Juventus vs Chievo Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More
Serie A champions Juventus play host to Chievo at the Juventus Allianz Stadium this Saturday, hoping to make it three wins out of three.
Already sitting top of the Serie A table, Massimiliano Allegri will be confident of another home victory against a side who finished 14th last season. Following wins against Crotone 3-0 and Genoa 4-2 (courtesy of a Paulo Dybala hat-trick and a goal from Juan Cuadrado), Juve go into the game as heavy favourites.
On the other hand, Chievo have three points from their opening two fixtures. Following an impressive 2-1 win away at Udinese on the opening weekend, they lost 2-1 at home to Lazio, losing a precious point in stoppage time. They currently sit 10th in Serie A.
Here's everything you need to know ahead of Saturday's match:
Juventus' record against Chievo is formidable, winning nine out of the last ten games between the two sides, and not losing since 2010.
Last year's match at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi finished in a tight 2-1 win for Juventus, with Mario Mandzukic and Miralem Pjanic netting the crucial goals either side of a Sergio Pellissier penalty. A scrappy performance was all that was needed for Juve, who once again steamrolled to the league title last season.
Juventus have scored 25 goals in their last 14 games against Chievo, with Chievo scoring only nine in the same period. With Juventus' outstanding home record in Serie A, it's hard to make a case for a Chievo upset.
Gonzalo Higuain vs Dario Dainelli & Alessandro Gamberini
The ageing centre back pairing of Dario Dainelli and Alessandro Gamberini, who are 38 and 36 years old respectively, will have their work cut out against Juventus' main frontman Higuain.
Yet to completely hit the ground running at Juve, Higuain will be keen to add to his one goal for the season so far, and will be aided by a host of attacking talent behind him. Paulo Dybala, Juventus' new number 10, is the man of the moment following his hat-trick away at Genoa, and his skill in behind Higuain, with pace and stamina on the flanks in Juan Cuadrado and Mario Mandzukic, means it may well be a tough day at the office for Chievo's back four.
If Chievo are to get anything from this game, they will have to put in a defensive performance of the very highest quality against a side who seldom lose at home.
Giorgio Chiellini may well miss out with an ankle injury after missing Italy's World Cup qualifiers against Spain and Israel. Other than that, the main concern for Allegri may well be a lineup rotation, bearing in mind Juve's Champions League fixture against Barcelona on Tuesday. Pjanic and Sami Khedira are still likely to retain their places as the lynchpins in midfield.
For Chievo, they are likely to retain the core of their starting XI from their opening two fixtures.
Potential Juventus starting lineup: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Khedira; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain
Potential Chievo starting lineup: Sorrentino; Cacciatore, Dainelli, Gamberini, Gobbi; Castro, Radovanovic, Hetemaj; Birsa; Inglese, Pucciarelli
It really is very difficult to make a case for Chievo to pick anything up from this trip to Turin. Juventus simply don't lose, and very rarely draw, at home in Serie A.
Chievo's job may be made easier if Allegri chooses to rest players, especially if star man Paulo Dybala misses out. Nevertheless, Juventus' outstanding squad depth means Juventus will be very disappointed with anything other than a win.
Prediction: Juventus 3-0 Chievo