07.02.2017 11:30 - in: Serie A S

    #CrotoneJuve: key names and numbers

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    Juventus meet Crotone for the first time in Serie A on Wednesday evening: here’s everything you need to know ahead of their upcoming clash in Calabria
    2016 champions vs. promoted Calabrians

    Juventus and Crotone both enjoyed exceedingly good 2015/16 campaigns. Just days after the Bianconeri were celebrating a history-making fifth straight Scudetto title, the Rossoblù completed an unprecedented promotion to Serie A to become only the third side from the southern region of Calabria (after Catanzaro and Reggina) to reach Italian football’s top tier.

    There can be little doubt that the Old Lady has made Juventus Stadium a formidable fortress down the years – they’ve won each of their last 28 home league matches – and the same could certainly be said too for their Calabrian counterparts at the Stadio Ezio Scida, where they remained unbeaten for almost a whole year between 7 February 2015 and 30 January 2016. A rare loss in front of their fans that day to Perugia would prove to be a mere blip in an ultimately successful rise to the big time as Serie B runners-up behind champions Cagliari.

    By contrast, life in Serie A has been far from straightforward, taking just two points from their first 10 matches, but the Rossoblù have started to find their feet since, especially at home where they’ve beaten Chievo (2-0), Pescara (2-1) and Empoli (4-1).

    If there’s been a weak link so far in Juventus’ campaign, on the other hand, it is the fact that their only points dropped this term (12) have come on their travels and they’ll be keen to build on their convincing recent performances to make sure they come away from Calabria with victory.

    Haven’t we met before?!

    Thus far, Juventus and Crotone have crossed paths in just the solitary season: 2006/07 in Serie B and the omens are good for the Bianconeri, who dispatched of their hosts 3-0 at the Ezio Scida thanks to a brace by Bulgarian forward Valeri Bojinov and Jean-Alain Boumsong’s goal in between.

    Also present in black and white that evening were of course Gianluigi Buffon between the sticks and the now vice-president Pavel Nedved down the wing.

    Meanwhile, the return fixture in Turin will be forever remembered for Alessandro Del Piero’s hat-trick following first-half strikes by Nedved and Federico Balzaretti.

    Main men to monitor

    By his own admission, Juan Cuadrado’s wonder strike against Inter felt ‘fantastic’ and there’s little doubt that the Colombian winger is relishing increased game time since Allegri introduced the 4-2-3-1 formation last month.

    Cuadrado enjoyed a fruitful February last year with his goal against Frosinone (incidentally scored on this day) and a major hand in bringing about the winner over Genoa propelling him to the MVP award for the corresponding month in 2015/16.

    He’ll certainly be keen to replicate such form this time around and build on the confidence gained from his crackerjack in the Derby d’Italia.

    For Crotone, meanwhile, Diego Falcinelli enjoyed a day he won’t be forgetting in a hurry in the last home game against Empoli, the striker scoring his first ever Serie A hat-trick.

    Falcinelli, who is on loan at the Rossoblù from Sassuolo, has had a hand in half of his side’s goals this season, netting eight and providing two assists.

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