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Matthew Coccoluto On December - 21 - 2011

Juventus Review and Preview: Win Against Novara Now Face Udinese

Another week and another win, as Juventus roll through Novara to keep their unbeaten streak intact. It was always going to be a tall task for Novara as they entered the Juventus stadium and the home team was unfortunate to not score more. Although the visitors did have a few chances, this match was all Juve.

Juventus had a little different look to start this game, as Conte chose a few players who had not started many games this season. Up top, Quagliarella and Del Piero were thrown together as well as the inclusion of Emanuele Giaccherini after two impressive displays prior this week. Paolo De Ceglie also earned a start as Juventus were without Leonardo Bonucci forcing Chiellini to switch back into the center. The game got started off right and it wasn’t long before Juventus forced Novara’s keeper into action. Fabio Quagliarella did well to cut back to Claudio Marchisio but his one timer sailed straight at Samir Ujkani. Moments later the bianconeri found their lead in the form of who else but Simone Pepe. De Ceglie, pushing up the wing sent in a low cross, making it easy for the oncoming Simone Pepe to nail it home. Giaccherini and Del Piero were both unfortunate to not have their names on the score sheet. Giaccherini had a clear opportunity on goal but his shot lacked the power get by Ujkani.  Il Capitano was found at the edge of the box and sent in a curler on goal but his effort went just wide. The first half finished Juve on top just 1-0 as finishing continues to be a problem for Antonio Conte’s men.

The home side came out the second half in similar fashion to the first, consistently pushing forward. Del Piero came very close to scoring once again, but Pinturicchio’s curling effort went wide. Everything seemed to be going Juve’s way until Michel Morganella found Raffaele Rubino who forced Gigi to make a vintage Buffon save. Almost ten minutes later, in the 74th, Juventus doubled their lead when Fabio Quagliarella found Pepe’s ball and headed it home. This was his first goal of the season and his first since December 2010. The game would end 2-0 and thanks to a 2-2 draw between Lazio and Udinese, Juve go back to sole leaders of the league, two points ahead of Milan and Udinese.

It is a short celebration for Conte’s men, as they have to travel east, for a Wednesday match against Udinese, a make up game for the first week of the season that was canceled due to the players’ strike. This will be the last game of 2011, and although Conte told his men to focus solely on Novara, it was clear that the manager had Wednesday’s match in mind when he decided to start Matri on the bench, while Francesco Guidolin did similar with Antonio Di Natale. Leonardo Bonucci and Arturo Vidal will come back after serving their suspension. Expect Conte to go back to his traditional line-up with the only difference probably coming on the wing. After a successful start for Fabio Quagliarella and a few good performances from Emanuele Giaccherini it would be a surprise if one of them didn’t get the nod.

Francesco Guidolin will be hoping his men have the legs to go a full ninety, as this will be Udinese’s third game in one week. Udinese will be without Mehdi Benatia. Antonio Conte will have his hands full with this match. After selling off a number of key players this past season, some felt (myself included) that Udinese would not be able to be as competitive this year as last. That is not the case, as Guidolin has his men playing wonderful football and Di Natale looks to be the first three straight Capocannoniere in almost twenty years (Michele Platini 82-85). This season Udinese are perfect at home; 7 wins, 0 draws, 0 loses. They have also not loss at home since April 23, 2021 to Parma.

Probable  Starting XI Line-up

Juventus : Buffon; Lichsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini; Marchisio, Pirlo, Vidal; Giaccherini, Matri, Pepe

Udinese : Handanovic; Danilo, Ferronetti, Domizzi; Asahmoah, Isla, Pinzi, Armero, Basta; Di Natale, Floro Flores

Matthew Coccoluto

Originally from Boston now in LA. I work in production but football is my passion. I bleed black and white. Proud member of the Juventus Fan Club of Southern California. Forza Juve, Sempre Sara.

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