Week six of Serie A action will feature the historic Derby della Mole as Juventus face their city rivals Torino F.C. this Saturday at the Juventus Stadium. This early season encounter has shaped up to be a pivotal contest for both parties involved as Serie A remains tightly contested.
With regards to Juvenetus, Head Coach Max Allegri will look to get his team firing on all cylinders again after Wednesday’s lackluster but pragmatic 1-0 victory over ACF Fiorentina. Meanwhile, Torino will hope Andrea Belotti’s attacking prowess will lead them to a shock victory over the Bianconeri.
— OldFootballPictures (@OldFootball11) September 17, 2017
Il Grande Torino
With Juventus’ unmatched success in recent years, many football fans may be entirely unaware that their city rivals Torino F.C. commanded a similar reputation in previous years. Between 1942 and 1949, Torino F.C. managed to win Serie A five times consecutively, securing their reputation as one of Italy’s most successful football clubs. Unfortunately their dominance was cut brutally short after the entire team perished in a plane crash while in route to a friendly match against S.L. Benfica.
— MuseoDelToro (@MuseoDelToro) June 23, 2017
Torino F.C. have never truly recovered from the tragedy that struck them in 1949. Following the plane crash, I Granata have been continually plagued with financial issues for the last half century. Their financial failures have forced the club to focus on player development as opposed to building a true title contender. Despite these bitter struggles, there remains a glimmer of hope this season as Torino are off to an uncharacteristically positive start sitting only 4 points away from league leaders Napoli S.S.C. in the Serie A standings.
The primary reason for this resurgence in competitiveness is Il Toro’s star striker, Andrea Belotti. “Il gallo (the rooster)”, burst onto the scene last season scoring 26 goals in 39 games for Il Toro. After this meteoric rise in form, there was no surprise when the 23 year old Italian was linked with massive teams such as Real Madrid and Manchester United over the summer. Despite such intense pressure from foreign clubs, Torino F.C. managed to keep Andrea Belotti in Turin as they were only willing to sell him for a price tag of €100 million.
Andrea Belotti (23) has picked up from where he left off last season.
Three goals this season already for Il Gallo! 🐔 pic.twitter.com/R4WbQoO7xr
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) September 20, 2017
With Belotti on board for at least one more year and the convenient addition of experienced Venezuelan midfielder Thomas Rincon; Torino have managed to awkwardly glue together a pretty decent team. With renewed confidence in his players, Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović has kept Torino undefeated in Serie A after 5 games. However, the Derby della Mole will be the ultimate test of the Yugoslavian’s tactical abilities. If Siniša Mihajlović does manage to pull off the upset, Torino F.C. will move up to 3rd place in the League Standings. Such a result could revive the old spirit of Il Grande Torino.
Juventus F.C. (4-2-3-1): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Matuidi, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain.
As usual, the player to watch for Juventus will be Paulo Dybala. The 23 year old argentine is hotter than the sun this season scoring eight goals in five games. Dybala will look to continue his brutal scoring record as he faces a mediocre Torino defense that has conceded 6 goals in 5 games. The X-Factor for Juventus will be Rodrigo Bentancur. The 20 year old Uruguayan was the best player on the pitch in Wednesday’s victory over Fiorentina. While the magnitude of this game has resulted in Bentancur being placed on the bench, I fully expect him to be substituted into the game around the 60th minute.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 20, 2017
Torino F.C. (4-2-3-1): Sirigu; De Silvestri, N’Koulou, Moretti, Molinaro; Rincon, Baselli; Iago Falque, Ljajic, Niang; Belotti.
Il Gallo is Torino’s player to watch. Andrea Belotti must truly channel his “inner rooster” Saturday if Torino are to break Juve’s 40 game undefeated streak at home. Torino’s X-Factor will be former Juve man Thomas Rincon. If the Venezuelan international can control the midfield along with Baselli, they might be able to provide Andrea Belotti with the chances he needs to make a difference in what could be a tightly contested match.
— Andrea Belotti (@gallobelotti) September 18, 2017
Juventus F.C. 3-2 Torino F.C.
Given the way Serie A has started this year, the Derby della Mole could be a rather entertaining shootout. With Juventus’ defense remaining a work in progress, Belotti will likely find the back of the net at least once. As the game progresses however, Juve’s attacking talent and overall experience should edge them past their city rivals.