Juventus
    05.05.2017 19:50 - in: Serie A S

    Derby della Mole: Match preview

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    With Juve potentially one win away from the Scudetto title, Saturday's Derby della Mole promises to be the most significant of them all...

    THE HISTORY

    Derby days are made what they are by the history behind them and the city that hosts them and with Juventus set to meet Torino for the 144th time on Saturday night, this next Derby della Mole certainly fits the bill.

    Last season’s cross-city tie at Juventus Stadium acted as the catalyst to the Bianconeri’s surge to the title, the first of 15 consecutive victories stretching from October to March. This year’s could go one step further; victory for Juve and anything less than three points for Roma the following day against Milan would confirm a sixth consecutive Scudetto.

    The omens – always important for nights like these – are good for the Old Lady to do her part this weekend; the league leaders are unbeaten in all of their last 10 encounters with Torino, winning eight of them, including all of the last five.

    Last-minute goals from Juan Cuadrado and Andrea Pirlo have been required to see off il Toro in recent years and with both sides getting on the scoresheet in every fixture since February 2014, drama could well be on the cards once more. 

    You would have to go back as far as April 1995 to find the last Granata victory on black and white soil. Ruggiero Rizzitelli the hero that day, the striker netting twice in a 2-1 win. 

    THE FORM BOOK

    It’s a simple matter of updating Juventus’ various Serie A streaks and records at the moment. Massimiliano Allegri’s men have collected 39 points from a possible 42, conceding more than once in a game for the first time last week in a 2-2 draw with Atalanta. 

     

    Dani Alves heads in Juve's second goal against Atalanta last week

    Remarkably, those two goals represent one third of the goals to hit the Juve net since the middle of January. The last team to beat Gianluigi Buffon twice in a game at Juventus Stadium were Fiorentina in April 2015, a game won by the home side nonetheless.

    While only the third most productive attack in terms of goals (70) so far this term, Allegri’s charges remain the country’s most efficient marksmen, finding the net with 17% of their scoring chances.

    Torino meanwhile had been low on momentum for much of 2017 before putting together a six-match unbeaten run (two wins, four draws) recently, winning both of their most recent away trips against Chievo and Cagliari.

    Though inconsistent in terms of results, games involving Sinisa Mihajlovic’s team have been a regular source of entertainment at both ends, producing a league high 119 goals so far. 

    Unsurprisingly then, 2016/17 has been the club’s most prolific of the last 10 years for goals scored (64). On the flip side, the 55 against makes this term one of their worst for defensive solidity in the same period. 

    THE HEROES 

    Strikers are always the best place to start. Gonzalo Higuain – Juve’s hero in Monaco in midweek – has scored 13 times in Serie A since the turn of the year, one more than Torino frontman Andrea Belotti, the league’s leading scorer overall (25).

    Il Gallo’s header gave his side the lead at the Stadio Olimpico in December before Higuain’s brace and Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick restored order and the Italian will be hungry to add to his derby day tally tomorrow night. Another fascinating physical duel with a combination of Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli awaits.

    Elsewhere, Paulo Dybala is one goal short of reaching double figures in a season for the third consecutive time while Mario Mandzukic will have his eye on continuing his run of important goals; Juve have won all 20 of the games in which the Croatian has found the net.

    No one feels these occasions quite like Claudio Marchisio. Turin born and bred, il Principino has three goals to his name in nine derby days making Torino his favourite victim in Serie A. 

    Should they play on Saturday, Sami Khedira and Stefano Sturaro are in line to make their 50th appearance for the club. 

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