We've done our waiting. More than any team in all of Serie A outside of tonight's opponent. But now, with the break in action officially over, we can say one thing and one thing only: JUVENTUS BACK.
And not a bad way to kick things off, too.
At least in theory, that is.
After 16 rounds of football and an extra holiday break thrown in, the Derby d'Italia has arrived, ladies and gentlemen. Juventus Stadium will be as loud and bananas as ever when the ball is kicked off in less than two hours. The decibel levels will be off the charts — something that has basically become the norm when big-time games are on the docket in Turin.
Here's the thing about tonight's derby: In one corner, you have an entire Juventus squad that has had two weeks to sit and stew on the loss to Napoli in the Supercoppa to close out the 2014 calendar year. In the other, there's only one thing that's been consistent about Inter regardless of who their manager has been this season — they haven't played very well.
Roberto Mancini will obviously attempt to use the Derby d'Italia as a potential turning point in his squad's season. They get a result, then they'll be looking to turn it into more than just a one-time deal.
So how do you prevent that? Well, by doing what Juventus has done a good number of times the last couple of months. That means an early lead, play solid at the back and the three points follow.
Now it's just about executing something that sounds so simple but is sometimes so frustratingly difficult to actually see happen. Or maybe we'll just look at funny pictures for the next couple of hours.
JUVENTUS - INTER pic.twitter.com/YM3ToqSTze— VALERIO MARINI (@MariniCartoons) January 6, 2015
You see, they're shaking hands while sitting in Christmas stockings. That's funny.
Starting lineups for both Juventus and Inter will be posted RIGHT HERE when they become available. I hate to break it to the Simone Padoin fanboys out there, but this probably won't be the game where your No. 1 player gets extended minutes. You never know, though...
UPDATE: LINEUPS ARE IN!
Juventus XI (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba; Vidal; Tevez, Llorente
Juventus bench: Storari, Rubinho, Caceres, Ogbonna, Pepe, Morata, Coman, Giovinco, Padoin, Pereyra, Mattiello, Marrone
Inter (4-3-2-1): Handanovic; Campagnaro, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, D'Ambrosio; Guarin, Medel, Kuzmanovic; Kovacic, Hernanes; Icardi
Inter bench: Carrizo, Andreolli, Osvaldo, Podolski, Vidic, Obi, Dodò, Puscas, Krhin, Donkor, M'Vila, Bonazzoli
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