If you feel like Juventus has seen a lot of Fiorntina these last 12 or 14 months, you're not going to be proven wrong. There has been a lot of purple, a lot of chances for Vincenzo Montella to wear his finest suits against the best team in Italy and a lot of Juve fans referencing the Gomez Button on Twitter more than usual.
Think about it for a second. There's been a ton of Fiorentina-Juventus games lately. See for yourself!
- (Serie A) Juventus beats Fiorentina 1-0 on March 9, 2014.
- (Europa League) Juventus and Fiorentina draw 1-1 on March 13, 2014.
- (Europa League) Juventus beats Fiorentina 1-0 (in Florence) on March 20, 2014.
- (Serie A) Juventus and Fiorentina draw 0-0 on Dec. 5, 2014.
- (Coppa Italia) Juventus loses to Fiorentina 2-1 on March 5, 2015.
- (Coppa Italia) Juventus beats Fiorentina 3-0 (in Florence) on April 7, 2015.
Come tomorrow night in Turin, Juventus and Fiorentina will meet for the seventh time since early March 2014. SEVEN TIMES. I don't care who you're playing, that's a lot. Combine all games against one another in the last two seasons, and Wednesday night's match at Juventus Stadium will be the eighth time the two rival clubs have played against one another.
That's ... a lot. So if you're tired of the color purple, I will wholeheartedly understand why.
Tomorrow night will be that seventh game within 14 months time and another shot for Juventus to wrap up Scudetto No. 33 in the process. That's something Max Allegri's squad wasn't able to do against Torino over the weekend in the Derby della Mole. (Although, Lazio not losing also played a role in that, of course.) But the reality is the opportunity to clinch the title and get it out of the before that pesky thing called the Champions League returns early next month.
As soon as possible can be code for "I hope we win this damn thing before Real Madrid come to Turin," but I won't put words into Max's mouth. Either way, amen, Max, you won't find me disagreeing with the statement above.
The chance to clinch the Scudetto is within serious sight? Yeah, I would consider that some pretty good news.
As one player comes back from yellow card-related suspension, another one heads to the stands. Claudio Marchisio returns to the match day squad and the starting lineup, but Leonardo Bonucci won't be making the trip to Florence after picking up a yellow card over the weekend against Torino in the Turin derby.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. How Juventus bounces back from the derby loss.
In his post-game press conference, Allegri described the game against Torino as such: "This was one of our best performances in recent times, and a match in which we created a great deal." Whether you agree or disagree, this is what Allegri thought and he is obviously taking a positive kind of outlook to it. He pretty said the same kind of thing during his pre-match presser on Tuesday afternoon, and it's easy to understand why. Allegri and his team are on the brink of a title with a massive lead to boot. If you're in that spot, it's not like you're going to be in a bad mood. Juve may not be thinking of the Champions League right now like Allegri says, but they certainly want to be playing some good football once again. What better way to do so against a team you just steamrolled a few weeks ago?
2. The Barzagli-Chiellini central defense partnership.
While I don't doubt Barzagli and Chiellini can play well alongside one another, it's been quite a while since the two have been at the center of a four-man backline. Bonucci has obviously been a huge part in Juve's success this season, but it's not like there's going to be a huge letdown with Barzagli coming into the starting lineup. Barzagli has been great pretty much every time he's played since coming back from his lengthy injury absence. Juventus' defense has yet to concede a goal when Barzagli has been on the field — which is just simply incredible when you think about how much time he missed and just picked right up where he left off last season. So, basically, Andrea Barzagli is really good. Giorgio Chiellini can be really good when he doesn't do stupid things. Sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn't it?
3. Can Álvaro Morata get back on track?
Off the top of your head, try and name the last time Morata found the back of the net. Go ahead, try it. If you guessed the second leg against Borussia Dortmund on March 18, then you are correct and get no kind of prize at all. Seven games in all competitions have come and gone since then without any kind of Morata goal. He's helped Juventus score a goal or two — say hello again to Arturo Vidal's penalty kick against Monaco — but is now in the midst of one of his longest stretches without a goal in his short Juventus career. While I would love for Morata to score against his former team next week in the Champions League, it sure would be nice for the young Spaniard to get a goal or two before then. He'll be motivated enough to do well against Real Madrid, but having a bunch of confidence to go with it will be a nice combo, methinks.
4. What kind of shape is Fiorentina in.
Based on the form guide alone, Fiorentina is currently the only team in Italy to have lost three consecutive games entering the midweek action. Not Parma, not Cagliari, nobody. It's Fiorentina and Fiorentina alone. They've tumbled out of a European place because of it at a not-so-wonderful time of the season to do so. Mo Salah, who absolutely ran wild on the Juventus defense in the Coppa Italia win last month, has cooled off since the last time Juve and Fiorentina played. That's the most notable thing, but above all else they just aren't scoring goals lately in their domestic fixtures. Juventus' defense wasn't on top form against Tortino, and only with a few days rest, it's a quick period of time to bounce back once more. Maybe Fiorentina will be able to take advantage of it. If not, though, it will be more of the same for Montella's struggling Viola side that currently sits in sixth place.
My starting XI (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, Padoin; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Pereyra; Tévez, Morata
OFFICIAL KICKOFF TIME: 8:45 P.M. IN ITALY; 2:45 P.M. ON THE EAST COAST; 11:45 A.M. ON THE WEST COAST