The last time Juventus and Bologna faced one another in April of 2014, Sebastian Giovinco was still getting a paycheck from the club he grew up at. There was Mauricio Isla in the same starting lineup as Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio. And Angelo Ogbonna, who played next to Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini, was actually viewed as a potential piece in Juventus' defense going forward.
Ah, how things change.
Oh and, there's one more thing: Paul Pogba was celebrating after the game, a 1-0 Juve victory thanks to a goal by the young Frenchman, by walking around with a stuffed animal. No, seriously, if you don't remember how Pogba strolled around the Juventus Stadium turf after exchanging jerseys with a Bologna player, here is the visual evidence
I feel safe in saying that we're in a much better mood to see Pogba walking around with his stuffed animal friend than we were before Juventus beat Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday. Wins can not only instill some much-needed confidence in this new Juve squad, but also inject us with some of that elusive positivity and happiness we haven't necessarily seen a lot of so far this season.
Just like the last time we talked about Juventus building off a win, one of Serie A's newbies will be coming to Turin. It's not Frosinone, it's the previously mentioned Bologna side that is back in Italy's top flight after a one-year hiatus.
Common logic tells you that it's another game that Juventus should win without question because of the obvious gulf in talent from one team to the other. But as we found out with Frosinone, it's not always like that, One of the biggest keys for Juve going forward the next couple of months is not just to get right in the big-picture aspect, but to get right against the mid-table and lower teams that they've been so effective against in recent years. Once they do that, the momentum will only continue to build and the rise up the table will actually happen instead of just hanging around the bottom third.
And I'm pretty sure none of us wants to see Juve with the same amount of points after Sunday like was the case when Saturday's games came to an end.
Just a hunch on my part, though.
.@OfficialAllegri: "Tomorrow gives us an important opportunity to start picking up points and making up ground in the league." #JuveBologna— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 3, 2015
I'm glad Max Allegri and myself are on the same page. Picking up points is a pretty easy target to figure out. And when you get three of them at once, well, then you're current 15th-place standing is going to get better in quick order.
Juventus won in the Champions League again. That's cool.
Juventus' point total through two Champions League games: 6
Juventus' point total through six Serie A games: 5
Oh. I can see where this could be a problem.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Post-Champions League lineup shakeup?
It wouldn't be a BWRAO match preview if there wasn't some kind of starting lineup talking point. So let's ask Max.
.@OfficialAllegri: "Want to know my line-up for #JuveBologna? It's unchanged from Wednesday night."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 3, 2015
Okay, onto the next one, I guess. Part of me thinks he's starting to really enjoy this after being such a mystery man with his starting lineup hints last season.
2. The Dybala-Morata partnership.
Out of all the good things to happen midweek in the Champions League, seeing Dybala and Morata play well while on the field together was one of the best. We can talk about how they're the future of Juventus' attack (as long as no buy-back clause B.S. goes down), but to see it develop right in front of our eyes right now is pretty nice, too. Dybala talked about the chemistry that's starting to develop between the two of them after the Sevilla win on Wednesday, and based on how they played it would be pretty hard to disagree with him. They've got characteristics that compliment each other so well, and that's not even considering the fact that they're all of 22 and 21 years old, respectively. They're not just growing as a partnership up front, but they're still growing and developing as players. And if they continue to play like they did against Sevilla midweek, then we're in for a lot more good times. At least I hope we are, because that would be nice.
3. How Sami Khedira responds to just a few days of rest.
As is the case with any important player coming back from an injury, how they respond to a heavy workload again is always going to be something to keep track of. But it's especially true with Khedira knowing how he's been hampered with injuries for the better part of the last 16 months. Khedira's Juventus debut was good, really good, and now we wait to see what he does for an encore. We know it will be Sunday because Allegri has told us that the starting lineup is going to be unchanged, which makes our job of trying to read his mind a lot easier. And you could tell that with Khedira on the field, things just fell more into place in the midfield. Paul Pogba was better, Hernanes was better, everything just seemed much more fluid and effective. That's exactly what Juventus hoped would be the case when they brought Khedira in on a free transfer from Real Madrid this summer, and it's what they'd like to see much more of as well. Starting, say, Sunday, for one.
4. Can Juventus actually build off their Champions League result?
It sure would be nice, wouldn't it? Consistency is the name of the game, and Juve have been anything but that through the first six weeks of the season. Allegri so desperately wants his team to go into the international break with a positive result. And who can blame him? The last time an international break was here was after the Roma loss, which certainly didn't make us any more thrilled about how the team was playing. But now that we're into the thick of the early-season schedule, and starting to find a rhythm is obviously only that much more important knowing what kind of games Juve have coming out of the international break (at Inter, vs. Borussia Monchengladbach). So, it's on you, Juventus, to stop making us so grumpy after Serie A games.
My starting XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira, Hernanes, Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra; Paulo Dybala, Álvaro Morata