As Juventus proved six days ago, just because the Scudetto has been decided and another party is in the planning stages, it doesn't mean they're just going to coast to the finish line. That's good to hear when Max Allegri speaks, but to not see Juve lay a complete egg against a relegation battler was at least somewhat pleasant to see despite the 2-0 win over Carpi lacking a lot of substance.
It's the same kind of scenario this weekend, but with a couple of details being different as you could probably guess by reading our fancy little graphic right next to this text.
The opponent won't be showing up in red-clad uniforms, rather some blue and yellow is in the cards. Juventus won't be playing at home. Instead, a second and final visit to the Bentegodi this season is in the cards. And while Juve faced relegation battlers last weekend, they will be playing a Hellas Verona squad that saw its fate determined a few weeks back, as a trip to Serie B is already signed, sealed and delivered.
We'll still have our beloved Flying Donkeys to talk about next season when we mention a Chievo-based club, though. Thank goodness for those Flying Donkeys, man.
But I won't yammer on about not seeing Hellas Verona next season. There will be somebody coming up to take their place in Serie A because that's how this system works. This is about Juventus heading out on the road one last time and hopefully continuing what they've done in Serie A ever since the final day of October when they claimed that all-important win over Torino.
Let's just go ahead and look at Juve's 26-game unbeaten streak, shall we?
Seriously, that's insane.
What have Juve gone off and done after seeing that first double-digit winning streak end against Bologna back in mid-February? Well, go off and win another 10 straight games. This crazy, thrilling and totally unpredictable run has nearly reached its final chapter. They took the long route to get to this point. Or maybe it was the scenic route considering they went from the depths of the Serie A table to champions with plenty of room to spare with 88 points and a mind-boggling plus-51 goal differential entering the second-to-last weekend of the season.
Just like we all predicted what would be the case as Juve stumbled through the first 10 games of the schedule. This game, it sure can be a funny one...
One of the last people we will see on the opposing sidelines this season will be Gigi Delneri. It's in times like these where I still wish Milos Krasic was still on the roster of the team that Delneri managed because that would mean even more of the former Juve manager going nuts than usual. Oh well.
This is Juventus' last away fixture of the 2015-16 Serie A season. That means the amount of games Juve have left is even closer to being at zero than it was this time last week. That sucks. (But I don't have to pull an all-nighter to watch this game, so that's a plus, I guess.)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Who steps in the for the suspended players?
This is not squad rotation by choice. It's obviously squad rotation by the simple need of it all. The list of players suspended is almost as long as the one of those players who are injured. There won't be Paul Pogba continuing his crazy-good season this weekend, no Hernanes, no Stephan Lichtsteiner and no Mario Mandzukic. Remember all that depth we talk about when it comes to Juventus? Well, the bench could very well have just as many primavera players as senior team players. We don't see that happen very often, but it's not like we wouldn't be opposed to seeing one or two of the youngsters get a little playing time before the season comes to end. Seeing as all of Juventus' regular center midfield will be out, one of their starting wingbacks (Lichtsteiner) and one of the starting strikers (Mandzukic), the starting lineup is going to look a whole lot different than it did a week or two ago. But hey, that's the beauty of already having the Scudetto wrapped up — Juventus can have things like this happen and we can kinda just sit back and say, "Eh, whatever!"
2. How Simone Zaza does playing alongside Paulo Dybala.
Mandzukic is suspended and Álvaro Morata will probably not start due to a minor injury, so it's pretty easy to figure out who Allegri's two starting strikers will be. And since we could very well spend a whole day talking about Dybala, let's just go ahead and concentrate the (likely) starting striker that can actually grow some facial hair. Before his goal against Carpi last weekend, there hadn't been much to talk about Zaza lately outside of whether he's going to be a Juventus player next season head out somewhere else. The last goal he scored before his second-half strike six days ago in Turin was that goal against Napoli back in mid-February. Maybe that's a by-product of inconsistent playing time over the last couple of months. But one thing seems for certain: With Mandzukic and Morata out due to their respective reasons, Zaza is going to get playing time against Hellas Verona on Sunday. What he does with it is anybody's guess.
3. Mario Lemina back in the center of Juventus' midfield.
Hernanes is out this weekend because he picked up a yellow card last weekend, and the rest of Juventus' midfield depth has been zapped by other suspensions or due to injury, so that means Lemina is a lock to play. This is good, and will be our latest chance to see what the kid is all about. Obviously things are a little different now. You know, he's actually had his future resolved after Juventus bought him outright for €9.5 million just over a week ago. It wasn't much of a surprise, but it showed that Lemina does have a part to play in this squad going forward. And knowing that Claudio Marchisio is still going to be out for many, many months, the more Lemina we see is all for the better. We know the youngster has plenty of talent, now it's just about him getting the time he needs to put things together. Hopefully that happens a good amount over the final three games before everybody goes their respective ways for the summer.
My starting lineup
Gianluigi Buffon Neto; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Daniele Rugani; Juan Cuadrado, Stefano Sturaro, Mario Lemina, Kwadwo Asamoah, Alex Sandro; Paulo Dybala, Simone Zaza
TV:beIN SPORTS USA (United States); beIN Sports Canada (Canada); BT Sport Europe (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)
Online: fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A. (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven't already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.