Injury-hit Juve set for mini-revolution against Parma
07 November 2014, 12:27
Milan - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is expected to continue tinkering with his injury-hit side on Sunday when the Italian giants host Parma looking to reinforce their lead over title challengers Roma.
Champions Juve opened up a three-point gap at the top of Serie A last week when an unrecognisable Roma succumbed to a 2-0 defeat away to resurgent Napoli.
Allegri's men host Parma, who moved off bottom spot with a shock 2-0 win over Inter, on the back of a morale-boosting 3-2 Champions League win over Group A rivals Olympiakos in midweek.
However injuries among the defence mean Allegri could again deploy the 4-3-1-2 formation that effectively kept Juve in the race for a place in the last 16 of Europe's premier competition.
Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah, usually deployed as a wingback, played as a left-back on Tuesday but is still suffering from knee inflammation.
He has been "sidelined for two weeks in order to fully recover from the injury he sustained during last Saturday's Serie A meeting with Empoli", according to the club.
With defenders Martin Caceres and Andrea Barzagli and French wingback Patrice Evra still sidelined, Allegri has no choice but to again ditch his trusted 3-5-2 formation for Parma's visit.
But the big news from Juve's training ground on Thursday was the prospect of striker Carlos Tevez being moved back a notch to play in the hole behind front pair Fernando Llorente and fellow Spaniard Alvaro Morata.
European commitments also proved costly to Roma, who prepare to host Torino at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday with major injury worries.
Roma lost defender Jose Holebas (ribs) to injury in a 2-0 defeat away to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, when attacking midfielder Alessandro Florenzi (ankle) hobbled off.
Roma are already without defenders Davide Astori, Leandro Castan, Maicon and there are now doubts over Malian midfielder Seydou Keita.
Lazio have dropped only two points in their last six games, moving up to third place in the process only six points adrift of Juventus, three behind Roma and one ahead of fifth-placed Napoli.
Stefano Pioli's men have banged in a league-topping 20 goals in 10 games, a quarter of which have come from 27-year-old Serbian Filip Djordjevic.
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The former Nantes striker's form has led to reports of ill-feeling between him and Miroslav Klose. The former Germany striker started in place of Djordjevic last week and hit a brace in a 4-2 win over Cagliari, before he was replaced by the Serbian just after the hour.
Ahead of a managable trip away to Empoli, Lazio are firmly back among the fight for next season's European places and Djordjevic has played down suggestions he is now fighting Klose for the number one striker position.
"I am really happy to play alongside such a great player. We play in the same position, but there's no jealousy between us," said Djordjevic.
Sitting level with Lazio are high-flying Sampdoria, who sit in fourth and will fancy staying there ahead of meeting a Milan side which has taken only two points from their past three games.
The enthusiasm of Milan's revival under coach Filippo Inzaghi has been on the wane of late, especially following a shock 2-0 home reverse to promoted Palermo last week.
Milan are still without injured Brazilian Alex and could now be without fellow defender Ignazio Abate (ankle), the only player to have played every game so far.
Napoli's defeat of Roma last week left Rafael Benitez's men only seven points adrift of Juve and one behind Lazio in the third Champions League qualifying spot.
A 3-0 Europa League defeat of Young Boys on Thursday, thanks to a hat-trick from Dutch midfielder Jonathan De Guzman, will only serve to foster confidence ahead of a tricky trip away to Fiorentina, who were held at home by PAOK Salonika.
Fixtures (all times 1300 GMT unless stated)
Sassuolo v Atalanta (1600), Sampdoria v Milan (1845)
Cagliari v Genoa (1030), Chievo v Cesena, Empoli v Lazio, Juventus v Parma, Palermo v Udinese (1300), Fiorentina v Napoli (1600), Inter v Verona, Roma v Torino (both 1845)