Put Juventus’ performances aside for a second. I don’t know about all of you guys, but I feel like we can breathe a little easier right now. Juve is back on top of the Champions League group after some stressful moments against Lyon and Sevilla. Juve’s lead atop the Serie A table has been pushed to seven points — which has a pretty nice ring to it.
In terms of the standings, Juventus are right where we want them to be on both of the fronts they are currently competing in.
When it comes to the team’s performances as of late, that’s a little different story. To say that Juventus are grinding out wins is a pretty fair assessment at the very least. While dealing with plenty of injuries for the majority of the season, I think it’s safe to say that Juventus aren’t playing up to the potential many of us thought they had. As much as some may think it’s still early in the marathon, we’re about to hit the month of December, which means the first half of the league schedule is just that much closer to coming to a close.
Juventus’ trip to the Luigi Ferraris to face Genoa is the latest step in that quest to try and lock up the top spot in Serie A come the arrival of the holiday break. Juve manager Max Allegri has said on more than one occasion that the goals of his team right now are awfully simple to decipher — maintain the lead in the league and advance to the Champions League knockout round.
One of those bullet points has already been achieved this week. And even though it’s not actually possible for Juventus to see its seven-point advantage over Roma disappear into thin air this weekend, keeping the positive results going is something the Old Lady’s third-year head coach will like to see take place.
Now about this team getting better in terms of its quality of play...
That’s the thing we’re all waiting to see happen. Maybe not this week considering the list of players Allegri probably won’t be writing into his starting lineup due to rest or injuries will be nearly as long as the actual 11 he sees open the game against 12th-placed Genoa. Gonzalo Higuain might be back in the match day squad, but Paulo Dybala is still out injured. Same goes for Andrea Barzagli. Don’t forget Marko Pjaca and Rolandro Mandragora, too. Claudio Marchisio and Dani Alves could very well be rested, which means a couple more midfielders and another defender or two and I’ve got a pretty good starting lineup of players who won’t actually be starting going on here.
No matter who’s available to start, though, Allegri isn’t changing his tune.
If Juventus putting their foot down on the accelerator translates to “Juventus will continue to win while also playing better,” then I’m all for it. As much as getting three points is nice, seeing them improve their overall quality of play would sure be nice, too.
Gonzalo Higuain is back and one of the 21 players who have been called up by Allegri for Sunday afternoon’s game against Genoa. Considering he was looking to be a doubt for the game just about 48 hours ago, this is most certainly some good news.
Even with Higuain and Benatia back in the match day squad, that injury list sure is looooooooooooong.
MY STARTING LINEUP
Juventus XI (4-3-3): Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Daniele Rugani, Leonardo Bonucci, Patrice Evra; Sami Khedira, Hernanes, Miralem Pjanic; Juan Cuadrado, Mario Mandzukic, Alex Sandro
Location: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy
Kick-off time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy; 2 p.m. in England; 9 a.m. on the East Coast; 6 a.m. on the West Coast
TV: beIN SPORTS USA (United States); beIN Sports Canada (Canada); BT Sport ESPN (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1, PremiumSport 2 HD (Italy)
Online: beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., fuboTV (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, fuboTV Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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