The Derby della Mole will strike Italian football once again, with Torino hosting Juventus on Saturday afternoon at Stadio Olimpico di Torino. Juventus are unbeaten in the last 12 meetings between these two Turin-based clubs.
Last time, Torino was closer to clinching a victory over their noisy neighbours, only for them to concede from Cristiano Ronaldo’s header in the latter stages of the second half. The game ended 2-2. Torino will try to test the resistance of a Juve defence that just played a gruelling 90 minutes of football against Chelsea in midweek.
Plus, Juventus have not registered a single clean sheet in their last 20 Serie A fixtures. That would cause some extra relief within the Torino camp. Under Ivan Jurić, Torino appear to be a much more improved side now. They currently stand ninth in the points table with eight points from six games — same as Juventus, who are tenth (thanks to Torino boasting a three-goal advantage on the Old Lady).
3 key Torino players to face Juventus on Saturday
Torino are no longer a team struggling to cope with the pressure of Serie A and battling relegation. Under Jurić, they are now determined to secure a place in Europe next season, with UEFA Europa Conference League providing the clubs with an additional impetus. Beating a Massimiliano Allegri-led side that has been on a fine run of late necessitates a grander effort on Saturday. Let’s take a look at the three players who could be put up the requisite effort at the weekend.
3. Cristian Ansaldi
Newell’s Old Boys is an illustrious club in South America and certainly is a popular name all over the globe. Not only does the Argentine club hold an awe-inspiring history, but this is also where legends are born. Home of gigantic names such as Diego Maradona, Marcelo Bielsa and Lionel Messi, Newell’s Old Boys is where Cristian Ansaldi began his professional career.
As it is with the South American players, the alluring aura of playing football in Europe persuades the minds sooner or later. After spending three years with the Argentine club, Ansaldi joined Russia’s Rubin Kazan in 2008.
Nine years after that move, he arrived at Torino. In the meantime, he had a spell at Zenit Saint Petersburg, Atlético Madrid, Genoa, and Inter Milan. Perhaps he saw the Torino stint as a last attempt to leave his mark in Italy. It’s worth mentioning that he has been successful so far, amassing 10 goals and 20 assists (per Transfermarkt) for I Granata over the past five seasons.
For Jurić, Ansaldi is an irreplaceable asset. The 35-year-old is also the most experienced player in the squad that possesses an average age of 25. In Jurić’s 3-4-2-1 formation, the veteran Argentine is a wing-back, providing the width down the left. It’s quite unusual to see a right-footer playing as a left wing-back these days. But for Ansaldi, it’s his trademark.
In the 2021/22 season, he’s racked up two assists, with both coming from right-footed deliveries down that left side against Salernitana. The Bianconeri midfield and defence did well to nullify the threat posed by Chelsea wing-backs on Wednesday. It would be interesting to see whether they could the same again this weekend.