Two teams with rather disappointing starts to 2013 meet with different kind of workloads in mind, heading into the match with different sets of worries: Juventus, hoping they don’t drop their three point lead at the top of the table headed into a rough 7 day stretch, hosting Fiorentina, who have fallen out of the top three after a horrendous month.
Fiorentina won their most recent match after a string of defeats and draws, beating Parma 2-0 with goals from Jovetic and Luca Toni, but it’s been rough for La Viola, picking up only one point in January. The team playing the most attractive football in Italy earlier this season scored just three times during the month, and their away form (3 wins in 11 matches) doesn’t bode well for their visit to Turin, not with four key players out of the match.
For Juventus, it’s the beginning of a brutal 7 day stretch, which includes Fiorentina, an away match at Celtic and then back to Italy and a tough away match at Rome. Usually the team known for the deepest squad in Italy, Juventus have been missing some key players recently, the most important of them Giorgio Chiellini, which has caused unrest in the back. Leonardo Bonucci is suspended as well, which means the back is going to be more fragile than usual, putting a lot of pressure on the midfield, with both Claudio Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo looking tired (or missing) in recent weeks expected to rise above the fatigue.
Fiorentina haven’t beaten Juventus in nine matches, but the previous meeting between the teams in September, a terrible 0-0 draw, was one of the more disappointing matches of the season. With Fiorentina bound to score (and concede) on their away matches, it’s hard to believe we won’t see any goals in this one.
Prediction – Despite the win at home, Fiorentina are going through a very bad phase, with injury problems more painful in their shortened squad than they are for Juve. A win for the champions seems to be in the cards.