The atmosphere surrounding last Thursday's Coppa Italia loss to Fiorentina was one of frustration and disappointment. Juventus had just seen their long home unbeaten run come to an end while the overall performance was, well, not very good at all — and that's probably putting things lightly.
Max Allegri said the 2-1 loss to La Viola, "This result needs to make us sit up and take notice ahead of our next fixtures." That's probably a nice way of putting it based on how his team played. Juventus had been walking a fine line for a decent amount of time, with a mixed bag of performances extending back over the last month or two.
So now, the first of those next fixtures have arrived, with Juventus hosting Sassuolo in a matter of minutes in Turin. Will this latest reality check kick-start Juventus as we enter the final couple months of the season?
I sure as hell hope so.
The way Juventus played in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals against Fiorentina wasn't inspiring, wasn't something that makes you think this team is ready to head to Germany and advance in the Champions League. Juventus was bad and, in the eyes of many, pretty much kicked to the curb the notion that they really do care about trying to win the tournament this season. At least, that's what playing like absolute crap
Yeah, I'd say that's something that would deserve a wake-up call.
Yet as we sit here waiting to see if Juventus come out angry and pissed like they've done a fair amount of the time after a loss the last few years, they'll be playing a Sassuolo side that handed them one of their seven draws this season. And they just so happen to have a young striker who has a knack for scoring goals agains the bianconeri and very well be playing for Juventus in the near future.
Zaza scored against Juve in both 2013 & 2014. Cagliari is the only team he's scored more goals against. #DangerMan— Mike Mac (@mikemacaroni) March 9, 2015
Ah, just one more thing to worry about. Wonderful! Exactly what a vulnerable defense needs right now.
Starting lineups for both Juventus and Sassuolo will be posted RIGHT HERE when they become available. Let there be Simone Zaza, let there be Domenico Berardi, let there be — above all else — a Juventus victory that doesn't frustrate the living hell out of us. Maybe a prayer circle could work? Let's investigate.
UPDATE: LINEUPS ARE IN!
Juventus XI (4-3-1-2): Storari, Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra, Vidal, Marchisio, Pogba, Pereyra, Tevez, Morata
Juventus bench: Rubinho, Audero, Barzagli, Ogbonna, De Ceglie, Padoin, Sturaro, Pepe, Llorente, Matri
Sassuolo XI (4-3-3): Consigli; Vrsaljko, Acerbi, Peluso, Longhi; Brighi, Magnanelli, Missiroli; Berardi, Zaza, Sansone
Sassuolo bench: Pomini, Polito; Bianco, Natali, Fontanesi, Biondini, Chibsah, Taider, Donis, Floro Flores, Lazarevic, Floccari
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