Sunday sees Udine's depleted squad come to town for what Juventus fans can only hope will be an epic display of ruthlessness and unreserved determination against them. Truth be told, I can't remember the last time any team was this absent of their attacking threats. So although I look forward to a beat down this weekend, I doubt I'll be bragging about the three points here. If anything, there will be hell to pay if Juventus doesn't come away with a convincing victory at home in this one.
Ferrara's men have had quite some time to rest and refocus during the long international break so I don't want to hear excuses from the team before or after this one regardless of our Champions League fixture against Bordeaux on Wednesday. Of which I'm happy to announce, Milan's trash and Bordeaux's treasure, Yoann Gourcuff might be unavailable in that one due to a groin problem he picked up against Ireland on international duty. Fucking Henry. On a side note, Bordeaux just lost it's first home game of the season today losing 1-0 against Valenciennes which lets Lyon go level with them on points in Ligue 1. Both Gourcuff and forward Marouane Chamakh weren't featured.
Back to Sunday's game. On Udinese's side of the ball, like I was saying earlier, they've got a nice stockpile of injuries themselves and a key suspension that will severely hinder their chances of coming away with win in Turin. Giovanni Pasquale, Alexis Sanchez, Simone Pepe, Christian Obodo, Antonio Floro Flores and Damiano Ferronetti are all out injured. Last but certainly not least, Antonio Di Natale will be watching this game from the sidelines as the diminutive striker is suspended following his fourth yellow card of the season he picked up for taking his protest against a referee too far in a match versus Fiorentina last week.
Udinese coach Pasquale Marino will obviously miss Toto. But without forward Floro Flores, who I consider to be very underrated, and Simone Pepe, who's craftiness on the wings I definitely won't miss, Marino's hands are unquestionably tied. D'Agostino can't do this all by himself especially when Ciro's sure to employ either Poulsen, Momo, or Melo to closely mark the Palermo born midfielder. You want to talk about motivation Gaetano? Well Ferrara won't have any problem getting Felipe up for this one either. The battle of Juventus' transfer targets last year should be good to watch.
On our side of the ball, the injuries aren't as grim. While Iaquinta is still unavailable until the beginning of December, Trezeguet will be out for month after an MRI confirmed a problem in his left calf muscle that he picked up in practice Thursday. T-Rez however will be given a prize for his goals record he achieved vs. Atalanta before Sunday's kick-off. Salihams is still injured for God knows how long and Alessio's favorite defender Jonathan Zebina is out because of a fractured perm. Also, neither Marchisio or Tiago will be featured here but Wednesday's CL game might be a different story.
The biggest news concerning our infirmary however is our captain's return from injury. Alessandro Del Piero's season can finally begin. With close to 15 days of uninterrupted training with the first team, Alex The Great is ready to impress once again. Here are some pre-match comments about Del Piero made by coach Ciro:
"Del Piero is a second striker who likes to meet the game and start off from outside, to then go to the centre. He prefers a specific pitch area, remaining anyway a striker. I won’t clearly say how we will play tomorrow, but if we’ll go on with the same module of the last matches, being a left external among playmakers is a position that Alessandro can well cover, of course with different characteristics".
"But we cannot expect he can cover the complete band, and therefore we’ll find a right balance. But like we played in the last matches anyway, I don’t think that Giovinco has such defensive characteristics. Alessandro Diego and Camoranesi can surely play together".
"Having Del Piero at our disposal is a great advantage, for the strength he passes on to the group and for what he can do on the pitch. We missed him in this period, but [those] who played for him behaved well".
I can see two possibilities for tomorrow's line-up: 1) Ciro goes for the 4-2-3-1 and employs Del Piero to the left of Diego right from the start with Amauri as the lone striker, or 2) Ciro goes for the 4-2-3-1 and Alex starts on the bench with Seba given the nod. As you can see, I'm totally not giving the 4-3-1-2 a chance. With Trezeguet and Iaquinta both out, Ferrara will most likely not start the only two strikers he has at his disposal at once (here Immobile might an interesting option). The second possibility, where Giovinco starts, seems to make more sense as it provides Ferrara with more room to manoeuvre Del Piero and place him where he's needed the most throughout the game. Of course I could be totally wrong on this. As long as we win though I'm sure I'll survive.
IERI... OGGI... DOMANI... SEMPRE JUVE!!!