SCOTT PETERSON - Friday, October 14, 2011
Michael Bradley will look to shake off the jetlag and be in the starting eleven for Chievo Verona when they host the first-place Bianconeri of Juventus in Verona on Sunday.
Chievo come into their first match of the season against one of the giants in Italian soccer with a surprising 8 points from five matches and lie in an impressive fourth place in the Serie A standings.
The Flying Donkeys, however, would be wise not to rest on their laurels as there is a veritable logjam in the standings with just five points separating them from drop zone. Domenico Di Carlo's squad will look to continue their fine play of late, as they are unbeaten in their last three matches.
Atop the Serie A standings are the Vecchia Signora of Juventus. Tied with Calcio Udinese, Antonio Conte's men have come out of the starting blocks on fire and their last time out thumped reigning champs AC Milan 2-0 in Turin.
Looking like Juventus squads of years past, they have found the back of the net 9 times thus far, while only conceding three goals and look like a genuine title contender. Leading the scoring sheet for Juventus is midfielder and Italian national team member Claudio Marchiso, who has netted three times in the first five games, a figure that matches his total tallies in each of the last two seasons.
Juventus, however, has struggled to break down opponents that have employed a defend-first mentality with ties against Catania and Bologna, and a narrow 1-0 victory away to newly-promoted Sienna. That could be a recipe for success for Verona, who used a similar tactic to knock off last year's surprise team Napoli three weeks ago.
Neither team is reporting any injuries, but both coaches may have to deal with tired legs coming off the international break as both teams had players scattered around the globe for either Euro 2012 or World Cup 2014 qualifiers or international friendlies.