The objectives are clear. One last tuneup, one last chance to make sure the squad has an opponent besides themselves before the Italian Super Coppa in China a week from today.
What is all of this about? Well, it's another friendly of course! Hooray hooray!
That's right. It's off to Salerno to face off against Malaga, the still-need-to-be-paid-off-debts, might-be-selling-lots-of-players-soon fourth-place team from La Liga a year. Seriously, if you haven't been reading some of the stories about Malaga in recent weeks — and I'm not just talking about Santi Cazorla being sold to Arsenal for much less than what he's probably worth — you really should. It really is incredible stuff, especially for a club that was supposed to, with the aid of foreign investors
Back to the game. Avanti!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
- How much time the starting squad will get. Antonio Conte fielded, outside of a few players out due to injury, what could be his regular starting lineup. And with the Super Coppa just seven days away, will Conte stretch out the legs of the squad he'll use in Beijing? Or will Il Mister keep the line changes going once the game gets into the 60th minute and beyond?
- Sebastian Giovinco. Yes, I'm talking about Sebastian Giovinco. Why am I talking about Sebastian Giovinco? Well, because his first match since returning to the club of his youth was maybe the best of anybody against Benfica. Gio was incredibly productive, causing trouble with both his individual creativity and passing ability. For a guy who barely played at the Euros and is just getting back into the swing of things in terms of training, his performance against Benfica was certainly a huge positive.
- Where Luca Marrone plays. I know I mentioned him a few ago, but seeing as well as Marrone has played as a makeshift centerback in a 3-5-2, the possibility of him playing there in the future seems more and more likely. He has shown no nerves, no worrying signals at all. His increasing versatility is really becoming an asset.
- Andrea Pirlo's beard. Because it's awesome. End of story.
- Kwadwo Asamoah as a wingback? Well, it happened in Wednesday's 1-1 draw against Benfica, so maybe Conte is up to something. I dunno. But maybe, just maybe Conte is thinking outside the box and trying Asamoah at different spots just in case he wants to keep him in the lineup. Who knows, though. I could just be brainstorming for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
- The squad list can be found here.
Juventus XI (3-5-2):
Buffon Storari; Lichtsteiner, Marrone, Lucio; Padoin, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Matri, Giovinco