You know how good of a day Monday was? Juventus could go to training, do some drills and, by the end of it all, they were going nuts in the locker room and dousing each other with champagne. Now, that's one hell of a day if you ask me. And it meant that for the fifth straight season, there was not going to be one team finishing ahead of Juventus in the Serie A standings.
It's also created a scenario that we've come rather familiar with over the last four or five years. Juventus has the title wrapped up, but there are still a handful of games to be played. It certainly creates an interesting situation for Max Allegri, who has the chance to win the domestic double for the second time in as many seasons as Juve manager.
Juventus can play this three-game string out and that would be that, heading into the Coppa Italia against Milan in about three weeks on whatever kind of form that develops.
Or, they could follow their manager's lead and finish the season a strong note — both with these final three league games against teams that are all in the bottom third of the table as well as in the trip to Rome to face Milan in the Coppa final. And if you think that there's nothing left to play for these last three Serie A games, well, then you would probably be mistaken.
This could be considered the inner monologue of somebody associated with Juventus right now. Clearly, the Coppa Italia final is the only game that is left on the schedule that truly matters. And the last thing we want to have happen is see somebody important get hurt because they've gone and done something stupid or pull a muscle when they could have easily sat on the bench and be rested for the weekend.
That's what Allegri is paid to do. So, I guess we just need to turn it over to Max to see what he truly does. He's done a damn good job managing this team for the last eight months or so, so with a couple of weeks left, there's still a little bit of decision-making still to be accounted for.
Your move, Max.
Just in case you've been living under a rock with sound-canceling headphones on for the past six days, Juventus clinched a fifth straight Scudetto on Monday. Therefore, they are good, and I like when Juventus is good. So should you.
There's only three games left in Juventus' season after tomorrow night. That means it's nothing but transfer rumors and stupid rosterbation from the middle of May until the middle of August. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Can Juventus keep its run going despite wrapping up the Scudetto?
It's the obvious topic a lot of us are wondering about. Some might think that Juventus will just kinda coast to the finish line now that they're not trying to wrap up the title. That may or may not be because of them probably still shaking some cobwebs out of their respective heads after all of the deserved celebrating they did after Napoli lost to Roma earlier in the week. I expected Allegri to say that Juventus will try to play well in the final handful of games — and that's exactly what he did at his pre-match press conference on Saturday afternoon. That's not much of a surprise. Whether they actually come out and show that they want to be there playing at lunchtime on the first Sunday of May, that's another story. If they come out and get 2-0 on Carpi before halftime, then we'll get our answer. But if things just look like a bag of meh, well, then I'm going to be all grumpy because it's not going to be lunchtime where I'm watching the game, that's for sure.
2. Who is going to play up front?
Allegri has had all four strikers available to him again for the last couple of weeks. However, over that span, Juventus was out to put it's final couple of wins needed to wrap up another title-winning season. But now that final push toward the title is over, and Allegri has a couple of games to make sure his core players are as well-rested as they can be for the Coppa Italia final against Milan in three weeks. Does Mario Mandzukic get a break after busting his ass for the last few weeks? Does Paulo Dybala get a rest to make sure there's some managing of his minutes following the injury struggles he had earlier in the month? Does Allegri feel like it's time to give Simone Zaza some serious run after weeks on the bench? These are the questions that have popped into my head after deciding to write about the strikers in this preview. There are situations where I can see Allegri going with any one of the four strikers. And knowing that the title is wrapped up and there's isn't much of anything outside a couple of Coppa Italia tuneups to play out, I'd be cool with just about any of them.
3. Can Paul Pogba continue his strong late-season form?
There are few things I am enjoying more of these days than watching Pogba absolutely ball against whoever is the competition. His form the last two or three months has been just unreal, and he's really showing just how talented of a midfielder he is — both when it comes to scoring goals and setting them up for teammates. This is the best example of Peak Pogba, a player who is arguably the most well-rounded we've seen him ever be as a Juventus player. That's good, very good, and I hope it continues in Turin for many more seasons. But, for only a few more times this season, we get to see Pogba do Pogba things and hopefully do them as frequent as possible. And you know for sure that Pogba is going to want to put on a show with only a few more games to go. Why do I know this? Because he's more than willing to do so during rainy nights in January, so the same can surely be said about a lunchtime kickoff at what is bound to be an insanely-festive Juventus Stadium based on what Juve just won again.
4. Will Mario Lemina get the chance to continue to impress?
No matter what, at least we know that Lemina's future with Juventus has been resolved the day before the deadline for such happenings arrived. However, as I sit here and write this final bit of this here match preview, the Gazzetta isn't thinking that Lemina is going to hold down the center of the midfield. Nope, not happening. It's Hernanes, not Lemina, who the GDS thinks will be handed the keys to the Juventus midfield against Carpi. And, I guess Hernanes playing against Carpi — seriously, IT'S CARPI! — isn't the worst thing in the world. But, at the same time, if you want Lemina to get game time, then play him against Carpi. It's not like there's any midweek games to rest him for or anything like that. Juventus just invested a nice chunk of change for a midfielder who hasn't played much this season. There's still a few games left to change that.
My starting lineup
Juventus XI (4-4-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele Rugani, Patrice Evra; Stefano Sturaro, Mario Lemina, Paul Pogba, Alex Sandro; Álvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala
TV: beIN SPORTS USA, beIN SPORTS en Español, RAI International (United States); beIN SPORTS Canada, RAI International (Canada); ESPN UK/HD (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online: beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., fuboTV (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada (Canada); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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