Undefeated streaks have one fatal flaw my friends, they include draws. In fact, an unbeaten streak is the bastard child of a winning streak. So let’s forget the much talked about stat for a moment, and focus on the things that got us here in the first place with our last match of 2010.
Del Neri returns to Verona where in his first of two stints as head coach of the Gialloblu, led them to their first ever Serie A promotion, and in their debut season, finished fifth overall qualifying for the UEFA cup; hence the term “Chievo miracle”. On a side note, Chievo led the league that year going into the winter break. Now with Juventus a decade or so later, Del Neri will be keen on finishing the year just as strong as his men travel to the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi in Verona.
Chievo’s head coach Stefano Pioli, who played three seasons for Juventus from 84-87, knows his side’s main objective is avoiding relegation, but his men haven’t forgotten what it feels like to beat a top team as they defeated Juventus in this fixture last year, and overcame Inter 2-1 earlier this season. Here's what Stefano had to say before Sunday's game:
“We come from two unexpected defeats that are hard to accept. The results, however, tell us that we did better against larger clubs than against teams that are fighting with us for salvation. Juventus was very important for my career as a player, but now it is an opponent. It is a tough team, which has organization, strength and enthusiasm so it will be a difficult game, but like all races, you do not start beaten. Juventus are well and will come to Bentegodi to win the game, but we know how important it is to try to recover immediately. I believe that there is no need for a speech to motivate the players, so few words and many facts on the field.”
Pioli will be without Thereau and Morero because of injury and Rigoni due to suspension. However Sergio Pellissier will be in the house, who’s leading the twelfth place team in goals and assists. Chievo will be in their standard 4-3-1-2 formation with Constant as the trequartista supplying Moscardelli and the aforementioned Pellissier in attack.
In Del Neri’s case, he’ll be without Marchisio and Del Piero because of injury and Melo due to suspension. Claudio’s right calf is still bothering him, and in Saturday’s training session Alex felt some pain in his right thigh muscle that’s kept him from starting on the bench. Also, Aquilani is in a race to be fit while Giandonato is ready to go just in case; here are the call-ups.
Juventus will field their standard 4-4-2 with Sorensen getting the nod at right-back, alongside Giorgione, Bonucci, and Grosso in defence. In midfield, Krasic will start at right wing beside Sissoko and either Aquilani or the Primavera captain Giandonato, with Pepe on the left. In attack there’ll be the pairing of Quagliagol and Iaquinta who’ve genuinely begun to show some signs of chemistry between each other.
Against Lazio the two were playing some tidy first-time passes to one another comfortably that leads one to believe they’re forming a more cohesive relationship. In any descent attacking partnership of the past, present, and future, knowing the other person’s tendencies is a minimum requirement for fruitful results. As it stands, Fabio and Vincenzo might be on their way to a very complimentary combination which will be interesting to look out for in 2011.
In more recent news, thanks to Claudio's early Christmas gift, Milan was defeated at home by Ranieri’s men with Borriello scoring the game’s only goal. That means Juventus, Napoli, and Lazio have a chance to play catch up tomorrow. Napoli should take care of business at home against Lecce, while Lazio look to beat Udinese at the Olimpico. In short, this weekend’s game versus Chievo is as important as it gets from here on out. For streams and last minute updates check the comments below. Credit goes out to Sposato al Nemico this time for the artwork.
IERI… OGGI… DOMANI… SEMPRE JUVE!!!