Here we sit, a little over a month into the season, with confused looks on our collective faces. We're wondering what, exactly, this Juventus team will be on a game-to-game basis, with the final result really anybody's guess at this point. We can say Juventus has as many wins in Europe as they do in Italy — which is something you don't want to say after six Serie A games.
In other words, this season has been weird. Really, really weird. Not funny weird where you see your team do odd things yet completely crush the competition at the same time. No, this is the definition of weird where you can't figure a damn thing out. And it continues to be weird. "Normal" does not exist in our current Juventus world — unless you consider Juve stumbling to do anything right as "normal" these days. (Which is obviously a distinct possibility these days.)
The one thing we can hang our collective hats on? Juventus actually played well in Europe the first time out.
The bad thing? We don't know how the hell they're going to play the next time they're in Europe.
So, this is the reality of what being a Juventus supporter is these days. From one game to the next, it's really a complete mystery as to what team will show up. You can say that regarding just about any team heading into any game, but this is even more of the case when we look at Juventus and the hodgepodge of results they've had this season.
That's Juventus' form guide in all competitions this season. Like I said, absolute hodgepodge. It's anybody's guess how Juventus will play on Wednesday night against Sevilla. There might be the one that has struggled to get anything going in Serie A. There might be the moments of brilliance like there were to get the win against Manchester City.
But, the problem is, we've seen more of the first option rather than the second option. And we don't know when it will change or when this new-look squad will click in totality.
One of Juventus' two wins this season has come in the Champions League. Hey, there's a good thing right there, right?
Fernando Llorente is injured and therefore hasn't made the trip to Turin with his teammates to see many of his former teammates. That means we won't get to see his smiling face at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday. I guess we should be on the lookout Twitter-wise when it comes to Llorente selfies. Vamos!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Can Paul Pogba be Paul Pogba again?
When Juventus took the field against Manchester City, Pogba was one of the best players there. I'm not just talking about the amount of pure skill in his body, but the way he played in the game. It was Pogba's one shining moment of the young season, a game where he was arguably the most important player in a Juventus jersey not named Gianluigi Buffon. He was the Pogba we envisioned him being when he took over the No. 10 jersey. He delivered a super game and a super assist to help Juve tie the game 1-1 on Mario Mandzukic's sliding volley. With so many injuries, Juventus obviously need Pogba to be the player he was in Manchester, not the one he's been for the other part of Juve's early-season schedule. That's as well know of a fact as well-known facts get.
2. How will Sami Khedira play in his first Juventus start?
Out of all the quotes from Allegri's press conference on Tuesday, Khedira being included in the match day squad and starting lineup was obviously one of the more important ones. We haven't seen Khedira in an actual Juventus match since he suffered his hamstring injury in the friendly against Marseille on the first day of August. Since then, all Khedira has been doing is try to rehab as quickly as possible to put himself in position to contribute to this team. Now he's here, so what should we expect? Well, Allegri was quick to point out two things on Tuesday. One, Khedira might not have 90 minutes worth of stamina in his legs right now. And two, that Khedira is so freakin' experienced in the Champions League it's quite valuable. How will one help the other? We'll just have to wait and see on that one, boys and girls.
3. The Paulo Dybala-Álvaro Morata partnership.
Juventus may not be playing very well right now, but this is something I am seriously looking forward to. This is the attack of Juve's future. And if you're here to tell me Morata is going to go back to Madrid next summer, save it for now. Dybala and Morata, all of 21 and 22 years of age, respectively, haven't played alongside each other much this season. But they are two of the leading forces in what Juventus' potential can be. It's not there yet, obviously, but potential is potential, and we will eat it up every single time. That's why Dybala and Morata starting alongside one another is such a big deal. There's the potential for them to do lots of things and create many goals. And if they want to create a couple of goals against Sevilla, I'm all for it. Juventus need a spark, and these are certainly a pair of strikers who are capable of doing just that in droves.
4. Who's the third midfielder Allegri will choose to start in midfield?
Short answer: I dunno.
Who I would probably choose if forced to do so: Mario Lemina.
But with Allegri naming his starting lineup sans one central midfielder, this is the predicament he has essentially put himself into. Lemina has been one of the few Juventus bright spots over the last couple of weeks. And while Allegri rightfully pointed out that Lemina has played three games in a row, it's not like he's showing the signs of being fatigued in the eyes of those of us who are thousands of miles away. Part of me thinks Allegri will side with the experience of Hernanes because that's something managers prefer to lean on during tough times. This isn't an easy decisions — especially considering the magnitude of this Sevilla matchup. At least Max wants to keep some kind of mystery with his starting lineup, I guess.
My starting XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Juan Cuadrado, Mario Lemina, Sami Khedira, Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra; Álvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala