AC Cesena vs. Juventus FC
Saturday, March 12th 2011, 20.45 CET
This game is really hard to predict, although we’re talking about Juve playing one of the relegation-threatened teams in Serie A. It’s all about morale in this one, and while Juventus are devastated (lost to AC Milan, lost to Lecce, lost to Bologna), Cesena are shining (won with Sampdoria, won with Chievo, drew with Parma). Furthermore, Juventus didn’t score at all in their last 3 games!
There are 7 games left in Serie A for both teams, and while Cesena struggles to get away from the red zone at the bottom of the table, Juventus fights for a place in the Europa League Qualification. Motivations, as we can see are totally different, morale is totally different and well, both teams are very unpredictable.
AC Cesena had a great run in the last three matches, as I mentioned before: they got 7 points out of 9 possible, and their last victory at 2-3 against Sampdoria should be enough to motivate Cesena to please their fans at home today. Giacchierini was brilliant in their last game and throughout the season as a whole, while Antonioli’s screamer against Sampdoria let the fans know Cesena can do anything!
When looking at the table though, things are not as pretty: on the 17th place in Serie A, AC Cesena are just a step away from relegation (place 18), and only the goal difference puts them on the 17th instead of 18th. They haven’t won against Juventus since November 1987, and the only time they scored more than one goal at home this season was against AC Milan in their second match this season (2-0).
There’s something strange about Cesena playing at home: out of their last 14 home-plays, they won 5, drew 3 and lost 6! Not encouraging at all when you invite Juventus home for a duel, that’s for sure. But they did beat AC Milan 2-0 at the start at the season, and what a start they had! Sadly, though, they faded away until now, when their current form makes them start to believe the good times are coming back.
Injuries in the team include:
- Igor Budan, striker unused so far
- Ivan Fatic, left back
- Felipe, defender
- Paolo Sammarco, midfielder
Juventus FC are in terrible shape: they lost all 3 of their last games and didn’t score at all! And by the way, 2 of those games were on the Vecchia Donna‘s stadium, so no excuses there. They seem to have real problems with scoring, and this is strange since they have players like del Piero, Krasic, Luca Toni or Iaquinta. Something is just off. The fact that they once had the best attack in Serie A quickly fades away. And I’m not talking about years back, but about last season.
The most worrying thing of all is that, if things stay the same and Juventus keeps the 7th place, they’re just under the line for playing in Europe! And for a team with two Champions League wins and three UEFA Cups in Turin is not at all encouraging to hear. It is so bad, in fact, that Del Neri’s job is threatened more than ever. He’s for sure going to be let go at the end of the season, but some want this even sooner, especially if Juventus loses to a team like Cesena.
The team goes through a bad period from the point of view of injuries, as well:
- Felipe Melo and Luca Toni are the big names on the absentee list
- Fabio Quagliarella, another huge absence
- Fabio Grosso and Hasan Salihamidzic are also absent from today’s game
But hopefully this time, unlike against AC Milan, Neri will do the right thing and let Del Piero play from the beginning. Most probably, del Piero will be helped in the attack by Ale Matri. Perhaps that’s not enough though… Remember Krasic, Juve’s star at the beginning of the season? Where have his good performances go recently? The Serbian striker is capable of getting past the most compact defense in Serie A, but lately he hasn’t showed this. Could Juventus get back on track without him? I wouldn’t say so, and today might be the perfect chance for both Krasic and Juventus to leave the dark days behind and shine.
The teams are completely different in any respect, but Juventus are more motivated, I think, than their opponents. Sure, they’re going through rough times, but they proved lots of times in the past that they can overcome them and shine like they usually do. It’s natural for them to be competing in the European leagues, and I don’t think a team like Cesena can take that dream further away from them.
Bwin offers 2.10 odds for a Juventus win, which seem ok for me at 3 units. Also, the teams will be giving all they’ve got today, so there will certainly be lots of goals. I’m also going for over 2.5 goals for 2 units at 2.15 odds from Bwin.
Juventus to win for 3 units
Over 2.5 goals scored for 2 units