Maybe one day we'll all just sit back with a beer or two in our hands and have a laugh about the season we're currently witnessing. "Hey, remember that time Simone Padoin was deployed as a holding midfielder? That was great!" Or maybe we can talk about the Paulo Dybala Wars, ones that went on and on until the baby-faced Argentine became a regular starter. You know, all those good times!
But, until that day, we're left to just sit and grumble and whatever else about what this season currently is, where Juventus currently sit in the Serie A standings — you know, it's still at a whopping 12th place, guys! — and how finding consistency seems like trying to translate a foreign language we've never heard of before.
We've talked about how Headdesk Juventus has vastly outweighed Good Juventus this season. It's not six of one, half dozen of the other. Far from it, actually. Just when we think this squad might be turning a corner and becoming something of a quality team, they take another couple of steps back and prove yet again how much of a complete scramble they currently are.
Juventus enter Saturday's Derby della Mole against Torino as the definition of a table hovering around mid-table — a few decent games, some solid ones, but also more than a few crap ones. It's been like that since opening day. And until this team actually wins consecutive Serie A games before its next loss, we can't get too carried away with anything.
Maybe the Turin derby will be the thing that actually makes the players snap out of this season-long funk that has them looking more like a mess rather than a functional and consistent machine that chews up three points one game after another. I know what a lot of us want to see happen, but the thing with Juventus' current situation is that it won't be solved overnight. As much as Max Allegri is trying to find the answers, nothing can just be corrected with the snap of his or Andrea Agnelli's fingers. This will take time — and hopefully we can start to enjoy our time viewing Juventus again.
If not, then the inconsistent ways will become even more of a consistent state of mind.
The players talk about how they want to fix this thing. Now, after weeks of hearing about it, it's time for this squad to actually show they're more than just a reason as to why we're all so grumpy these days.
(Hint: We can only be grumpy for so long, Juventus, so please fix this soon.)
Sami Khedira will likely return to the starting lineup, so that's a plus.
Claudio Marchisio is back in the squad after his flu situation, so that's a plus.
Martín Cáceres is back in the squad after his latest short injury absence, so that's a plus.
Juventus' Serie A form guide this season: L-L-D-W-D-L-W-D-W-L
It's almost like this team has been completely inconsistent this season. Lemme check...yep. No wonder they're sitting in 12th place after 10 league games. (Yet still top of the Champions League group! What a time to be alive.)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Which Juventus team will actually show up?
I ask myself this question all the time these days. And...I dunno. I really don't know, man. That's what it's come to. I had a gut feeling that Juventus would, in fact, build off the Atalanta win and play well against Sassuolo (even though Sassuolo is a team that has given Juve some trouble the last couple of years). Instead, we all know what happened there. So, that notion was basically thrown out the window with a whole lot of fervor and velocity. Both Allegri and Gigi Buffon were extremely critical of the team after the Sassuolo loss, and rightfully so. The hope is that what has happened all season long will finally get snapped out of this weekend. But to think it will be fixed right away is too much to ask. This team is a total work in progress. How much progress they've actually made is obviously hard to measure at this point, but if there is one game that should have this team raring to go, it's a derby like this one against the inner-city rival.
.@OfficialAllegri: "This team has the required qualities to turn the corner. We must start putting together a consistent run of results."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 30, 2015
2. Fabio Quagliarella and the Ex Effect.
No, Cristian Molinaro is not the former Juventus player we're going to focus on here. Sorry, but if you like crosses from the left wing that go flying into Row Z, maybe you should just stop reading this and go look at Molinaro highlight videos on YouTube.
Quagliarella has pretty much picked up where he left off last season — and that's being in the top 10 of goal scorers in Serie A. Four goals in under 800 minutes this season is a relatively decent amount of production, and he continues to be one of Toro's most important players despite the fact that his 33rd birthday is right around the corner. We all know that Quags has the ability to absolutely nothing into absolutely something, which could very well be the difference in a game involving this version of Juventus. I'm sure that there would be nothing sweeter for Quagliarella than to score the winner to give Torino three points in a game played at Juventus Stadium. And it's not like the Ex Effect is something that will ever die. Never ever.
3. Who leads the line for Juventus?
You think this would be an easy pick — scroll down a bit and see the starting lineup I'd roll with against Torino — but you never know for sure thanks to some of Allegri's starting lineup picks this season. You have to figure Juan Cuadrado will be in there somewhere, but other than, we don't really know. Álvaro Morata hasn't started the last two games. Mario Mandzukic has struggled to really find his footing in a goal-scoring sense since his summer move from Spain. And we all know how Paulo Dybala's playing time has been a huge topic of discussion over the last couple of weeks. Sometimes I have a good feeling about where Allegri is going to go with his starting lineup. Right now? I really have no clue. Some say Dybala and Morata will start, others say it's a Morata-Mandzukic-Cuadrado trident up front. I'm just confused about everything, so let's just leave it at that.
4. Who starts at right back if Max Allegri goes with a four-man defense?
The suspension of Giorgio Chiellini means a shift to a 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 seems pretty likely. But that's just me assuming Max will do this, nothing is obviously set in stone unless he tells us — which he didn't — before the game. There seems to be three options for this spot: Simone Padoin, Stefano Sturaro and the aforementioned Cáceres. Does Allegri go with the guy who is just back from injury? I dunno. Cáceres is, however, probably the best right back of the bunch even though he's not totally a natural right back. Or maybe Allegri goes with the player he probably feels like is a safer pick in Padoin. It's a complete toss up at this point considering that Andrea Barzagli is almost certainly shifting into the center of the defense with no Chiellini available. That seems like the one thing we do know about all of this.
My starting lineup
Juventus XI (4-3-3): Gianluigi Buffon; Martín Cáceres, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Patrice Evra; Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba; Juan Cuadrado, Álvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala
TV: beIN Sports USA (United States); BT Sport Europe (United Kingdom); beIN Sports Canada (Canada); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online: beIN Sports CONNECT (United States); beIN Sports CONNECT Canada (Canada); Sky Go Italia (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, we'll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter, and we'll have updates of the most important events on our Facebook page.