Serie A Head-To-Head: Walter Mazzarri vs Massimiliano Allegri

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 17 February 2018, 17:48

Former Watford boss Walter Mazzarri seems to have found a good match with his new club Torino.

After the Granata fired former Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic last January owner Urbano Cairo opted to replace him with Mazzarri, and the 56-year-old is still unbeaten with three wins and two draws.

The axe had fallen for Mihajlovic after a 2-0 defeat to cross-city rivals Juventus in the Coppa Italia, and the new man in charge is about to face the same fixture in the league at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino this Sunday.

He will face Massimiliano Allegri in the away dugout, a man who had been criticised in midweek after letting a two-goal lead slip to 2-2 at home versus Tottenham in the Champions League. While the duo are not at all similar in their approach – Mazzarri in general much more animated than Allegri – they both hail from Livorno, a coastal area of Tuscany.

The Juve boss was brought up in the city, but his Granata counterpart originates from San Vincenzo, about 50 kilometres southeast. “We are of the same blood but we express ourselves in different ways,” said Allegri of his fellow Tuscan several years ago. “Getting mad and raising your voice doesn’t work every time, there are different ways to show your authority.”

However this time Mazzarri shouldn’t need to fire up his players too much, as they will all know exactly how much the Derby della Mole means to their passionate supporters. Torino are very much the underdogs in this fixture, having won just once – a 2-1 victory back in 2015 – in the last 23 years.

“A statistic tells you that winning is directly proportional to the salaries you pay. So the more you pay for players the more you win,” said Toro president Urbano Cairo in a pre-match interview with RMC Sport.

“You need to have players who are strong, ready and at their peak, and you have to pay them accordingly. We at Torino have a turnover of ¤70 million, which could maybe become higher if we sell some players. Juventus have a turnover of ¤500 million.”

The former Watford boss mustn’t think that his employer’s words let him off the hook completely however, as Mazzarri’s predecessor Mihajlovic will certainly testify. Their current good run of form must have inspired his players to think that there is a chance to upset Juve – who have won the last six consecutive Serie A titles – especially considering their struggles in midweek.

He may not have faced his Livornese counterpart whilst he has been with the Bianconeri, but Mazzarri has triumphed over Allegri with Inter whilst the latter boss was in charge at Milan. The last of those aforementioned encounters was a 1-0 win for the Nerazzurri in the Derby della Madonnina, a goal from Rodrigo Palacio separating the two sides back in December 2013.

The first match between the two was as far back as 2008, Allegri coming out the victor as his Cagliari side beat Mazzarri’s Sampdoria 1-0. Their head-to-head record comes out as extremely close with five draws and the current Juve man just coming out on top with a ratio of three wins to two.

In Sunday’s edition of the Turin derby the pair will meet for the first time since that aforementioned Milan derby five years ago, with Allegri undoubtedly hoping he can erase the memory of Tuesday’s disappointment versus Spurs. He should revert back to a 4-3-3 system, with the Italian press suggesting his opposite number could spring a tactical surprise, playing 4-3-2-1 with Daniele Baselli higher up the pitch alongside Iago Falque as the duo support star striker Andrea Belotti.

Perhaps the famous matchup could be also be described as a Tuscan derby this time around but, if Walter Mazzarri can achieve a result at home, he will also be the hero of the Granata half of Turin.

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