really nothing we can do about it. His presence wasn't all that missed because of how well Caceres played, but there's no denying that Chiellini's form has been fantastic lately.
5. The wingers — no matter who plays. For the first time in a number of games, it seems like the players who will ba manning both the left and the right flanks is up in the air. Mauricio Isla's complete stinker against Milan didn't help this, but with Shakhtar on the horizon, it's unsure who will start on the right. Most outlets are saying it's the Swiss Army tank, Mr. Lichtsteiner — and the way he played against Chelsea is certainly proper evidence. As for the left, most are thinking that Kwadwo Asamoah will get a rest due to Shakhtar mid-week. If so, that's fine with me.
My starting XI (4-4-2): Buffon; Zebina, Mellberg, Chiellini, Molinaro; Salihamidzic, Poulsen, Marchisio, Giovinco; Amauri, Iaquinta
Wait. That was the last time Juventus played Torino.
Okay, for real now...
My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Giovinco, Quagliarella
KICKOFF TIME: 8:45 P.M. IN ITALY, 2:45 P.M. ON THE EAST COAST, 11:45 A.M. ON THE WEST/BEST COAST.