Chievo face weakened Juventus

Juventus will not be at full strength when they travel to Verona for Saturday's Serie A opener against Chievo.

Last Updated: 29/08/14 at 13:53

Fernando Llorenre: Not likely to start on Saturday.

Fernando Llorenre: Not likely to start on Saturday.

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The three-time defending champions suffered a blow this week with Italian veteran playmaker Andrea Pirlo ruled out for a month with a muscular problem.

Juve are also without new signing Alvaro Morata, who is sidelined for a month with a knee injury, and suspended defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Fernando Llorente and Sebastian Giovinco are set to start from the bench against Chievo with both strikers having struggled with flu this week.

Despite those setbacks, new Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri is confident his team can get off to a good start.

"The team has worked well in pre-season," he said. "We are ready to start the campaign.

"This group knows each other well as they have played together for three years and are mentally strong.

"Nevertheless, the first game is always a challenging one.

"We expect a difficult game against a Chievo side that has made many changes to its team."

Allegri replaced Conte, who left Juve this summer to take Italy's vacant coaching post.

The former AC Milan tactician has big shoes to fill because Conte underlined his status as one of the best managers in Europe by leading Juve to the title for the last three consecutive seasons.

Juve finished the 213-14 Serie A campaign with a record 102 points, winning

33 and losing just two of their 38 games.

Chievo have won just one of their previous 22 league meetings against Juve and know what to expect come Saturday.

"We know we face a battleship but we are ready to make life difficult for the defending champions," Chievo coach Eugenio Corini said. "Our club has done a good job in the transfer market and I'm very happy with the work my players have done in pre-season."

The Flying Donkeys have won just one of their previous 22 league games against Juve.

The hosts narrowly avoided relegation last term and have signed 15 players this summer, including former AC Milan midfielder Valter Birsa.

Carlos Tevez, who struck 19 goals in 31 league appearances for Juve last term, will lead the Bianconeri's attack this weekend.

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Serie A Fixtures

Sunday, 21 December 2014
11:30
Verona v Chievo  
14:00
Atalanta v Palermo  
Fiorentina v Empoli  
Sampdoria v Udinese  
Torino v Genoa  
19:45
Inter v Lazio  
Monday, 05 January 2015
Lazio v Sampdoria  
Tuesday, 06 January 2015
14:00
AC Milan v Sassuolo  
Chievo v Torino  
Empoli v Verona  

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