Attention shifts back to Europe’s second tier club competition with Fulham welcoming the Bianconeri to Craven Cottage for their return leg fixture of their last 16 tie. Juventus won this match 3-1 two weeks ago and they are in pole position to progress to the quarter finals.
Alessandro Del Piero was the mastermind of their victory and his performances have left Alberto Zaccheroni with no other option but to include him in his squad for tonight’s game. Juventus have had one of their worst seasons in a very long time. This has left the club fighting for a top four finish and a spot in the lucrative Champions League.
The extent of Juve’s woes fully came to light on Sunday when they were held to a 3-3 draw by bottom side Siena in Turin. The ironical thing is that Juve were leading 3-0 after only playing 10 minutes. The blew their lead to earn a point at the end of the 90 minutes.
The Bianconeri will however be encouraged to know that their 3 goal advantage over Fulham guarantees them one foot in the quarters. Fulham on the other hand have an uphill task. Although they have the away goal, breaking down Juve’s defense will be very hard.
Fulham’s silver lining could be that Juventus face a number of injuries and a suspension to some of its key players. Giorgio Chiellini, Martin Caceres, Sebastian Giovinco, Michele Paolucci and Amauri are all out through Injury while Nicola Legrottaglie is suspended.
The Londoners warmed up for this game by losing 3-0 to League leaders Manchester United on Sunday. Fulham will ensure they get the most of a weakened Juventus and at least progress to the quarters.
Juventus will play a 4-4-2 formation with their probable line up looking like this Del Piero and Trezeguet in attack, Diego, Sissoko, Marchisio and Melo in midfield. Juve’s defense will include Grygera, Cannavaro, Zebina and de Ceglie. Chementi will be in between the posts.
Fulham on the other hand are more likely to play a 4-4-1-1 formation. Bobby Zamora will be the lone striker with Gera close behind him. The midfield will have Duff, Baird, Etuhu, and Dempsey. Kelly, Hangeland, Konchesky and Hughes will be in defense and Schwarzer in goal.
This game will most likely end in a 2-1 win in favour of Juventus. This however is not the only game of the night. Other fixtures to keep an eye on are:
Sporting Lisbon vs Atletico Madrid
Weder Bremen vs Valencia
Wolfsburg vs Rubin Kazan
Anderlecht vs Hamburg
Olympique Marseille vs Benfica