Soon, the hours will become minutes, the minutes will become seconds, and then there will be nothing to count down. Juventus' season is ready to begin, ready to go and ready to charge toward a fifth straight Serie A title.
The last two months have been filled with not much football at all. There's been a few friendlies that ended with a bunch of unneeded squabbling. There was the Supercoppa win, and that was fun. But other than that, talk of players coming and going, Beppe Marotta spending a lot of money on some great players and a few of club legends heading out on new adventures along the way. (No, I'm not including Angelo Ogbonna in that group. No offense.)
But today, yes, today is the day.
Juventus vs. Udinese, folks. Round 1 of the 38-game Serie A grind is upon us.
Juve's second-year manager Max Allegri has gone with the lineup pretty much every Italian sports daily expected him to go with. That means Juve will open the season with their same formation they did last season. Behold, it's the wonders of the 3-5-2! (And all the grumpiness that comes with it!)
Mario Mandzukic, who was somewhat of a fitness doubt entering what is his first game at Juventus Stadium as a Juventus player, will indeed make his debut from the start against Udinese. However, it's his strike partner that is the surprise — Kingsley Coman, not Paulo Dybala like everybody expected. Giorgio Chiellini, one of the many to suffer a preseason injury, is back in the starting lineup after missing the Supercoppa victory over Lazio.
Juventus XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Roberto Pereyra, Simone Padoin, Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra; Kingsley Coman, Mario Mandzukic
Juventus bench: Neto, Rubinho, Mauricio Isla, Martin Caceres, Daniele Rugani, Alex Sandro, Stefano Sturaro, Mattia Vitale, Paulo Dybala, Simone Zaza, Fernando Llorente
Udinese XI (3-5-2): Orestis Karnezis; Thomas Heurtaux; Danilo; Iván Piris; Edenílson, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Manuel Iturra, Bruno Fernandes, Ali Adnan; Cyril Théréau, Antonio Di Natale
How to watch
TV: RAI International (United States & Canada); PremiumSport HD, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia (Italy); BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom)
Online: beIN Connect 4 (United States & Canada) SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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