++ [ originally posted by ErikP ] ++
Then who else in this situation? Those bloody injuries are keeping us from fielding a GREAT team instead of this GOOD team... :down: Zambo being the best example...
I was not aware of anyone twisting Lippis arm to keep to a certain line-up. Baiocco on the flank would,IMO, do more bad than good, so therefore if no alternatives can be found we could possibly be looking into changing the line-up?
I wouldn't be surprise in fact I anxious to see Lippi start Del Piero behind Di Vaio adn Trez/Salas for important games suchas in CL matches and against Inter, AC Milan. Del Piero may not like this positon, but I'm confindent he will embrace this position if it means winning important matches.
Two of the eight teams who share the first place in the Serie A ranking after one round, newly promoted Empoli and reigning Italian champions Juventus, will face each other at the Castellani stadium in the second Saturday night match of the season.
Both teams started this 2002/2003 campaign in the most positive way. In the opening weekend, the Bianconeri demolished Atalanta at the Delle Alpi with a clear 3-0, while Empoli were really impressive in their 2-0 win on the field of fellow newcomers Como.
Juventus seem to be already in a very good shape. Led by a great Del Piero, Lippi's men have been looking healthy and confident both in the domestic league debut and in their Champions League outing in Rotterdam against Feyenoord, which ended in a more than deserved 1-1 draw.
However, Empoli won't be an easy opponent for the Turin giants. This young team might be the new Chievo: like the Verona side, they have a bunch of young and talented players, but most importantly superb teamwork. This must be credited to the great job done over the last three seasons by coach Silvio Baldini, a very promising trainer and a huge motivator.
Only reserve midfielder Barollo will be sidelined for Empoli, who are expected to face Juventus with the same starting eleven who defeated Como in the first round. The lone change could be on the right wing, where coach Baldini seems intentioned to replace Rocchi with Buscè.
As for Juventus, coach Marcello Lippi will surely miss his long-term sidelined players, that's to say Pessotto and Zambrotta. Trezeguet and Conte have almost recovered from their injuries and will likely be back next week. Davids picked up a muscular injury during last Wednesday's Champions League match against Feyenoord and should be rested: in this case, Baiocco will be confirmed in the starting eleven.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Empoli: Luca Saudati. The former Atalanta striker faces a tough task this season, that's to say replacing Massimo Maccarone. He started in fine fashion scoring a goal against Como, and this season could prove the best of his career: three seasons ago Saudati scored 17 goals in 29 matches, and he wore Empoli's jersey…
Juventus: Alex Del Piero. The Italy international played a superb match against Atalanta, scoring twice and creating plenty of chances for his teammates. He's in great shape and his confidence is sky high, and Empoli's defence will find it really tough to limit him.
Juventus continue their title defence at Serie A new boys Empoli, but Marcello Lippi warns not to underestimate the Tuscans.
“Tonight we will face a team that is on top form and has the right attitude,” points out the tactician. “Silvio Baldini is an excellent Coach with a strong club behind him.”
Newly-promoted Empoli already have three points on their tally after hammering star-studded Como 2-0 on their home turf.
“They don’t have star names as such so few pundits talk about Empoli,” continued the Juventus boss, “but I have great respect for this side and warned my players to start concentrating on this game right from Wednesday night.”
The Bianconeri had a good performance in the midweek Champions’ League opener, although they came away from Feyenoord with only a point.
It’s believed Lippi will give Marco Di Vaio a rest for this encounter and allow Marcelo Salas his first official start of the season . Davide Baiocco should also replace Edgar Davids in midfield.
“It is better to have a large group of players to choose from rather than a small side,” assured the former Inter Coach.
“The only problem with this situation is having to take people who worked well during the week and put them in the stands. But when there are so many players they can be given time to recover and always be on top form when needed.”
I want to see Ruben Olivera on the pitch on this occation! I just hope that Di Vaio can boost his hopes by scoring a goal! And I want 3 bloody points :fero:! I haven't seen Juve play (live) since last year :frown::down:!