So, now that we have debunked the "Will Juventus ever score a goal again?" question from the Atalanta match preview over the weekend, we can move onto bigger and better things. Like, you know, bringing up another very important question regarding our favorite black-and-white-colored football club.
Can Juve do what they haven't been able to do all season and win two Serie A games in a row?
See, at BWRAO, we bring up the questions people want to hear!
But the fact still remains through the first nine Serie A rounds this season, Juventus has yet to win two straight league games. The team Juve beat over the weekend, Atalanta, has already won back-to-back league games. Same goes for Milan, which sits 10th. Same goes for every club sitting in Serie A's top five spots in the league standings. And it's no wonder that it's part of the reason why they are where they are.
The same kind of thing can be said for Juventus, who has as many wins (3) as they do losses and draws through the season's first name games.
It's pretty well established that we didn't expect Juventus to begin the season in the fashion that they have. But we can say that Juventus' game over the weekend was easily one of their best showings of the young season. And, if they want any chance of winning two games in a row, three games in a row or even 10 or 12 games in a row, then they're going to need to start not just racking up wins, but building off of them.
You know, instead of sputtering and then ending up with a disappointing loss/draw.
The thing is, though, Juventus will have to try and build off Sunday's win over Atalanta against the club that has quietly worked its way up to sixth in the table. Yes, little old Sassuolo, the club that saw its second-best goal scorer sign for Juventus this summer, is sitting just outside a European place. Sure, it's late-October and things could most definitely change, but Sassuolo is up where the big boys in Serie A are — and they're hanging right on in there.
Here's the catch, though: If Juventus wins on Wednesday night, they're even on points with Sassuolo. Yes, that rise up the table we've all been hoping for could come quickly if Juve get the job done the next few weeks (and going forward after that). So go on out there and win some games, Juventus. Sure would be nice to see you win a few in a row as we hit the quarter poll of the season, that's for sure.
Juventus entered the weekend in 14th place.
Juventus left the weekend in 12th place.
Onward and upward!
The Injury Angel sprinkled her little magic dust again and now a pair of midfielders, Roberto Pereyra and Kwadwo Asamoah will be out until mid-November at the very earliest.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Juventus' defense vs. Domenico Berardi
I love Berardi, I really do. But for one day, I hope he has a terrible game. I don't want him to score a goal against the team the vast majority of folks thinks he will be playing for next season. I want Andrea Barzagli or Leonardo Bonucci to block every one of his shot attempts. I want every Berardi picture from tomorrow's game to be of him putting both his hands on his head because he's completely frustrated. But, the thing is, for as much as I want Berardi to do nothing against my favorite (and maybe his future) team, I know that Berardi is just as capable as exploding for a hat trick and completely taking over a game whenever he's on the field. I guess the good thing is that the Juventus defense — no matter which formation Max Allegri goes with on Wednesday — is playing as well as it has all season right now, recording three consecutive shutouts in all competitions. There's no doubting that watching a confidence defense trying to stop one of Italy's best players will be entertaining, though.
2. Paulo Dybala's impact
The naysayers will now say, "But Allegri probably won't play Dybala, so you're wasting your time, pal!" But I feel safe in saying that coming off what he did on Sunday, it will be an absolute shock if Dybala isn't starting against Sassuolo on Wednesday night. That's not because I'm an absolute Dybala fanboy (which might be true anyway at this point), but it's the fact that the argument for who Juve's best player against Atalanta starts and ends at the mention of Dybala. Throw in the fact that Álvaro Morata is likely returning to the starting lineup after getting most of the Atalanta game off and you have the Morata-Dybala that is full of happy thoughts and plenty of potential for goals. If Allegri wants Dybala to earn his spot in the starting lineup, then playing like he did against Atalanta will be the ticket for that exact notion. And if Dybala continues to play like he did against Atalanta, then Allegri keeping him on the bench will become harder and harder to both justify and actually go forward with doing.
3. Can Paul Pogba build off his weekend performance?
We all know how inconsistent Pogba has been this season. But for the first time this year, we saw what Juve's midfield could be like in the win over Atalanta — Claudio Marchisio played great, Sami Khedira played great and Pogba was able to resemble the kind of productive player that he has been for the better part of his Juventus career. All three parts of the Juve midfield worked well together, and all three brought their own unique kind of characteristics. For Pogba, it was the kind of simple yet effective game where he was able to grow into the match and sprinkle in a few tricks along the way. Those big-time runs forward returned, the flicks and everything to his teammates were beneficial instead of a complete hinderance to Juve's attack. A lot like the team as a whole, it was one of Pogba's best games this season. And, also like the team as a whole, you hope it can be the start of something bigger and better rather than just a one-game type of thing.
4. Does Patrice Evra or Alex Sandro start at left (wing)back?
This is the luxury that Allegri now has. Basically he can go into any given game and think to himself, "Which really good left back am I going to play today?" It's not a bad problem to have, either. And, because of it, Allegri is able to not run either player into the ground during any given week where there's three games. Essentially is what I'm getting at is that many believe that Allegri will go with Alex Sandro against Sassuolo after Evra played over the weekend against Atalanta. It's a logical step, too — especially with the schedule being so busy these days. I understand that Allegri probably wants to slowly integrate the 24-year-old Brazilian into the squad because he's still very new to Serie A and the Juventus system as a whole. But when it comes to having to very good players at one position, why not take advantage of the ability to give an older player like Evra a rest whenever it seems fit? This isn't like how things are at the other fullback position where Allegri's having to play Simone Padoin every so often simply because he has nobody else there.
My starting XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba, Alex Sandro; Álvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala