Birthday celebrations put aside as Juventus travel to Parma

Posted by Mina Rzouki

On the 1st of November 1897, Italy's greatest football club was founded. "It all began with a bench on Corso Re Umberto, one of the most famous streets in city centre Turin, where a group of students from the city's Massimo D'Azeglio secondary school congregated to talk about their favourite sport."

116 years later, Juventus have won it all to firmly thrust calcio into the limelight. A club that has boasted legends, beautiful youth and a presiding family who not only fought for wins on the pitch but for the survival of Italy in Europe, they helped boost the economy and the reputation of the country.

Having witnessed unprecedented success, the Old Lady has also suffered devastating circumstances that threatened her very existence. Yet class is timeless and success is always a very real prospect for a side that refuses to lose and built only for glory.

Calciopoli came and scandals went and Juventus are still the peninsula's greatest club, continuing to break records and impressing in Europe. The very mention of their name has intimidated great Coaches, spectacular teams and the very best players. Long may it continue, Happy Birthday Juve.

Celebrations aside, the Bianconeri have no time to enjoy this special occasion as preparations must be made for the upcoming week of fixtures. The Champions League game against Real Madrid midweek could very well determine the fate of their passage in Europe whilst any losses suffered in Serie A will postpone the hunt for a third successive title. Next up is Saturday’s match against the Emilia Romagna side.

There is something about Parma. Two glorious title-winning seasons have started with clashes against the Gialloblu. This season, it was almost disappointing to see another team facing Juventus in their first game of the season.

However, putting superstitions aside, this is far from an easy fixture. Milan already know the danger a big team can suffer when facing Roberto Donadoni’s men especially now considering the anger they possess after their loss to Genoa. We must also not forget that the one measly goal Roma have conceded this season has come in the match against Parma -- a header from Jonathan Biabiany, the player linked with a move to Juve.

Blessed with pace, discipline and the ability to play between the lines, Parma once upon-a-time had Sebastian Giovinco but now boast another genius capable of creating a special moment -- Antonio Cassano.

Always deployed in a 3-5-2 shape, defensively they are fragile but in going forward they are both unpredictable and impressive in exposing and exploiting space. The perfect aerial side, their players are capable of being robbed of possession are also very adept at snatching the ball and running with pace to quickly create uncomfortable situations for the opposition.

In order to succeed, it's imperative Conte's men control the space between the lines, remain vigilant to the danger posed on the wing and limit Marco Parolo's time on the ball as when given the opportunity, the midfielder will happily demonstrate his skill.

Genoa have already witnessed the winning beast within the Bianconeri when they faced a Juventus side desperate to win. Intense and overwhelming, if the Old Lady can combine that with maturity, a win is a likely result. Draws have been accepted before but with Roma and Napoli performing, a win has become vital.

Meanwhile, for the superstitious among us, Domenico Celi has been chosen to officiate the game. The referee has previously been in charge of eight Juventus games of which the Old Lady won seven and drew the eighth. Can they manage another win?

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