To be honest, trying to sit down and write something about the last game of the season is never easy. Never, I tell you! Then when you consider that Juventus really has nothing to play for in the grand scheme of things — Scudetto was locked up weeks ago, the club record for points in a season is no longer obtainable — it's even tougher to tell yourself "YEAH! JUVENTUS GAME!"
But I guess the unfortunate thing is that this will be the last game preview that will appear around these parts of the interwebs for a few months. Thirty-seven fixtures have come and gone with only one left to be played. It's the final weekend of the 2012-13 season — one that started with a Supercoppa in Beijing and ended with Gigi Buffon lifting the Scudetto over his head as confetti rained down from the sky last weekend in Turin.
It's been a fantastic journey along the way. There's certainly been plenty of highs with a couple of lows thrown in along the way. That Champions League doubleheader against Bayern Munich? Yeah, that wasn't exactly the prettiest thing that has happened all season.
I could try and say how much this season has meant to the club's history and myself personally, but it's not about me. I could try and say how much Antonio Conte and Juve as a whole have accomplished this season, but I think we all know that already. We can leave the reflection until the season is officially over and everybody has played a full 90-plus minutes this weekend.
(Hint: We are going to, so don't go anywhere.)
For now, we have one final game of the season to watch. Does it have to end? Yeah, that's what the schedule says so I guess we have no choice other than full-on accepting it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't want to season to end in less than 24 hours. Yeah, that's it. Who really wants to spend their time talking nothing but transfer rumors anyway?
(Hint: Tuttosport does.)
I'm pretty sure it's been established that this is the last Juventus game of the season.
But just in case you forgot somehow: This is the last Juventus game of the season. If you don't have any games on your computer or DVR, you might want to change that before things close for the summer.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. How many players are playing in their last hurrah at Juventus? Like them or not, there are players who will be leaving Juve this summer. The list linked with an exit isn't a lengthy one, but it has noticeable names: Sebastian Giovinco, Alessandro Matri, Paolo De Ceglie and Fabio Quagliarella. Probably a few others could be thrown in there, too, but that's another discussion for another time. Three of those first four mentioned have been here since just about the beginning of Beppe Marotta's complete overhaul of the club and subsequently won multiple Scudetti with Juventus. Obviously the attention will be who will leave and then who will replace them, but for the time being they are all still under contract with Juventus. And let's be honest, it's not like they're total crap players to begin with.
2. Who will finish as Juve's capcannoniere? Because we have nothing better to talk about, I shall remind you that Juventus' two leading scorers, Arturo Vidal and Mirko Vucinic, enter tomorrow's season finale with 10 goals in Serie A this season.What have we been saying about Beppe Marotta signing a really, really good striker that scores lots and lots of goals? Ah, hell. Part of me just wants Vidal to finish as the team's leading scorer just to troll everybody and see the resulting freakout because a midfielder led the team in goals. But then again, it's Arturo Vidal and he is better than all of us, so he can do anything he damn well feels like doing and it would be okay.
3. Mauricio Isla's return to being Mauricio Isla. The topic of Thursday's post has certainly made the most of his two straight starts the past two games. It's part of the process to show he's still capable of being the player he was at Udinese last season, and certainly a confidence booster heading to an offseason where he will undoubtedly look to keep moving towards full strength. Saturday night could very well be another step in the right direction, as the Chilean winger is being tipped to ge the start on the right flank for the third consecutive game.
4. A Juventus win. Why? Because ending the season with a win is cool. And beating all 20 teams in Serie A is cool, too. Nobody wants to say they lost the last game of the year, either — especially Sampdoria twice in the same season.
My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Isla, Vidal, Pirlo, Marcihisio, De Ceglie; Giovinco, Matri
OFFICIAL KICKOFF TIME: 8:45 P.M. IN ITALY; 2:45 P.M. ON THE EAST COAST; 11:45 A.M. ON THE WEST COAST