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Juventus vs. Hellas Verona Preview: Round 4 — Hell(a)s Bells

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Claudio Villa

You want to know the first thing that popped into my head when I opened up a window on my internet machine and started to plan what I would type out this here preview? Of course you do! It wasn't some deep thought about how the road to Scudetto means you have to win as many games as possible against the provinciale sides in Serie A. It wasn't about how frustrating Tuesday's game against FC Copenhagen was. No, it wasn't really anything close to that.

It was that we'd get the chance to play a certain YouTube classic for the first time in months.

Sorry, but I'm really not sorry one bit.

I play this video because it means Luca Toni is coming to town. And not just Luca Toni, but all of Hellas Verona, one of Serie B's — and Italy's for that matter — biggest surprises a season ago. And now that they've gotten their much-deserved promotion to Italy's top flight, they'll be rolling into Juventus Stadium having won just as many games to begin the season as their opponents.

Wait, is that right? Yeah, it is.

  • Juventus' wins: 1-0 over Sampdoria, 4-1 over Lazio.

  • Hellas Verona's wins: 2-1 over Milan, 2-0 over Sassuolo.
Felt kinda crazy to type, but the facts are the facts. Verona and Juve are separated by all of one point through the first three games of the current Serie A season. Hellas Verona have surprised some with the way they've begun the year. Juventus? Well, they're just doing, results-wise, what we pretty much expected them to do. I don't know how many of us around expected Juventus to have such a so-so showing against INter and then suddenly forget how to score a goal against FC Copenhagen. Maybe you did, and in that case, you're smarter than you look!

So maybe this preview isn't all about Luca Toni and the song that comes along with him. But hey, it's better than nothing, right? RIGHT? Right.

GOOD NEWS

There's nothing better than an Antonio Conte team that is pissed off about their previous result. Does that mean they're guaranteed to whoop their next opponent? No, not necessarily. But


Oh, and one more thing — look who's back...

BAD NEWS

SOUND THE BERGONZI ALARM. SOUND THE BERGONZI ALARM.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

1. The effectiveness of one Mirko Vucinic...if he plays.

This could be a spinoff of everybody's favorite topic from last season's previews, "The Vucinic Effect." But since Mirko is coming off an injury and a subsequent bad outing against Inter last weekend, I don't think I will go that far. The truth is that, right now, Juventus are at their best when things are clicking between Vucinic and Carlos Tevez. Inside information, i know, but just stick with me here. Vucinic wasn't at his best against Inter, a sign that the knock he picked up over the international break might not have been completely healed like we thought.

In short: Mirko Vucinic is important. There, I said it.

2. The effectiveness of one Giorgio Chiellini...if he plays.

Squad rotation (calm down, more on that in a second) tells us that those who might have struggled against Copenhagen might get a day off on Sunday. And the way Chiellini is playing this season, he looks like he needs a day off or two. Whether he gets said rest and Angelo Ogbonna steps in after making his Champions League debut is obviously still to be determined, but it definitely should be considered. Then again, there's a reason why Conte is in Turin and I'm sitting here writing for this blog.

3. The actuality of squad rotation.

Conte announced at his pre-match presser that Marco Storari will start for Gigi Buffon in goal, so we know that. But he also had this piece of information regarding any kind of squad rotation:

To what extent Conte will go to when it comes to rotating the squad, we'll wait and see tomorrow. But if it means that this will be a regular thing, then I'm all for it. Like Conte said in the Storari piece of info, it's important for the whole squad to be involved. Why's that? Well, for one, it doesn't mean your starters are getting run into the ground because they're playing every single game. And, on top of that, it means your reserves aren't just sitting

Dare I ask about Fernando Llorente? Nah, I'll just let it be for now.

3. Just what exactly Hellas Verona are all about.

First question: Are they the team that stunned Milan on the opening weekend of the season?

Second question: Are they team that got thumped by Roma 3-0?

My answer: I don't really know. That's because it's always interesting to see newly-promoted sides when they first arrive in Serie A. Some start very well, like Verona has. Others suck from the beginning of the season and set the trend early. I obviously have no idea how Verona's season will go, but it will be interesting to get a first-hand look at what one of Serie A's newbies are all about.

4. Getting back on the horse.

Plenty of players were disappointed after the 1-1 draw in Copenhagen. Their post-match comments were plastered all over Juventus' official website, so I'm sure we've all seen a good portion of them by now. If not, they're pretty easy to track down. But the main message was one of disappointment and the desire to change what went from in Denmark. But there's just one thing missing: Actually going out and doing so. Ah, details.

My starting XI (3-5-2): Storari; Barzagli, Bonucci, Ogbonna; Isla, Vidal, Pogba, Marchisio, Asamoah; Vucinic, Tevez

OFFICIAL KICKOFF TIME: 3 P.M. IN ITALY; 9 A.M. ON THE EAST COAST; 6 A.M. ON THE WEST COAST