After an international break full of World Cup qualifiers, we now take you back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Pull up a chair, maybe even throw your feet up in your fancy new recliner (/looks at self/) and get ready for the bianconeri's return to the field. Man, this was two long weeks. The continuous transfer stories didn't help. Thanks, Tuttosport. You sons...I'll stop right there.
Juventus return to the field with their Serie A undefeated streak still intact. That's fantastic, although not all surprising seeing as they haven't played in two weeks. Yeah, not exactly earth-shattering information. But hey, they're still rolling strong, aren't they?
This is the time of year when things really start to get busy. If the international break was the calm before the storm, then the eye is hanging right over Torino and it's raining buckets with winds cranking full force. Tomorrow's match against Genoa kicks off a stretch of seven games before the next international break rolls around (after Juve's trip to Siena on Oct. 7).
It will certainly be a busy time, but one I'm sure we all are thankful for. Everybody else in the Champions League has the same kind of craziness going on with their scheduling, so it's not like Juve are the only ones dealing with such issues.
The international break has allowed Juve's injury problems to at least somewhat go away. The talk this week has included a couple of players who play on the right side of the field. For one, Mauricio Isla looks like he could be making his Juventus debut after returning to the Chilean national team over the international break after his lengthy layoff. The same goes for the return of a certain high sock-wearing Uruguayan, Martin Caceres, who has been training with the reduced squad at Vinovo while everybody else has been away with their respective national teams.
Further proof of Juve's improved health from the Twitter machine:
Carrera: Isla played for Chile and he's also in good shape and available #GenoaJuve #Juventus
Carrera: The players on international duty have returned in good condition #GenoaJuve #Juventus
Carrera: Lucio has recovered and everyone is available. We have plenty of options for #GenoaJuve #Juventus
Yeah, that has a nice sound to it.
If Ciro Immobile scores a goal on Sunday, it will be for Genoa, not Juventus. That's too bad.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Ciro Immobile. I mean, really, how can we not keep an eye on him? We are all hoping his season in co-ownership can even come close to replicating that of Sebastian Giovinco's stay at Parma. The 22-year-old Immobile tore up Serie B, and has gotten off to a good start with Geona, recording a goal and an assist to begin the year. He's now on everybody's radar. Some even think Juventus should've brought him back this season after scoring a bazillion goals with Pescara a season ago. If he wants to not score a goal tomorrow, that would be fine with me. But after that, keep the train rolling, kid.
- Whoever the heck starts up top. In recent days, the rumor mill has been suggesting it's a Matri-Vucinic combo up top against Genoa. If that's the case, then who knows what may happen. It seems like the combo is either boom or bust lately. Matri recorded a brace in Juve's first game against Genoa last season, so there's at least some hope for some goals, right?
- General squad selection. How many players will Juve rest for Chelsea and the mid-week Champions League opener or will the squad pretty much resemble the one we saw in the win against Udinese?
It's an interesting choice, as I talked about in Friday's post. Obviously one of this summer's main objetives was to improve the squad's depth and that was done quite swiftly by Beppe Marotta. This is one of those games where, if Antonio Conte choses to rest a good portion of his regulars, where that depth would be put to good use.
My starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Marrone, Marchisio, Asamoah; Matri, Vucinic
Genoa probable (4-3-3): Frey; Ferronetti, Canini, Granqvist, Antonelli; Kucka, Seymour, Merkel; Jankovic, Immobile, Borriello