Welcome to Juventus’ first trip down the lunchtime kickoff avenue. You know, I’ve always had a soft spot for games kicking off right after noon in Italy. And when I say “soft spot,” I mean that I completely despise it because the sun still isn’t up where I live when the final whistle is about to sound.
Yes, for some of us it means staying up through all hours of the night. For Juventus, though, is the final chance to hold firm on its standing atop the Serie A table before the international break arrives and bores the living hell out of us all.
Juventus has made the voyage to Empoli. The temperature will be over 70 if you like to read these kind of things in Fahrenheit and not Celsius. The first place team in Serie A will be facing a team that has won fewer games than they have scored — and they have only scored two goals thus far. One team is very good, the other is struggling to get out of the relegation zone.
So, in that sense, Juventus enter today’s game, the first one in the month of October, as the heavy favorites to beat an Empoli team that has all of four points so far this season. That makes sense considering what’s happened so far this season. And when you throw in that Juve absolutely dismantled Dinamo Zagreb four days ago, common logic tells us that Max Allegri’s boys has momentum back on their side.
We’ve been down this road before, though.
One match on, one match off. It’s a vicious cycle that hopefully comes to an end with the international break arriving. Go out and do your thing, Juventus. And maybe that include lots of goals and not many moments where I want to pull my hair out as the clock goes from 3:59 a.m. to 4 a.m. today. That doesn’t sound like very much fun.
Location: Stadio Carlo Castellani, Empoli, Italy
Kick-off time: 12:30 p.m. local time in Italy; 11:30 a.m. in England; 6:30 a.m. on the East Coast; 3:30 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira, Hernanes, Miralem Pjanic, Alex Sandro; Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain
Juventus bench: Neto, Emil Audero, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Dani Alves, Patrice Evra, Mario Lemina, Stefano Sturaro, Marko Pjaca, Mario Mandzukic
Empoli starting XI (4-3-1-2): Lukasz Skorupski; Marco Zambelli, Giuseppe Bellusci, Uros Cosic, Manuel Pasqual; Adrés Tello, Jose Mauri, Daniele Croce; Rade Krunic; Massimo Maccarone, Manuel Pucciarelli
TV: Rai International (United States); RAI International (Canada); BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom); Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)
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