Cold as ice.
The temperature will come close to -20 degrees Celsius, or -4 degrees Fahrenheit, in Poznan Poland for Wednesday’s Europa League match against Juventus. Thankfully the field is heated so we won’t be playing on a frozen pitch. That said the Bianconeri will still find it challenging to play amidst the cold air. Your sweat freezes, your lungs burn, and the ball becomes a rock. Everything contracts, especially testicles. Gentlemen, good luck. At the pre-game press conference Del Neri had this to say about the climate;
“Also in Turin the weather has not been that warm lately, what important is that the pitch won’t be iced. After all, cold weather is cold for everyone. Lech is more used to it, but also to us happened to play with below zero temperatures. I don’t think this will be determinant.”
Contrast that with what Arsene Wenger had to say about this match;
"It's not going to be easy for Juventus because Lech Poznan defeated Manchester City there. Arsenal played at Legia Warsaw before the beginning of the season. So I can tell you that going to Poland now, in December, it's going to be very tough. Lech Poznan have already beaten Manchester City, so now they will think why not defeat Juventus too? It's going to be a very tough game."
Who translates Juventus' website? Anyways, the line-up looks like a bit of patch work between the primavera and those who aren’t injured or disqualified. In attack Del Piero will get his ninety minutes alongside Iaquinta since Quagliarella is cup-tied and Amauri is injured. From the primavera, Libertazzi and Giannetti will be the forwards on the bench.
In midfield Marchisio and Sissoko will start in the centre as Melo will be rested, but on the bench if needed. Lanzafame, Pepe, Krasic, Liviero, Giandonato, and Buchel are the midfielders available for this one, but Aquilani is cup-tied. The big question mark here will be where Pepe will play.
Since Sorensen wasn’t called up for this match and Motta still has a bad back, Pepe or the young Camilleri could start at right-back. Should Simone start in defense, expect Lanzafame to take his place in midfield. Should Camilleri start, expect Pepe to take his usual place ahead of Lanzafame.
Speaking of defence, Traore will almost certainly start at left-back. Grygera, De Ceglie, Rinaudo, and Legrottaglie are all injured, plus Grosso isn’t allowed by UEFA to play. In the centre of defence we’ll have Chiellini and Bonucci starting with the primavera De Paola, or Camilleri as back-ups. In net, although Manninger is our designated Europa League goalkeeper, he may not be 100% fit so Storari could be in his place.
The Quilt: Goalkeepers: Storari, Manninger, Constantine. Defenders: Chiellini, Bonucci, Traoré, Camilleri, De Paola. Midfielders: Felipe Melo, Sissoko, Marchisio, Lanzafame, Pepe, Krasic, Liviero, Giandonato, Buchel. Forwards: Iaquinta, Del Piero, Libertazzi, Giannetti.
Finally, I know most of us don't care about this competition for a number of reasons. But this match marks the first time we visit Poland since Gaetano Scirea was killed in a car accident while on a scouting mission on September 3 1989. So to mark that horrible event, let's give him a reason to smile from up there.
IERI... OGGI... DOMANI... SEMPRE JUVE!!!