The last time Juventus came out of an international break, the immediate results were ... mixed, to say the least. Juve dismantled Sassuolo before falling victim to a defensive stalemate in its Champions League opener and then a loss to Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia. Not exactly what you call a wonderful first post-international break week, if you ask me.
Juventus will try to avoid a repeat of the not-so-recent past.
The two-week wait for Juventus to return to the field is over. Tonight, Juve open their second post-international break run of games with Udinese rolling into Turin to face their fellow bianconero buddies. No more sitting around waiting for something other than transfer rumors to come across the blog’s front page. Now we have games to talk about once again. Wonderful, wonderful games.
(Games will hopefully be wonderful. They can only be so wonderful other than the simple fact that they’re back.)
Udinese, in far worse shape than Juventus, have now officially had as many managers as they do wins this season with the appointment of a certain Luigi Delneri. No, we won’t be hearing a mustached man with gray hair on the sideline yelling “MEEEEEEEEELOSH!!!!!” for 85 or 90 minutes shortly, but the latest reminder of just how far Juve have come since the now-66-year-old was walking up and down the sidelines in Turin.
I mean, look at the starting lineup from that game and the one Juventus will likely be trotting out tonight. (Hint: This season’s going to be a lot better than that season. Just a hunch I’ve got.)
So when that Juventus starting lineup takes the field, they will still be in first place regardless of how Napoli did earlier in the day against Roma in the Derby del Sole. (This has been prewritten because I didn’t feel like waking up at six in the morning to update this. Sleep is good.) That’s good. Almost as good as Juventus being back. International breaks are stupid.
What’s even better? Starting off the latest post-international break world just like they went into it — scoring lots of goals and beating whatever team is in front of them. That sounds like a pretty good idea to me, folks.
Location: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
Kick-off time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in England; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (4-4-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Medhi Benatia, Andrea Barzagli, Patrice Evra; Juan Cuadrado, Hernanes, Mario Lemina, Alex Sandro; Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic
Juventus bench: Neto, Emil Audero, Leonardo Bonucci, Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Federico Mattiello, Stefano Sturaro, Moise Kean, Gonzalo Higuain
Udinese starting XI (4-3-3): Orestis Karnezis; Molla Wague, Danilo, Felipe, Samir; Seko Fofana, Sven Kums, Jakub Jankto; Rodrigo De Paul, Duvan Zapata, Cyril Thereau
TV: RAI International (United States); RAI International (Canada); Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy); BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom)
Online: beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A. (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada (Canada); SKY Go Italia (Italy); BT Sport Extra (United Kingdom)
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