Chievo vs Juventus: Bianconeri wary of Flying Donkeys

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Chievo will hope to become the first side since Sassuolo to stop Juventus when they welcome them to the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

October 28, 2015. This was the last time that the Bianconeri lost a match when the Neroverdi edged them out 1-0. Since then, Massimiliano Allegri’s men have sprung to life and have racked up 11 straight wins on the bounce. This has seen them fight their way up from 17th place to sitting just two points behind Napoli. Although the Partenopei have also done quite well this season, Maurizio Sarri’s squad will still be looking over their shoulders, knowing that any slip-ups could prove costly in one of the most interesting Scudetto races in recent times.

Meanwhile, Rolando Maran’s side held the Bianconeri to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting this season, but arguably that was during the difficult times for Juventus as they struggled with injuries and incorporating the new squad members. Although la Vecchia Signora will have to make do without  Mario Mandžukić, Kwadwo Asamoah, and Mario Lemina due to injury, as well as Patrice Evra as a result of a ban, the reigning Scudetto champions nonetheless still have the star quality and will be expected to make it a 12th straight win this Sunday.

After a difficult settling-in period, Paulo Dybala has hit full stride and has been directly involved in 19 of Juve’s league goals so far this season, with 12 goals – all with his left foot, mind you –  and seven assists. And the given way that the young Argentinian talent has been playing, expect him to contribute even more to his side’s cause before the season reaches its conclusion in May.

Juventus historically have done well against the Flying Donkeys. Not not only have they won their past three away matches versus their upcoming opponents, but they have accumulated 13 points from losing positions so far this campaign. That is a league high; meanwhile, Chievo have lost 13 points from winning positions which is the worst in the top flight thus far. Additionally, la Vecchia Signora have only lost once in their past 25 meetings with their upcoming opponents, winning the other 17 and drawing seven, including the recent 1-1 stalemate from earlier this campaign.

The hosts will also be missing several players, with Alessandro Gamberini, Riccardo Meggiorini, Mariano Izco, and Perparim Hetemaj all facing a spell on the sidelines. Simone Pepe could face his former side, provided that he passes a late fitness test, and Alberto Paloschi is off to try his luck in England with Swansea City.

All in all, Chievo will not make it easy and expect them to park the bus for periods of the game as they will seek to at least hold out for a draw. But Juventus should have just enough to see this game through, and whilst it may not be the prettiest of wins, three points are three points and will see them top the table – albeit temporarily – until Napoli take on Empoli a bit later in the day.

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Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.