Juventus-Chievo Preview: Round 4 — (Flying) Donkey Kong

The good thing about the busy parts of your schedule is that you fly by them in what seems like just a few hours. Let's be honest, does it really seem like Juve are about to play their third game within a week's time? It's like rapid fire. But, the bad part is that, well, there's a ton of games in an incredibly condensed amount of time and things can get a little bit — or a lotta — hectic.

Juventus have both right now,

After Wednesday night's emotional 2-2 draw at The Bridge against Chelsea, Juventus return home — literally. Tomorrow's match against Chievo is the first time in basically a month that our boys in Black and White have played in front of the home crowd at Juventus Stadium. Does it seem like it has been that long? I dunno. These damn international breaks just seem to screw everything up.

But who cares. Juve's back where they should be — home.

Avanti!

LE CHIAVI

In comes Chievo — who have only picked up three points in the season's first three games — to Turin. But regardless of how they may or may not be doing in the standings, this fixture has been quite a tricky one over the last couple of years. How tricky? Well, take a look for yourself. Yeah, not exactly the best results against a bottom-half-of-the-table kind of team like Chievo you'd want your team to have.

Juventus are expected to do some more squad rotating (more on that later) tomorrow night much in the same fashion that took place against Genoa. With Fiorentina, Roma and a Champions League meeting with Shakhtar on the horizon, Chievo seems like the natural spot in the schedule to play a good number of the bench guys to give the regulars some much deserved rest. And if Genoa was any kind of hint as to what may happen, the odds of squad rotation seems pretty good. So if you're a gambling person, maybe you should wait until things are looking a little better in your favor.

GOOD NEWS

We're at 42 games unbeaten and counting. Not too shabby.

BAD NEWS

Sergio Pellisier is healthy. /sits in corner of the room, goes into fetal position

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Recovery — physically and mentally. Not a lot of time to recover with the body and the mind. Wednesday's draw in London wasn't only taxing physically, but also for the head, as any Champions League game would be. I'm not so much overly worried about the mental part considering Antonio Conte has this team drilled to the core. But the physical part, with the schedule being so freaking compact right now, is something that has my attention. I know they're fit, but it's been a little while since some of these guys have played so many games in such a short period of time.
  • Andrea Pirlo. Not because he's been playing all that fantastic as of late, but due to the fact that he looks completely gassed. His performance against Chelsea on Wednesday was something we have rarely seen from Pirlo since he put on a Juventus jersey — it wasn't very good at all. We knew coming into this season that resting Pirlo from time to time was something that had to be done. He's 33 years old, people. That's not exactly close age-wise to the other guys he is paired with in the center of the park.
  • Paul Pogba. The 19-year-old Frenchman is being tipped as the player to replace Pirlo in the starting lineup if in fact the maestro starts on the bench. It would be Pogba's official debut in Serie A, having most recently played in the Trofeo Berlusconi win over Milan. And while that was only a small sample size as to what kind of player he is, Pogba can definitely establish himself as a useful piece off the bench if he puts in a good showing against Chievo. That's if he plays, of course.
  • Fabio Quagliarella. I'll admit this: When Quags was the first striker that came off the bench against Chelsea, I had my doubts. He certainly wasn't playing much at all to begin the season. And when he did see the field, it's not like he was looking all that dangerous. He was certainly a far cry from the player he was before his knee exploded right after the Christmas break a few years ago. But his performance against the reigning European champions was definitely a pleasant surprise — scored one goal, and was only a crossbar away from having another. He looks set to get the start against Chievo, which pretty much every Italian news outlet seems to be reporting. If he wants to score another goal or two, that's fine with me.

My Starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Bonucci, Marrone, Chiellini; Isla, Marchisio, Pogba, Giaccherini, Asamoah; Vucinic, Quagliarella

Juventus probable (3-5-2, via GDS): Buffon, Lucio, Barzagli, Chiellini; Isla, Marchisio, Pirlo, Giaccherini, Asamoah; Vucinic, Quagliarella

Chievo probable (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino; Sardo, Dainelli, Cesar, Jokic; Vacek, Rigoni, Hetemaj; Cruzado; Thereau, Pellissier

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