Juventus-Catania Preview: Round 9 — Elephant Walk

Valerio Pennicino

Elephants make me think of peanuts that make me think of Snickers bars that makes me think of Halloween. TRICK OR TREAT!!!

Hmmm, I don't know about you, but it seems like we've been in this situation before. And not that long ago. I'm thinking that way because it's pretty much the truth. So, after a mid-week Champions League facepalm-fest, Juventus return to the Serie A looking to rebound against one of the provinciale squads.

Much like the game against Siena that we just brought up, it's away from home. That's too bad. I'm sure the tifosi at the Juventus Stadium would sure like to watch their team take another step towards something that's quite historically significant.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, look down about seven paragraphs.)

This won't be incredibly extensive. No scoops. No inside information. Here's just a few things I may request on Sunday as I watch this game in the middle of the night (lol california) while the rest of the state sleeps:

1. A non-eventful win.

2. Juventus to start well.

3. Juventus to create chances and finish a good number of them.

It's not all that difficult, right? I mean, I understand that Catania can be a difficult side at times. But this is Juventus and it seems like, no matter what happens in Europe this year, all they do domestically is win, win, win.

Sounds good to me.

GOOD NEWS

It's not the Champions League.

Juventus are unbeaten in the last 47 Serie A games.

Need I say more?

BAD NEWS

Marco Motta is no longer on the Catania roster, therefore I can't guarantee an own goal or sending off like last season to any of you. SORRY.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

1. Shaking things up. Sure, the squad rotation has been going on pretty much the entire season. That's not really a surprise to any of us. But to what extent will it happen on Sunday? Especially considering the fact that a lot of players had sub-par games in Denmark earlier in the week. It may not be a complete squad revolution, but I'm expecting a couple of things to look different than they were on Tuesday.

2. The right wing. It's gotta be back to the Swiss Express, right? I mean, that seems like the natural rotation of things. But I don't know. It's not Lichtsteiner has been wowing us with his form over the past month or two. And over that same course of time he's become completely worn out. Martin Caceres deserves a start even more than Mauricio Isla at this point. Come on, Conte, give us some high socks.

3. The Pogba Effect. Of all the changes that may or may not happen against Catania, Pogba-for-Arturo Vidal seems like it will actually take place. With the Chilean midfielder struggling for what seems like the first time in his Juventus career, a game or two on the bench seems like the most logical option. So, in steps Mr. Manchester United (heh) himself, looking to continue his impressive start to his own career in Turin. It'll be in a different role, of course, compared to where he has been playing in the past as a vice-Pirlo. But the way he's playing at the moment, it doesn't really seem to matter where Pogba plays in the midfield. Plus, the possibility for more of this:

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4. The Giovinco Effect. As one of the few players that had a positive trip to Denmark, little Seba looks like he has found his footing after a rough patch a little while back. He's not scoring goals — shout-out to all nine of the shots he took against Nordsjælland on Tuesday — but he's certainly creating chances. And not just for himself, but for others as well. That's the Giovinco I was hoping for when he came back to Juventus. Some may continue to doubt him, and that's fine. They can go right ahead and do so. But I'm perfectly okay with him playing the way he is right now — although a goal here and there would be nice, though.

5. The Asamoah Effect. Have no fear, ladies and gents. Awesomemoah is back in training. And his return to the lineup will be greatly appreciated, seeing as every time he takes the field it seems like the left wing is virtually on complete lockdown mode. Things just didn't look right with him out of the lineup on Tuesday night in Denmark. And while I am still a supported of Paolo De Ceglie, there's no doubting who the No. 1 choice at left wingback is right now.

My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Caceres, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Vucinic, Giovinco

KICKOFF TIME: 12:30 P.M. IN EUROPE, 7:30 A.M. ON THE EAST COAST, 4:30 A.M. ON THE WEST COAST

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