Serie A Preview: Juventus - Siena

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    RefreSh
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    Serie A Preview: Juventus - Siena

    Post by RefreSh on Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:42 am



    What: Serie A Week 18
    Who: Juventus - Siena
    When: Sunday January 11 2008, 15:00CET
    Where: Stadio Olimpico Grande, Turin

    Old Lady Ready To Restart Her Engine

    Juventus head into the new year with great expectations. A decent challenge for the Scudetto is needed and Siena represent an easy chance to snap up three points and close the six point gap with Inter.

    Coach Claudio Ranieri demanded a good performance against Monaco in the mid-week friendly. The display was not special from the Bianconeri as they showed some old frailties and things will need to change against Siena.

    Juve headed into the Christmas break in stunning form. Unbeaten in four Serie A matches, they racked up 13 goals during those fixtures. Only league leaders Inter have scored more and conceded less than the Bianconeri, and the Turin based side will be hoping to overtake their bitter rivals in the goals for and against chart. Their only slip up was the defeat to the French side in the exhibition match, but Ranieri will forgive his players if they take three points off Siena.

    Amauri has been key for the Old Lady this term. His 11 goals in 17 league games have been vital to Juve's Scudetto push. The Brazilian has a habit of scoring against the smaller teams and he will relish the chance to make his name stand out in the Capocannoniere charts.

    The Bianconeri's record against Siena is superb apart from last season's abysmal 1-0 loss away from home. In the last six matches between both bianconero teams, the Turin-based side have won five and lost one. In those games, the Old Lady has smashed a massive 13 goals against the Tuscan minnows, conceding just one. A great record and they will be looking to add to it this weekend.

    Juventus will take comfort from the fact that apart from rock bottom Chievo, Siena have the lowest goals for record in the league and with the Old Lady boasting a rock solid defence, all the odds are stacked heavily in favour of the two-time European Champions.

    Ranieri will be hoping the engines start up first time on Sunday after Tuesday night's stuttering in Messina. The players have had their annual Christmas service and so they should all be revved up and ready to speed towards maximum points against the lesser known Bianconeri.

    Siena Searching For Safety

    The first game of the year is always hard, especially after the break and the club will not be looking forward to a trip to snow covered Turin on what is likely to be a frozen Sunday afternoon.

    However, Marco Giampaolo's men are still feeling the heat from their 2-1 defeat to Inter on the final Serie A game of 2008. Many will remember the way Robur lost out to Jose Mourinho's side because of fatal errors. All the rage and frustration is likely to come out against Juve, and thus the players will be all fired up heading to Turin.

    The Bianconeri are well on course to reach their Serie A safety target. Giampalo's side are currently two points off 13th place which is an astonishing achievement given the fact that they finished last season in that position.

    Europe is likely to remain a dream, but they will not be dreaming in the Tuscan town if they manage to pull off the near impossible and beat Juve on Sunday. The records go against Siena in every way, but the Old Lady have various injury problems to deal with and, following the Inter game, the Toscani will fancy their chances. In their last six games, Siena have won twice, lost three times and drawn once.

    Their lack of a goal threat up front has taken its toll even though Houssine Kharja, Massimo Maccarone and Abdel Ghezzal have been impressive but only in phases. The trio have only scored seven goals between them this term.

    As well as this, the team has only won once away from home all season. The other eight matches ended in seven losses and a draw. All the players can do is hope that a lacklustre Juventus turn up and maybe, just maybe, they will pull off the first shock of the year.

    Form Guide

    Juventus


    Dec 21: Atalanta 1-3 Juventus (Serie A)

    Dec 14: Juventus 4-2 Milan (Serie A)

    Dec 7: Lecce 1-2 Juventus (Serie A)

    Nov 29: Juventus 4-0 Reggina (Serie A)

    Nov 22: Inter 1-0 Juventus (Serie A)

    Siena

    Dec 20: Siena 1-2 Inter (Serie A)

    Dec 14: Palermo 2-0 Siena (Serie A)

    Dec 7: Napoli 2-0 Siena (Serie A)

    Nov 30: Siena 1-0 Torino (Serie A)

    Nov 23: Chievo 0-2 Siena (Serie A)

    Team News

    Juventus have a number of players who have returned from injury. Although Gianluigi Buffon has recovered, he picked up a minor knock on Thursday and he is looking doubtful. The Italian shot-stopper played a part against Monaco but unlikely to face Siena, leaving Alex Manninger to play against his old side.

    Giorgio Chiellini has improved and he is expected to be in the squad, but, like Buffon, he could be in doubt. Mauro Camoranesi is still recovering from a calf strain while Hasan Salihamidzic picked up a tendon injury against the French side and his appearance is unlikely. Fortunately Ranieri has no suspensions to contend with.

    Probable Starting XI 4-4-2: Buffon, Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Molinaro, Marchionni, Nedved, Marchisio, Sissoko, Del Piero, Amauri.

    Siena will be without Luca Rossettini, Daniele Ficagna and Nicola Belmonte who are all in the treatment room. Captain Simone Vergassola is looking doubtful with an Achilles tendon injury and he has been training on his own this week. However, he could start if he recovers in time. Massimo Maccarone is undergoing a separate programme to his team-mates, but he is expected to start against the Turin giants. Gianluca Curci has a two match ban and this Emanuele Manitta will start in goal.

    Probable Starting XI 4-3-1-2: Manitta, Zuniga, Brandao, Portanova, Del Grosso, Codrea, Galloppa, Vergassola, Kharja, Ghezzal, Maccarone.

    Players To Watch

    Juventus: Keep an eye on Amauri; The Brazilian is on 11 goals so far this term and he will be looking to use this game as a chance to rack up plenty and take a lead in the top-scorers chart. The big hit-man is in stunning form and he is expecting to start off 2009 by banging in some goals.

    Siena: Watch out for Houssine Kharja. The Moroccan international has been outstanding for his side this term. His attacking threat will be key to Siena's chances of success this season. He has a lethal shot and his passing is pinpoint. Buffon will need to watch out for the unexpected strikes from outside the box.

    Prediction

    There is only one winner in this one and, although it might be hard to tell because they both wear the same colours, it will be the Bianconeri from Turin who take maximum points. Siena will put up a fight, but Juve are just too strong and home advantage will be key.

    Juventus 3-0 Siena


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