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.
Oh, and one more thing — look who's back...
Conte: The return of @ClaMarchisio8 will enable me to rotate in midfield. He played in our midweek friendly & will be available for Sunday.— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 21, 2013
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:
Conte: It's only right for me to rotate the side, and those who work hard during the week deserve the opportunity to play. #JuveVerona— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 21, 2013
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