Juventus travel to Parma on Saturday for their last Serie A match before the international break, the reigning Italian champions looking to maintain their perfect start against the newly-promoted outfit.
Just being in the top-flight this season represents success for Parma, the mid-1990s favourites declared bankrupt back in 2015, and forced to restart from the fourth tier. Repeated promotions have brought them back to prominence, but a draw with Udinese and a loss to SPAL in the first two rounds underline just how much work they still have to do.
“I have to thank the club for putting together a strong squad that can achieve safety,” Coach Roberto D’Aversa told reporters at a press conference recently. “But it’ll be different for us as the fans were getting accustomed to good results in Lega Pro and Serie B, but Serie A is a very different level.
"We’re no longer among the favourites and must try not to waste the miraculous achievements of the last three years. The mistake we really mustn’t make is to think about the past,” he added, and that will continue with the difficult challenge of host the Bianconeri this coming weekend.”
Parma actually won their last meeting with Juventus back in April 2015, snatching a 1-0 triumph as the Bianconeri had already wrapped up the league, and their own relegation was confirmed. Before that though, the Gialloblu have struggled, drawing twice and losing five, while being outscored by a margin of 17 to 3, suffering a humiliating 7-0 defeat in their final Serie A campaign.
The Old Lady has enjoyed a dominant start to the new season, winning both her early games, and she will undoubtedly look to continue that against a Parma side which has drawn with Udinese and lost to SPAL in their opening two top flight matches.
In the latter they looked particularly poor, and with Juve’s plethora of attacking weapons, it is difficult to see beyond an easy away win here and that is reflected in the odds, Karamba offering just 2/13 on a Bianconeri victory.
With two games already under his belt, this weekend will surely be the moment when Cristiano Ronaldo scores his first goal for Juventus. Earlier this week, the Portuguese star was given UEFA’s Goal of the Year award for his sensational overhead kick against the Bianconeri in last season’s Champions League, but the chance to take on such a subpar defence here should have him eager for more.
CR7 netted on his debut for Sporting Lisbon and in each of his first four outings for Real Madrid, leaving little doubt that he will soon be banging them in in Serie A too. “We’re talking about a player who has scored more than 500 goals,” former Italy and Juventus winger Mauro Camoranesi told Tuttosport this week.
“Just because he didn’t score in his first two games, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just one of those things. He’ll score tons of goals before the end of the season. He has everything, explosive power, pace and technique.”
It would be no surprise to see him begin doing just that this coming weekend, and Bet365 are offering odds of 15/8 for Ronaldo to score first against Parma or 4/9 on Ronaldo to net at any time, both options that are well worth considering.
Those looking for overall value in this game should look at Juve’s recent record, particularly in attack where they have scored at least twice in five of their previous six Serie A outings. That includes both games this season, which perhaps makes going high with the total number of goals worth considering.
The SPAL defeat showed that Parma’s defence is not as strong as it should be, and the team from Ferrara would have undoubtedly won by more than just a single goal if they had a competent striker in the lineup.
With Cristiano Ronaldo, Douglas Costa, Paolo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic all waiting for this Saturday evening clash, Juventus have no such concerns and 888 Sport are offering 16/25 on there being over 2.5 goals. For those willing to take even more of a risk, it might even be worth looking at over 3.5 goals at 17/10 - that's very tempting from 888 Sport.