Juventus
    11.09.2015 16:00 - in: Serie A S

    A look at Serie A pacesetters Chievo

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    Saturday’s opponents Chievo head to Juventus Stadium with a 100 per cent record after a perfect start to their season

    Founded in 1929, making their Serie A bow in 2001, Chievo have emerged in the last 15 years as a reliable figure in Italian football, appearing in 12 of the last 14 editions of the competition since their historic promotion from Serie B in 2000/01.

    Gialloblu fans will no doubt be hoping that their team’s impressive start to the campaign, winning both of their opening fixtures, can emulate the performances of the celebrated side of the early noughties.

    The Verona based outfit burst onto the top-flight scene with real intent. During a memorable five-year spell at the turn of the century, Chievo finished in the top seven on three occasions between 2001/02 and 2005/06, twice narrowly missing out on Champions League football.

    Serge Pellissier's goals fired Chievo to the edge of Europe. Still at the club, he holds the Gialloblu's appearance record (422)
    Stadium

    Home to both Verona clubs, Hellas and Chievo, is the 39,211 capacity Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.

    Built in 1963, Italy’s eighth largest stadium was the only arena that did not require renovation ahead of the 1990 World Cup, where it hosted all the fixtures from Group E, containing Spain, South Korea, Yugoslavia and Belgium. 

    Manager

    The man looking to consolidate on three consecutive mid-table finishes in as many years (12th, 13th, and 14th) is Rolando Maran. The former defender returned to the club where he clocked up over 200 appearances as a player between 1986 and 1995 in October 2014, guiding the Gialloblu to safety with five games to spare, nine points clear of the relegation zone. 

    Before reclaiming his place in the Chievo dugout just under a year ago, having also spent a season as assistant manager in the 1990s, Maran enjoyed fruitful spells first with Varese, taking the Lombardy club to the Serie B playoffs in 2011/12, and then Catania, masterminding a record Serie A points total (56) for the Rossoazzuri the following year. 

    How are they lining up for Saturday?

    With a perfect record to defend, sitting on back-to-back wins over Lazio (4-0) and Empoli (3-1), Chievo could not have wished for a better beginning to their 14th season in Italy’s top flight.

    Spearheading the Verona outfit’s best start to a season since 2010 have been Alberto Paloschi, Valter Birsa and Riccardo Meggiorini: Chievo’s front three have scored all seven of the team’s goals so far this term, already a quarter of last campaign’s total of 28. 

    Operating in an advanced midfield role Birsa has been a revelation, scoring twice, the first a driving run and finish against Empoli, the second a superb free-kick against Lazio, and laying on a further pair of assists for his fellow forwards. 

    Ex-Milan striker and last term’s top scorer Paloschi has also hit the ground running, second only to Sampdoria's Eder (four) at the top of the scoring charts with three strikes in two games the most memorable of which coming from Meggiorini’s remarkable improvised back-heel last time out.  

    Providing the ammuntion from the Chievo engine room is Simone Pepe. Saturday’s visit to Juventus Stadium sets up an early reunion for the winger, who joined the Gialloblu from Juve earlier in the summer on a free transfer having made 76 appearances (11 goals) for the Old Lady in a four-year spell. 

    Simone Pepe won four Scudetto titles in his time at Juventus

    At the back, veteran goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri has kicked-off the new campaign in a similar vein to his outfield team-mates, making a string of fine saves in both opening counters.

    Although the current Serie A leaders have not won in 12 attempts at the home of last season’s champions, Maran’s men will enter Saturday’s encounter believing that their fine form can inspire a reversal of recent fortunes in Turin.  

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