In the journalism business, we always talk about ‘The Rule of 3.’ I’ve probably mentioned it before, mainly because of what I do for a living outside of this blog. It’s what we do to measure trends. You can probably understand where I’m going with this...
We’ve seen Juventus not play very well against Sevilla last Wednesday. We’ve seen Juventus play even worse in the Derby d’Italia loss to Inter on Sunday. That’s two not-so-hot performances in a row. And what do you know, Juve have a chance to prevent the string of bad games from hit the third in a row.
Cagliari’s visit to Juventus Stadium not only means that the first of the newly-promoted sides will be looking to prove themselves against the Italian champions. The much more important matter, at least for us who yell at this team each and every game, is whether Juventus can get this early-season train back on track following the last two games that can be defined as “crap” and “crappier.”
There probably won’t be any sort of an instant solution because we can’t just snap our fingers and solve all of the problems that are currently preventing Juventus from displaying its true potential. But we know that this team is capable of very, very good things simply because of who is on the roster.
We’ve seen two bad games in a row. Three bad ones back-to-back-to-back? Well, now that’s just a trend that I hope we don’t have to talk about for the second straight season. (At least Juventus have more than nine points before November arrives, so we’ve got that going for us, so I guess that’s pretty nice.)
The man does have a point. Although beating Inter still would have be nice no matter how undeserved it would have been. Just don’t do it again!
Everything is terrible. Juventus can’t do anything right. Just go ahead and end the season right now.
You seen how Juventus have been playing the last couple of games? There you go.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1. Is this the game where Max Allegri shakes up his formation?
I was thinking that a four-man backline was going to be in Max’s plans for Wednesday night’s meeting with Cagliari. Then I saw this posted during his pre-match press conference:
This is no offense to Rugani because, as we know, he’s the future of the Juventus defense, but I don’t see Allegri making a significant change in his tactics and doing so with backups at crucial positions like in the center of the defense. That’s not saying that Rugani couldn’t handle it because look at the kind of defense and tactical setup he played in at Empoli, but considering how Juve are playing and the shift that would be made,
That being said, am I thinking a 4-3-3 of some sort is going to happen now? No, not really. Allegri seems set on resting Leonardo Bonucci because he’s played every minute since he missed the Lazio game due to personal reasons. Allegri also seems to be leaning toward giving Sami Khedira the night off since he’s pretty much played every minute of the season so far. So while there may still be the 3-5-2 sticking around for another game, there will be some fresh faces coming into the lineup. I guess that’s a somewhat decent alternative considering this team could use a jump-start or two.
2. Mario Lemina back in the center of the midfield.
One would think, with Lemina getting the night off against Inter over the weekend, that he will be back in the starting lineup come Wednesday night. That, in turn, should mean, at least two positives will take place. For one, Allegri has a more natural holding midfielder in the lineup in Lemina, who has played pretty well to open the season. Secondly, Lemina returning to the lineup would, at least in all logical theories possible, mean that Miralem Pjanic is going to play as the midfielder to Lemina’s left, a position that will result in him playing higher up the field. That’s the thought, and I’m probably not the only one with that line of thinking in that regard. Lemina has taken advantage of the playing he’s received with Claudio Marchisio still out until at least late-October and Juve unable to close the Axel Witsel deal on deadline day. I mean, let’s be honest — it’s pretty hard to draw up a Juventus starting lineup and not include Lemina in there. That just shows that’s he’s become a pretty important player over the last six weeks or so.
3. With Allegri likely resting folks, will the starting strikers get shaken up a bit?
This seems to be the one area where Allegri didn’t really give us any hints as to who he might be playing from the start against Cagliari. Paulo Dybala has played heavy minutes this season and is probably due for a rest, but will Allegri give him one? Gonzalo Higuain didn’t play in the derby and seems set to return to the lineup, but does that actually ring true? Allegri, unlike in the midfield because of injuries and/or rest, actually does have options in the attack. A 4-3-3 would scream out for somebody like Marko Pjaca, but who knows if there’s going to be any kind of tactical shift like we talked about above. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Sometimes I’m glad I’m not Max Allegri because there’s definitely some tough spots he’s in right now.
4. Can Juventus resemble the team we saw the first couple of games this season?
“I sure as hell hope so,” he said as he answered his own question.
Two games will not equal doom to this current campaign. Nobody knows better than us that this club can turn an awful start into a title-winning season. But what last season’s club didn’t have hovering over them was the massive level of expectations that is attached to this year’s squad. A couple of wins, some forward progress being shown and maybe something other than a draw in the Champions League and that Derby d’Italia loss will almost certainly be forgotten. We know this team is better than any and most in Europe. There’s no better time for them to show us after frustrating the hell out of us all the last couple of games.
MY STARTING LINEUP
Juventus XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Daniele Rugani, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sami Khedira, Mario Lemina, Miralem Pjanic, Alex Sandro; Gonzalo Higuain, Marko Pjaca
Location: Juventus Stadium. Turin, Italy
Kick-off time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in England; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast
TV: RAI International (United States); RAI International (Canada); BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)
Online: beIN SPORTS CONNECT USA (United State); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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