We now take you away from your regularly scheduled programming to bring you a very important announcement....
Coppa Italia time!!!
/trumpets start blaring/
Okay, so maybe not. But a guy can hope, right? Yeah, I didn't think so either. It would've been cool, though.
Regardless, Antonio Conte and his band of bianconeros return to the same Juventus Stadium field 72 hours after their embarrassing 2-1 loss to 10-man Sampdoria on Sunday. Or it was disappointing. Or it gave us flashbacks to days when men who screamed "Meeeeelosh!!!" for 90 minutes were on the Juventus sidelines. Or it was just a terrible game all around. Or, maybe, it was all of the above.
But now Juventus look to at least get some momentum going again in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia. There will be squad rotation as there always is. (Rumors that say it is required by Coppa Italia law have yet to be confirmed.) There will also be a packed house at the Juventus Stadium. Why? Well, it's the Coppa, yes. But it's also Juve-Milan and what Juventino doesn't like to be in attendance for one of those?
It may sound odd, but I like the fact that Juventus are basically right back on the field after such a terrible showing against Sampdoria. The announcers on my Samp stream said the loss could be the start of something bad for Conte and Juve, but I'm thinking a little differently — it could work exactly like the last time Juve suffered a Serie A loss. And with Conte back and involved with everything once again, I think it's safe to say that putting out the same kind of effort that was present against Sampdoria won't be tolerated again.
Injuries, injuries, injuries. No Giorgio Chiellini (get used to hearing that, unfortunately). No Claudio Marchisio, who picked up a "heavy bruise" on his right knee, according to the Juventus folks. Rough guess is that Principino is out a week or two, but I'm not a doctor nor do I attempt to play one on television. (For the record, Conte expects Marchisio to be out a couple of days. You all can exhale now.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. How Juventus responds. Easily the biggest thing to watch tomorrow night. There's no doubting Conte's men will be angry. But there's also the fact that they need to play the way they were before the break rather than how they came out of it. There will obviously be changes to the lineup, but that can't be any kind of excuse.
2. What the defense and midfield looks like. As is basically common practice, the Coppa Italia is where you use the depth (or lack there of) to your advantage. However, because of some critical injuries, the depth in the back and the midfield isn't what it usual is. It's more of a tougher call in the center of the park for Conte just for the simple fact that there are more players available to him. However, the same can't be said in defense — especially with no Chiellini.
3. Luca Marrone in his new yet kinda old role. First, I present you this:
"There will be a bit of rotation. Luca Marrone will play in the Pirlo role. I want to see how he gets on. He represents the present and the future. I want to see his growth."
So, Luca's back in the midfield. To be honest, I'm just happy he's playing — regardless of where it may be. But due to the fact he's been a vice-Bonucci up until, playing time has obviously been tough to come by since Leo has been so good and injury-free this season.
My starting XI )3-5-2): Storari; Caceres, Bonucci, Barzagli; Isla, Vidal, Marrone, Pogba, De Ceglie;
Quagliarella Giovinco, Matri
KICKOFF TIME: 8:45 P.M. IN ITALY; 2:45 P.M. ON THE EAST COAST; 11:45 A.M. ON THE WEST COAST (ALSO KNOWN AS THE BEST COAST)