Local pride will be at the stake when Juventus entertain Torino in the 185th Derby della Mole on Saturday (7.45pm GMT, live on ESPN).
Torino have spent the last three seasons in Serie B so this is the first encounter between the sides since 2009 and the first Turin derby to be played at the Juventus Arena, the new stadium Juventus moved into at the start of last season.
Recent history does not bode well for Torino, who have lost eight of the last 12 derbies and last recorded victory in 1995, some 17 years ago. To make matters worse, Juventus have lost just once in 32 matches at the Juventus Arena.
The stadium has become symbolic of a renewed Juventus who have finally rid themselves of their post-Calciopoli shackles and established themselves once more as Italy’s primary club. Following last season’s league title triumph they again lead the way in Serie A this year, two points clear of second place Napoli.
The Old Lady have scored the second-highest number of goals in the division (29) while conceding the fewest (10), hold the highest average share of possession (57.36%) and average more shots on target (7.71 per match) than any other team.
Summer arrivals have bolstered the squad and provided additional competition for places, driving them to slightly improve their points per match rate in comparison to last season’s undefeated title-winning campaign.
There have, though, been a couple of slip ups this season: firstly, the cession of their 49-match unbeaten record in a 3-1 home defeat to Inter Milan in early November and secondly, their 1-0 defeat away to Inter’s city rivals AC Milan last weekend.
While the first result was less surprising than the second – considering the respective merits of the two Milan clubs this season – the similarities in the tactical approaches utilised by both teams suggests there are at least a couple of chinks in Juve’s armour.
Both teams defended deep and lined up with three forwards who stayed high throughout the match offering plentiful options on the counter-attack and pressing diligently out of possession. By taking special care to keep a man on Andrea Pirlo at all times, both were able to somewhat nullify Juve’s ability to move the ball forward accurately through midfield, thus lessening chances of conceding whilst still maintaining an offensive threat.
It is a formula that Juventus coach Antonio Conte will, in the long run, be forced to find an antidote for, but it is unlikely he will have to immediately test out possible solutions as his opposite number on Saturday, Giampiero Ventura, is a staunch 4-4-2/4-2-4 man.
Ventura led Torino back to Serie A in his first year at the helm, and his side have made a solid enough start to life back in the top flight. Torino are currently in 14th place with 15 points to their name from three wins, seven draws and four defeats.
The Granata had an astonishingly good defensive record during their promotion campaign, conceding just 28 goals in 42 matches (0.67 per match). They kept that back four, which includes Italian international Angelo Ogbonna, together, and have the joint-fourth best defensive record in Serie A, with 14 conceded in 14 matches.
Torino have scored 15 times, but eight of those came in two matches (against Pescara and Atalanta), leaving them with a record of just seven strikes in the other 12 matches played to date. Rolando Bianchi is on course to break into double figures, but no other midfielder or forward has scored more than once so far. Goals will have to start coming from elsewhere if Torino hope to stay in the division.
Ventura’s men are not in a good run of form coming into the derby, having won just one of their last eight league matches. They have won just once away from home so far this season, but also have only one away defeat to their name having drawn the other five.
Juventus v Torino Betting Tips Advice
Torino have made a habit of picking up tightly contested draws away from home so far this season, but seem unlikely to add to their points haul away to a Juventus side who have won five of their seven home matches to date and will be determined to record a victory in the first Turin derby at the Juventus Arena.
- Bet on Juventus to win @ best odds of 4/11 at BetVictor, Blue Square, Paddy Power or Pinnacle.
- Torino have not lost by a margin of more than two goals this season and have a defence capable of ensuring that record stays intact on Saturday. Therefore, back Torino +2 on an Asian Handicap @ 19/40 with Bet365. If Juventus win by more than two goals the bet loses, but if the winning margin is two goals your stake is returned and if it is one goal, or indeed if Torino draw or win, the bet comes in.