Juventus vs. Cagliari Preview: Round 38 — Last call at Juventus Stadium

Enrico Locci

One last game to talk about and then it's nothing but transfer and Antonio Conte rumors. You better get ready because this place is about to be more ridiculous than Tuttosport on a slow news day. (Just kidding.)

Sometimes I like to look back on old previews and posts to compare how I went about things. And after typing a few sentences I looked at the preview for last season's final game, and I realized that I was about to go down the same path.

So, let me try this again.

JUVENTUS AGAINST CAGLIARI! THE FINAL GAME OF THE 2013-14 SEASON! Doesn't exactly have much bite to it, huh? Doesn't sound like something you want to immediately drop what you're doing and intentionally do nothing else the rest of the day for? But what if I told you two hours after kickoff happens that Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon will be doing something pretty cool?

Now we're talking here.

Juventus against Cagliari isn't just the final game of the season, but the beginning of a day that is likely to be filled with celebrations and certainly a couple of cocktails for those around Turin and Juventus Stadium along the way. There are also a few things to get out of the way before the real and official party starts after the final whistle blows.

  • The chance to get to extended the Serie A single-season points record to 102 points.

  • The chance to go a perfect 19 for 19 at Juventus Stadium this season.

See? There's still a few things to do before Buffon lifts the trophy and there's a Scudetto parade throughout the streets of Turin. And while there's nothing really better than having a third straight season end with a parade, having a win be the 90-minute introduction to it would be awfully nice, don't you think?

It's been the case the last two times they've had a Scudetto party at Juventus Stadium to close out the season. There's no reason to think that a third straight year of hardware and a accompanying celebration with the masses wouldn't be welcomed with open arms.

So grab your party hats, ladies and gents. We've got some celebrating to do.

GOOD NEWS

Juventus will be heavy, heavy favorites to finish the season with 102 points. Take that, Inter.

Oh, and they also won the Scudetto for a third straight year. Don't know if you heard that by now, but just reminding everybody because I can.

BAD NEWS

Round 38 should say it all, folks. It's the last game of the 2013-14 season. :(

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

1. This can't be Antonio Conte's last hurrah, right? RIGHT?????

I went back and forth on this because I really, really don't want to think about a Juventus squad not being managed by Antonio Conte. The rumors are basically ever-present these days, with no end in sight until there is a truly definitive word from the Juventus management. That's just how it's going to be no matter how much we dislike all this mumbo jumbo going on during the season. But with the season coming to an end after tomorrow's matchup against Cagliari, the microscope will be directly solely in Conte's direction — and it's easy to get why that's going to be the case. Conte is the biggest reason why Juve are back to being the best team in Italy. And with his recent comments in the press, there's going to be a whole lot of speculation as to whether he will continue to be in charge. He's going to be a sought after man no matter what, but Beppe Marotta has to do whatever it takes to keep Conte around.

Conte-kiss-gif-rovid_medium

Don't go, Antonio. We will miss you too dang much.

2. How many regular starters actually play?

Like a lot of weeks, I peruse the predicted lineups that are coming from Italy's media outlets. And much to my surprise, those predicted lineups has a good number of regular starters included in the 11 players who will take the field tomorrow against Atalanta. There will be the obvious changes — no Arturo Vidal (knee surgery) or Giorgio Chiellini (suspension). Does all of this mean Simone Padoin won't get a third consecutive start? Oh, you just never know. But if the predicting people predict what they try to do correctly, then it very well could be a rather strong — and first-choice — lineup taking on Cagliari to close out the season.

3. Can Carlos Tévez get to 20 league goals?

Juventus haven't had a player finish with 20 goals in a season since the days of ADP and Trezegol. (Sorry, Ale Matri, but your 20-goal season a few years back was with Cagliari and Juventus. Just being technical.) Tévez won't win the Serie A scoring title unless he goes absolutely nuts against Cagliari tomorrow night, but 20 goals isn't such a bad way to wrap up what has been a fine first season in black and white. The thing is, though, not many of those said projected lineups I mentioned above have Tévez actually getting the start in the season finale tomorrow. Well, until

So, if we see Carlitos get the start tomorrow, we know who to thank, I guess.

4. Gigi Buffon or Marco Storari?

Not that I really care because I love the both of them, but Antonio Conte has shown the preference to give San Gigi some extra rest once the Scudetto is clinched in the past. And this season hasn't been any different. After Juve won the title a few weeks back, Storari magically has appeared in the starting lineup the past two games. Maybe it will be Buffon who gets the start in the season finale simply because that's what ti. Or maybe Conte will make sure Buffon is well rested for the excruciating task of lifting the Scudetto over his head in the post-game party. It's a tough life being captain of Juventus sometimes. Being the first one to touch the trophy isn't exactly something that makes it so.

My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Cáceres, Bonucci, Ogbonna; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Llorente, Tévez

OFFICIAL KICKOFF TIME: 3 P.M. IN ITALY; 9 A.M. ON THE EAST COAST; 6 A.M. ON THE WEST COAST

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