Sometimes there are some international breaks that seem to take longer to end than others. I was ready for Juventus to return to the field last weekend, even though I knew full well that there was another seven days to go before an actual game was going to take place. That's not a good thing, obviously, with the days slowly going by one by one.
The wait is over, though.
Juventus, our lovely lady, is back.
Today is the day that Juventus face Empoli and officially begin the final drive toward a fifth straight Serie A title. All of eight games are left, with Max Allegri saying that Juventus need to approach this run of games like "the beginning of a mini eight-game championship." — which makes a whole bunch of sense when you think about it.
Well, I hope winning the game is No. 1 first and foremost...
Juventus look to pick up right where it left off heading into the international break with its win in the Turin derby. Empoli, on the other hand, just hope it can come close to right the suddenly struggling ship — one that has just one single win in the 2016 calendar year. The combination of a struggling team against the league leaders who are looking to keep its three-point lead atop the standings at the very minimum should be a combination for good things to happen, right?
One can only hope.
It's the right kind of combination — and you can throw in the fact that the game is at Juventus Stadium, too — for Juventus to do exactly that and keep the train rolling. That would mean another win, and the ability to turn in Napoli's direction and say one simple thing: "Your move, folks."
So, hey, Juventus, one request? If you want to give yourself a six-point lead atop the standings for the next, oh, 13 or 14 hours before Napoli play, that would be pretty cool. I don't think a lot of people who hang out here would object to that.
Juventus XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Daniele Rugani, Giorgio Chiellini; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Roberto Pereyra, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba, Patrice Evra; Álvaro Morata, Mario Mandzukic
Juventus bench: Neto, Rubinho, Filippo Romagna, Simone Padoin, Mario Lemina, Stefano Sturaro, Hernanes, Kwadwo Asamoah, Juan Cuadrado, Simone Zaza
Empoli XI (4-3-1-2): Lukasz Skorupski; Luca Bittante, Lorenzo Tonelli, Andrea Costa, Mario Rui; Piotr Zielinski, Lenadro Paredes, Marcel Buchel; Riccardo Saponara; Manuel Pucciarelli, Massimo Maccarone
Empoli bench: Maurizio Pugliesi, Alberto Pelagotti, Marco Zambelli, Daniele Croce, Raffaele Maiello, Assane Diousse, Alessandro Piu, Uros Cosic, Michele Camporese, Rade Krunic
How to watch
TV: BT Sport Europe (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1, PremiumSport HD, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia (Italy)
Online: beIN Sports CONNECT (United States); Sky Go Italia (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live on Twitter. If you haven't already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.