New Genoa coach Davide Ballardini has a tough first test: a trip to Turin to take on Serie A leaders Juventus. He may be relying on wishes, hopes, and dreams.
A 2-0 home loss to Catania proved to be the last straw for Gigi Delneri. Enrico Preziosi and his cast of minions considered this to be the last straw, showing Delneri the door and bringing in Davide Ballardini to replace him. Ballardini's had the reigns at Genoa before, for the last six months of the 2010-2011 season.
But this time around, Ballardini might have an even more difficult task. Genoa are currently in 18th and just can't catch a break. They managed a three-match unbeaten run, only to lose to Cagliari and then Catania. Now the rossoblu are off to Turin to take on the best team in Serie A.
Yes, Juventus remain the best side in Italy, although cracks are starting to form in their perfect facade. The 4-0 win over Udinese last week remains their only win in 2013: the bianconeri lost to Sampdoria, drew with Parma, and allowed Lazio a draw and an away goal in the Coppa Italia semi-final.
Even in their 4-0 win, though, Juve weren't flawless, but Paul Pogba's brace broke the Udinese resolve and the floodgates opened. Genoa, despite being in the relegation zone, might not be so easy to break -- surprisingly enough, they've conceded just 13 goals on the road.
It's foolish to believe that Ballardini will change this cautious approach at Genoa. After all, points are essential, and if he picks them up one at a time, he's still got 'em. What his superiors are hoping is that Genoa take their decent defense and translate that into points. At what time would it be better for the likes of Ciro Immobile and Marco Borriello to kick off a hot scoring streak than against the Old Lady?
Miracles do happen, after all.
Juventus Injuries and Suspensions
Pirlo who? Paul Pogba is doing his best to make sure no one misses the midfield Maestro.
Genoa Injuries and Suspensions
Bosko Jankovic and Juan Vargas (injured)
Match Date / Time: Saturday, January 26 at 8:45 p.m. local / 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin
TV: Sky Calcio 1, RAI Internazionale, beIN Sport USA, beIN Sport en Español