Juventus can now say they have as many wins in Italy as they do in Europe this season. They have twice as many wins on the season than they did a week ago. It's what we like to call progress, no matter how the team has struggled to truly show their true potential through their first four league games. Congrats, guys! Time to celebrate!
But you want to hear something that's worse than Juventus' start to the season?
Frosinone's start to the 2015-16 season.
Yeah, it can get worse. Probably a little more frustrating and/or disappointing, too. This kind of worse/disappointing/whatever you wanna call it:
Four games played. Four losses. One goal scored. Seven goals allowed.
That's ... yeah, that's not very good at all.
There is only one team in all of Serie A not to have a point so far this season, and Frosinone is that team. For a newly-promoted side to struggle right out of the chute like Frosinone has, it certainly doesn't bode well for their likely battle to stave off relegation and make sure their future in Italy's top flight is more than just a brief one-season stay. For a team like Juventus to be so-so in the first four games is one thing, but for a club destined to be in a relegation battle all season is a completely different scenario.
And no offense to Frosinone, but I would like it to stay that way. At least for one more round of Serie A action.
Now that Juventus have gotten their first Serie A win out of the way over the weekend against Genoa, now it's time for Serie A win No. 2. And it couldn't have been set up any better for Juve when it comes to a midweek game. You get the first win out of the way, then you get to face the one squad in Serie A that has yet to pick up one measly point.
So if Juventus want to make another jump in the table and keep pace with the leaders at the very least, playing the last-place team on your home field is a pretty good scenario. Now it's just about, you know, not screwing the whole thing up.
Hey, maybe they can do the same thing they did the last time they played Frosinone back in the Serie B season. I would be okay with that. (I think you may recognize the guy who scored the game-winning goal. He did that a few times during his career with Juventus.)
Juventus got a win in Serie A! Isn't that wonderful?! All the way up to 13th, too!
If you're injured and you know it raise your hand. Roll call time...
- Claudio Marchisio
- Sami Khedira
- Kwadwo Asamoah
- Martin Cáceres
- Mario Mandzukic
- Álvaro Morata
I repeat, injuries are stupid and I've never liked them one bit. Nor will I ever, for that matter.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Midweek squad rotation.
I'm not saying that Max Allegri will change things all around like it was a Coppa Italia game, but there's bound to be a few changes from the side that beat Genoa on Sunday. We know the strikers will be different with Mandzukic set to miss the next three weeks with a thigh injury and Morata not called up. There will be a few players returning to the starting lineup — most notably Leonardo Bonucci and Hernanes —in all likelihood after both started from the bench against Genoa. But who else might be making way for a change is pretty much a wait-and-see deal. Could Daniele Rugani get some playing time? I'd be all for it. Maybe Mario Lemina will get a second straight start after his solid Juve debut this past weekend. Or maybe Simone Zaza gets his first Juventus start because of the other striker injuries. A bottom-of-the-table opponent teamed with a midweek game during a busy portion of the schedule certainly seems to point toward at least some changes in the starting lineup.
2. Paulo Dybala's impact.
It's time for the kid to play. And it's time for the kid to play consistently. The injury to Mandzukic should open up a spot for Dybala to step into the starting lineup no matter what formation Allegri decides to go with. Despite starting just one Serie A game this season, Dybala leads the team with two goals and has largely impressed whenever he has seen actually game time. No matter if it's a 4-3-3, 4-3-1-2 or 3-5-2 formation, Dybala's creativity will be a welcome addition to an attack that is still searching to truly find its early-season groove as the beginning of October quickly approaches. The bad thing is that Mandzukic is out injured. Another bad thing is that Morata is out injured, too. The good thing out of a couple of bad things is that we're likely to see more Dybala in the starting lineup because of it. Hey, you win some, you lose some. Maybe this is a break even kind of deal.
3. Alex Sandro's impact.
I take you back to Allegri's pre-match press conference over the week. The quote below will mean something.
So, Alex Sandro didn't start — or play, for that matter — against Genoa on Sunday, so by this line of thinking he will be playing on Wednesday. I don't think Allegri will balk at what he said he would do mainly because the other option he has at left back is 34 years old and has just played i back-to-back games. On top of that, this is the perfect chance to let Alex Sandro loose in a low-pressure kind of matchup where Juventus will be huge favorites to get all three points. Not to say that the Brazilian fullback couldn't step in against better competition right now, but Allegri clearly prefers Evra in games of bigger magnitude to start the season. I can understand that.
Based on how well he played in his debut, I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to see what Alex Sandro can do the same in his second Juventus appearance. So you better stick your word, Max, or else we might need to talk about this whole "gong on the record" about certain things.
4. How Neto handles his first Juventus start.
I bring this up because this was one of the first things Allegri said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
So much for that Nicola Leali vs. Gigi Buffon battle in goal some of us were thinking about. Instead, it will be young goalkeeper vs. young goalkeeper; one goalkeeper who is currently at Juventus vs. one goalkeeper who certainly wants to play for Juventus in the near future. Neto will be the latest summer signing to make his debut after Buffon appeared in every game so far this season. The last time we saw Neto was during Juve's preseason friendlies when he played rather well despite the limited playing time. And the last time the Brazilian goalkeeper appeared in an official game was back when he was wearing a Fiorentina keeper jersey rather than a Juventus one. Surely he'll want to impress on his full debut. Hopefully he won't have to make many saves, though.
My starting XI (4-3-1-2): Neto; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Daniele Rugani, Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Stefano Sturaro, Mario Lemina, Paul Pogba; Hernanes; Paulo Dybala, Simone Zaza