Saturday, 27 April 2013

Torino V Juventus Preview

The narrative of the 227th edition of the Derby della Mole will be largely dependent on what happens in the Pescara-Napoli match on Saturday evening.

If the Partenopei fail to beat the league's bottom side, then Juventus will be able to capture their 29th scudetto by beating the Granata on Sunday afternoon. Given their recent form in this fixture, Torino fans are extremely worried that they could suffer the double blow of being plunged further into relegation trouble, and also simultaneously see their hated neighbours celebrate title success in their own stadium.

Therefore, every Toro fan (and also the Italian police) will be keeping fingers and everything else crossed that Napoli will beat Pescara tonight, and ensure that this scenario is not possible.

It is also very difficult to ignore Torino's recent form against Juventus, as they haven't beaten La Vecchia Signora since April 1995, and have not even scored against them in the last seven fixtures. These two stats do make troublesome reading for those of a Granata persuasion, but they may be buoyed by the fact that in the first derby of the season, they held their own before Kamil Glik's harsh red card before half time. Torino eventually lost 3-0 after second half goals from Turin born Claudio Marchisio (2) and Sebastian Giovinco.

Toro's recent league form (and poor defensive record) is also a worry, and with Matteo Darmian suspended, the inclusion of mistake-merchant Salvatore Masiello is enough to give every fan a sleepless night. One possibility could be to move Angelo Ogbonna - a rumoured transfer target of Juventus - over to left back, and bring in Guillermo Rodriguez to renew his successful defensive partnership with the reliable Kamil Glik.

In midfield, the inclusion of Matteo Brighi in the squad is certainly a boost, and whilst the former Juventus  player's best days may be behind him, Torino do seem to do better with him in the starting eleven. His return from injury could tempt Giampiero Ventura into switching from his usual 4-2-4 formation, and choosing to play Brighi, Migjen Basha and Alessandro Gazzi in a 4-3-3.

In attack, after his impressive performance in the 4-3 defeat at Fiorentina (where Toro fought back from 3-0 down before succumbing in the final five minutes) Paulo Barreto should have done enough to ensure that he will be included in the starting eleven. Ventura does seem to prefer the mobility of hardworking but goal-shy Riccardo Meggiorini, but if he does decide to play two strikers, many Toro fans will hope that captain Rolando Bianchi is given the nod - in what is likely to be his last Derby della Mole appearance.

A huge task is certainly ahead of the Granata to gain anything from this match, and in all honesty they would probably need a number of Juve players to seriously under perform in order to even earn a draw. However, that is what makes derby matches so special, in that every fixture is unique - and whilst it may be a massive cliché, the form book truly goes out of the window.

However, I think I speak for every Toro supporter when I say that as long as every player gives everything they have on the field tomorrow afternoon, then realistically - given the vast difference in budgets between the two teams - nobody will be too surprised if they fail to win.

Forza Torino

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