For all the winning Juventus has done this season, there seems to be one thing missing. No, no, It's not Antonio Conte celebrating on the sidelines after every goal — although I do miss that guy running up and down the sideline like a complete mad man sometimes.
Hint: It involves the competition that Juventus are playing in tomorrow.
If you guessed "Champions League win" then you can come on down and collect your very own prize!
(Black & White & Read All Over doesn't actually give out prizes.)
For the next two European games, Juventus have the chance to play the bottom feeders of Group E. And, at the same time, Chelsea and Shakhtar will basically beat each all to hell. Or that's the hope, at least. The first one, obviously, is in Denmark in 24 hours time. The next, in two weeks, is the return leg at Juventus Stadium.
So, with the squad already touching down in Copenhagen, we say one word: AVANTI!
The best part about Saturday's 2-0 win over Napoli wasn't just the fact that Juve battled for two late goals, but also how they didn't show any kind of drop off from the international break. Obviously a lot of it had to do with the fact just about everybody was off with their respective national teams, but still. The fact that they came out against a very difficult side and won was fantastic.
Now let's just hope they can continue playing like that for an extended period of time instead of throwing in a complete clunker like they did the last time the Champions League was on the schedule.
I know absolutely nothing about tomorrow's opposition other than the fact that they're from Denmark. What does that say about me? Well, you can probably guess that the amount of Danish Superliga games I've ever watched can be counted on one hand — that is also missing a few fingers.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. How much squad rotation there will be. Because, well, let's face it. Nordsjælland isn't going to be the toughest team Juventus play in the next month or so. I know it's the Champions League and you should never take any of your opponents lightly. But a little squad rotation against a team that Juventus should beat never hurt anybody.
2. How Juventus starts the game. This is the kind of game where you want things settled fast and have nothing waiting to be settled going into the final 30 minutes or so. Well, that's at least the way I think of it. Juventus should — and hopefully will — show that they're the better team early, take the lead, put the game away, and then cruise the rest of the way.
There's the blueprint, fellas. Go ahead and follow it as close as you'd like.
3. Starting strikers. Why? Because we do it every goddamn week, nerds. Mirko Vucinic said he's good to go on Facebook as the team left for Denmark on Monday, so it'll be interesting to see whether he starts from the bench or is on the field when the opening whistle sounds. Sebastian Giovinco is coming off a damn good game against Napoli over the weekend, so I'd expect to see him start. Other than that, it's really totally up in the air.
4. The right-wing battle. (And no, this has nothing to do with who I'm voting for President next week.) With Stephen Lichtsteiner not being included in the 22-man squad that departed for Denmark, it's a two-man race for who's starting on the right wing against Nordsjælland. It would make sense if Martin Caceres is picked because he has been the second stringer on the right for pretty much the entire season thus far. However, this would be a great chance for Mauricio Isla to get a start against a side where he could get some confidence going.
5. How San Gigi is looking. Not his outfit, which will be awesome as always, but the condition he is in after missing Napoli over the weekend. He presumably is completely healthy since he is back in the squad and hopefully he doesn't have much work to do on Tuesday.
6. The final result of Chelsea-Shakhtar because, well, it's pretty damn important.
My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Isla, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Vucinic, Giovinco
KICKOFF TIME: 8:45 P.M. CET, 2:45 P.M. ON THE EAST COAST, 11:45 A.M. PACIFIC