It seems like we've been here before, doesn't it?
A mid-week meh-fest followed up by the chance, on short rest, to put the previous result in the rear view mirror. Pretty sums the past two weeks, doesn't it? Just change a few jersey colors and viola! It's the same. Kinda, I guess.
Juventus travel to Tuscany to face Siena in the final game before the latest and greatest international break. This tie doesn't have as much pizazz as it did a year ago when Antonio Conte returned to the team he lead to a Serie A promotion, but it's still the chance to right the wrongs of Tuesday's showing against Shakhtar and get some momentum going again.
That's what happened against Roma. Now there's the chance to rinse and repeat and do the same thing against Siena.
That would be fun. I mean, who doesn't like when Juventus scores more goals than the other team and play incredibly awesome in the process?
(If you raised your hand while answering that, lol u.)
Siena enters the pre-international break clash with total bag of mixed results. Example: Beat Inter 2-0. Then, one week later, lose to Lazio 2-1.See? Totally unpredictable. But then again, can't we say that for just about anything in the calcio world these days?
Siena's biggest strength this season has been keeping the opposition from finding the back of the net — there's only three teams (Napoli, Juventus, and Torino) who have allowed fewer goals (6) in the first six games of the Serie A season. Then there's the whole starting the season at minus-6 because of the match-fixing nonsense that continues to occupy or minds, but we won't get into that. Although, if it wasn't for starting the season with the big penalty, Siena would be sitting comfortably in sixth instead of hanging out in the relegation zone.
We're at 45 games unbeaten and counting. That's pretty awesome.
The fellas may be a wee bit tired, as a lot of you guys probably already know by now. When the Juventus squad takes the field tomorrow, it will be their fifth game in the span of 17 days. That's something we knew going in that would happen, but when you reach the end and look back on it, it's still pretty darn impressive.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Squad rotation. It's been rumored for a couple days now, and I understand why. Conte has made it no secret that with all the extra fixtures this season, he's going to take advantage of his squad's depth. You can likely count on hand where Juventus' strongest XI has been fielded. There's usually at least one player getting rest every game, and that's fine with me. Hopefully Juventus are busy for a lot of the season, that means they've advanced a long way in the Champions League and Coppa Italia.
2. Strikers. I know I say it pretty much every game, but you're just gonna have to deal with it. The non-Vucinic rotation plan seems like it's a go once again. If it were my guess, Sebastian Giovinco would be the next one to get a ride of the Magical Mystery Striker Tour. I'm done with the expectation that anybody but Vucinic will hold down a regular starting spot while they all struggle to find some good form. That's kinda expected, though, so I won't get too upset about it.
3. Luca Marrone. Why do I mention Mr. Brown? Well, because he's the name being thrown about in the media as the guy to replace the suspended Leo Bonucci. And let me just say this: I'm in full support of it. Marrone was fantastic in the preseason as a makeshift center back. To be honest, it looked he had been playing there for years. While Bonucci is a good passer out of the back, Marrone is a step up, which should add something to a starting lineup that looks like it will be Pirlo-less on Sunday.
4. How Juventus do against a three-man defense. We saw it against Fiorentina last week. We've seen it a few times last season as well. For whatever the reason is, when Juventus face a team that also sports a 3-5-2 — or some kind of variation of it — they seem to struggle. Who knows whether Siena will pack the midfield like Fiorentina did in the scoreless draw in Florence. If they do, however, things might not be as much of a piece of cake as it could possibly be.
My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Marrone, Chiellini; Isla, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Vucinic, Giovinco
Siena probable (3-4-2-1): Pegolo; Neto, Paci, Felipe; Sestu, Vergassola, Rodriguez, Del Grosso; Rosina, Ze Eduardo; Calaio
SCHEDULED KICKOFF TIMES IN THE U.S.: 9 A.M., 6 A.M. PACIFIC