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Matthew Coccoluto On December - 4 - 2011

Serie A Week 13 Preview: Cesena vs Juventus

Juventus fans, following the amazing comeback in Napoli on Tuesday, are probably feeling confident coming into this weekend’s fixture. However no one should get carried away, even when playing a team currently sitting in the relegation zone.  Anything is possible in football and, especially in Italy, even a league leader can be upset. The odds will certainly be stacked against Cesena as they step foot in Torino on Sunday to take on table toppers Juventus.

Things are going well for Antonio Conte. After going down early with a terrible display in the first half against Napoli, Juventus were able to turn things around and earn a very hard fought draw. Still unbeaten on the season, Juventus’ new home has played a large part in their success. In the 4 wins and 2 draws in Torino, they have scored a total of 14 goals while only allowing 5. The big news coming out of Juventus for this match is the suspension of Andrea Pirlo following the yellow card he received in Napoli. The absence of Pirlo will surely affect Juventus, as he has been the primary playmaker. However Claudio Marchisio, who had missed the previous match due to suspension, returns and will help fill in the void of the absent Pirlo. Reports out of Italy are suggesting Conte may rest some players for this week. It seems that Leonardo Bonucci, Simone Pepe, who are both one yellow card away from suspension, and Mirko Vucinic will all sit in favor of Paolo De Ceglie, Michele Pazienza and Fabio Quagliarella. This means Chiellini will shift back into the central defender role. Estigarribia will most likely start his second consecutive game after his fine performance in Naples. Also be on the lookout for the inclusion of Emmanuele Giaccherini as Conte may wish to give him some time against his former team.

Last year, the Emilia-Romana side started off their campaign with a surprise, drawing Roma and beating Milan 2-0. This year Cesena havn’t had much success. They started the campaign with four straight losses and currently sit second to last in the league with 7 losses, 3 draws, and only 2 wins. However they come into this match on a winning streak. They have won their last three competitive matches, two in the league and one in the Coppa Italia. The Seahorses have scored only 6 times this season while allowing 13, however in their last two league games they have scored 3 while keeping their opponents scoreless. Cesena also have some suspensions as they will be without Luca Ceccarelli and Nicola Ravaglia. Sunday’s match will be the first game in the new stadium for a few former Juventus players. Fans will welcome back Adrian Mutu and Antonio Candreva, who have been regular fixtures this season, scoring 4 of the total 6 goals for Cesena this season. Currently on loan from Juventus, Jorge Martinez has had a limited role so far, only making 6 appearances on the season.

Antonio Conte will most likely go with his more traditional 4-3-3 while Daniele Arrigoni, who has 2 wins and 1 loss since coming on as manager in November, will most likely go with 4-4-2.

Juventus probable Line-up: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Marchisio, Pazienza, Vidal; Estigarribia, Matri, Quagliarella

Cesena probable Line-up: Antonioli; Ricci, Von Bergen, Rodriguez, Lauro; Candreva, Guana, Parolo, Martinho; Bogdani, Mutu

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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