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Juventus-Fiorentina Preview: Round 5 — Purple Haze

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Yes, I went with a Jimi Hendrix song as a title. Why? Because Jimi is awesome and you need to be reminded of it.

Now, on to more important matters.

It has only taken four games into the marathon of the 2012-13 Serie A campaign, but Juventus have found some breathing room atop the league table. Sure, you could say, that it's only the first month of the season, and you'd be correct. But when you're the clear favorite to win the Scudetto, you're supposed to be leading the pack. Juventus is taking care of business and that's the way it should be.

And like we've said so many times in the last three weeks, there's no rest for the weary.

It's rapid fire time. One game after another. When will they stop? Nobody knows. Well, actually we do, but this is the heart of the early-season schedule. And in the non-Champions League division, traveling to the beautiful land of La Viola might be one of the biggest tests Juve have to begin the season.

With that, I say one word — A-V-A-N-T-I. Avanti!

GOOD NEWS

Unbeaten streak watch: 43 games and counting. Also a full 12 out of 12 on points to begin this season. Keep it going.

What else? Well, let's see. Juventus are undefeated against Fiorentina in the last six meetings, including a 5-0 thrashing in Florence last March thanks to a huge performance from everybody's favorite Montenegrin, Mirko Vucinic. That night was fun. If Juve want to replicate something like that this time around, then I'd be completely okay with it.

BAD NEWS

That Fiorentina team is completely different than the one Juventus will be facing in less than 24 hours. While they're coming off a 1-1 draw against Parma that never should have ended that way, Vincenzo Montella's men have gotten off to a very good start this season. La Viola are currently fifth in the Serie A table, sitting on seven points, five off the pace set by Juve.

And if they didn't already, Fiorentina officially hate Juventus due to the final few days of the summer transfer window. As odd as it may have been, the transfer drama with Dimitar Berbatov (LOL ALL OF THAT) seems to have added a little bit more spice between the two clubs. And who doesn't like a heated contest between two teams that don't like each other? Sometimes those turn into the best kinds of games — or ones where 5,000 cards are issued.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

  • Fabio Quagliarella. How could you not? His performances the past two games have been one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of the early portion of the campaign. He looked utterly mediocre during the pre-season friendlies this summer, but he's suddenly come alive in the last week. There's no reason why he shouldn't be playing right now. When he's hot, he's hot. And right now is one of those times.
  • Andrea Pirlo coming off a bit of a break. Rested Pirlo is better than tired Pirlo. I'm pretty sure that's quite established by now. Saturday's win over Chievo sans #PirloBeard was successful, and now il maestro steps back in to orchestrate the Old Lady's midfield. The rest obviously will do him good for the simple fact that he didn't have to run miles upon miles and then have just a few short days to recover. Now Pirlo is back on the rest period he basically had all of last year — and we all know how that went.
  • Containing JoJo. He's the man many of us wanted Beppe Marotta to spend a whole lotta money on this summer. And unfortunately, he's the man that will be leading Fiorentina's attack against Juventus tomorrow night. He's been one of the best players in Serie A to start this season, which isn't all that surprising to us all that wanted him in bianconero. He's leading the league in scoring, with four of Fiorentina's six goals on the year. In conclusion: Stevan Jovetic is good. Really, really good.
  • SBN United. Wait, does this have to do with Juventus? Of course it does. It has to do with this blog, too. The last time this topic was brought up, we were telling you all about a nice little change in our logo. Well, the rest of the change is on its way soon — very, very soon. If things look different in the near future, then you will know that SBN has launched its newest creation, United. It's going to take some getting used to for all of us, but it's something we're all looking forward to, especially yours truly.
My Starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Vucinic, Quagliarella

GAME TIME IN THE U.S.: 2:45 P.M. EASTERN TIME, 11:45 A.M. PACIFIC.