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Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Fiorentina

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AC Milan v Juventus FC - 2016 Italian Super Cup Photo by AK BijuRaj/Getty Images

Do you remember the first game of the season? The one where Gonzalo Higuain announced his presence as a Juventus player by coming off the bench and scoring the game-winning goal against Fiorentina in Turin? Do you remember all of this?

If you don’t, you’re going to be reminded of it.

That’s because Juventus and Fiorentina kick off the second half of their respective seasons tonight. Except it’s not technically the second half of the season for Juventus because they haven’t played all of the 19 Serie A teams once, but this is essentially the start of the second half of the season even though it’s one game short. So many technicalities, I know, but just go with it, okay? The numbers of what game it is probably doesn’t matter to the players or managers, so we’ll just go on from here.

Juventus vs. Fiorentina is a big game. It’s not the expected top 4 battle like it was when the two teams kicked off the season back in late-August, but it’s still a big game. Some of that has to do with the fact that Fiorentina has struggled in recent weeks. Like, really struggled. Their defense has been non-existent. Their offense has been here some days, gone the others. It’s been one of those two-month stretches for La Viola. As Juventus has trundled along and seems to be showing signs of improvement, Fiorentina have basically punted on the whole notion of playing with consistency and have been a roller coaster ride since the end of October.

They’re hoping that Juventus’ trip to the Franchi is the start of something new.

They’re hoping that Juventus’ trip to the Franchi is more than just the start of the second half of the season.

What am I hoping for? Like always, a Juventus win. (And for those lottery numbers to hit come about 48 hours from now because retirement at 30 years old sounds lovely.)

One of those things seems more likely, so go ahead and do just that, Juventus. That last time Juventus and Fiorentina played was pretty good. Same with the last time Juventus rolled into the Franchi and spoiled the party. You remember...

Heart-attack worthy, but still pretty fun when you look back it at months later.

MATCH INFO

Location: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy

Kick-off time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast

STARTING LINEUPS

Juventus starting XI (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Stefano Sturaro, Alex Sandro; Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain

Juventus bench: Neto, Emil Audero, Daniele Rugani, Kwadwo Asamoah, Tomas Rincon, Hernanes, Miralem Pjanic, Marko Pjaca, Mario Mandzukic

Fiorentina starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Carlos Sanchez, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Davide Astori, Maximiliano Olivera; Milan Badelj, Matias Vecino; Federico Chiesa, Borja Valero, Federico Bernardeschi; Nikola Kalinic

Fiorentina bench: Luca Lezzerini, Marco Sportiello, Sebastian De Maio, Mauro Zarate, Cristian Tello, Carlos Salcedo, Sebastian Cristoforo, Ianis Hagi, Khouma Babacar , Hrvoje Milic, Nenad Tomovic, Josip Ilicic

WATCH IT

TV: RAI International (United States); RAI International (Canada); BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom): Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, PremiumSport HD, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)

Online: beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., fuboTV (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.

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