Juventus vs. AC Milan
Saturday, March 5th 2011, 20.45 CET
Just a reminder, I will only be watching the second half of this game, since there’s an overlap with ADO Den Haag vs. NEC Nijmegen, where I have a 3-unit bet. For this italian clash of the titans I’ll go for a 2-unit bet. Let’s look over the two teams:
Juventus Torino are not in their best shape because of their (embarassing) loss at home against Bologna (11th place in Serie A) with 0-2. And even before that, they lost 2-0 against Lecce, who occupies the 16th (!) place in Serie A. To put it short: out of their last 6 matches, they won 2 (one against European champions Inter at home!) and lost 4. And they’re on the 7th place in Serie A, just under the line (and 5 points away) for the Europa League qualifications. There aren’t many games left this season, so the “vecchia donna” will desperately try to get into Europa League.
I am not very confident in Juventus’ coach, Gigi del Neri, and I tend to agree with some forum posters who say that they’re overrated. I mean, del Neri was sacked from Porto before the season began! They had a bit of luck winning against Inter last month, and their absentee list has a lot of important players:
- Mohamed Sissoko, one of their best midfielders, out with an injury.
- Aquilani, a world class striker unavailable for tonight.
- Quagliarella, Juve’s star player.
In their defense, they don’t have many alternatives: they could start with Sorensen, which is not their best player, especially not against Ibrahimovic or Cassano. Their only consolation is that they are at home and they’re well rested for tonight’s game.
AC Milan is without a doubt one of the top Italian teams both at home and in Europe. They’re currently the leaders of Serie A, at a comfortable 5-point cushon from their Milanese rivals, Inter. Overall fantastic performance this season, and their last game against SSC Napoli (3rd place in Serie A) ended in a home victory for the Milanese side at 3-0. Their stats are not bad either: in the last 6 games they won 3 times, drew 2 times and lost once (in CL against Tottenham at home!).
I would say this is not the best time for a derby match for them: their last (exhausting) match against Napoli was 6 days ago, and 4 days from today they’ll face Tottenham again in the UK and revenge that 0-1 loss in Italy. Even so, a loss or draw today wouldn’t be a huge disappointment: they are still far ahead of Inter, and Juventus is a strong team when playing at home. And surely Juventus’s motivation for winning is greater than AC Milan’s. But not their strenght, though.
Compared to Juventus’s player crisis, AC Milan has more than enough players on their bench to substitute Antonini, and perhaps rest Robinho. Plus, the milanese have a great attack, too great for Juventus’s crippled defense. Nonetheless, I think in this game motivation will matter more than strength. A tie at 3.2 is really attractive on Bwin, and with Juventus desperate to win and repair their reputation, I think they have what it takes to earn 0ne point tonight.
Prediction: DRAW for 2 units