Preview: Hellas Verona vs. Cremonese
A battle at the bottom of Serie A sees Hellas Verona host fellow strugglers Cremonese on Monday evening, with the sides having posted just one league win between them this term.
Under new management, Hellas at least took a point away to Torino in their first fixture of 2023, but their visitors were denied a draw by conceding in stoppage time to Juventus.
Having ended 2022 occupying 20th place, following a club record 10 straight defeats, things could only get better for Verona upon their return to competitive action on Wednesday, when they travelled to Turin with a new head coach at the helm.
Hired to replace caretaker manager Salvatore Bocchetti, who now becomes his assistant at Stadio Bentegodi, ex-Chievo coach Marco Zaffaroni saw Milan Djuric’s header put Hellas in front against Torino, but his new side ultimately had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Bringing a slight glimmer of hope in a dismal season for the club, Djuric – whose opener was his fifth headed goal from his last six strikes in Serie A – halted the Gialloblu’s losing streak at last, but they still remain eight points adrift of safety nearing the season’s halfway stage.
Goals have been hard to come by this term, but it is a leaky defence which consigns Verona to such a lowly position, and they have now conceded at least once in each of their last 23 league matches.
All of which means it is little surprise that the Scaligeri have lost nine of their last 10 home fixtures, after having remained unbeaten in seven of the previous 10 when former boss Igor Tudor was in charge.
Verona are, though, unbeaten at home against Cremonese throughout a handful of previous meetings in the top flight, but their only home win against the Lombardy club was back in March 1985, during the distant glory days of Preben Elkjaer and Hans-Peter
In total, Cremonese have won only one of their six Serie A encounters with Verona, but more pressingly, they are yet to win at all in this season’s comeback campaign following another defeat on Wednesday.
Having held Juventus goalless at Stadio Giovanni Zini until the 91st minute, Massimiliano Alvini’s men seemed set for a precious point which would inch them closer to escaping the division’s bottom three, but Juve’s Arkadiusz Milik struck at the death; consigning them to a ninth loss since promotion.
Cremonese are still without victory since returning to the top flight after more than 20 years away, and since Serie A switched to 20 teams in 2004, only one side has ended the first half of the season without a single win – incidentally, Verona seven years ago.
Alvini has just two games left to prevent such a fate befalling his team, and after visiting Veneto on Monday another presentable opportunity at home to Monza arrives next weekend.
Then set to tackle league leaders Napoli in the Coppa Italia later this month, the Grigiorossi have earned just four points from their first eight away matches this season, so would delight in boosting that tally at a relegation rival’s expense.
Hellas Verona Serie A form:
Cremonese Serie A form:
We say: Hellas Verona 0-1 Cremonese
Buoyed by their impressive performance against Juve, Cremonese can finally end their drought by beating the only side sitting beneath them in the Serie A standings. The visitors will be able to catch Verona out at least once, and now have the discipline to get three points over the line at long last.