I don’t usually like to make things about myself, but I’m going to initially make things about myself to begin this thread. Today is my birthday. I’ve reached the age where, if you were to look for a corresponding Juvenuts jersey number, there aren’t many in that age range. That just so happens to be the same kind of thing that happened last year, so it’s not like I’m suddenly wondering just how old I’ve gotten.
But, you see, this happened on my birthday last year.
I don’t want that to happen again on my birthday this year.
It’s been weeks since Juventus last won a Serie A game. Some of that is the byproduct of there being an international break at the beginning of October, but more of it has to do with how Juve has struggled over the past handful of games. There was the disappointing draw against Atalanta, the even more disappointing loss to Lazio at Allianz Stadium last weekend. Now, as Juve make the trip over to Udine to face a Udinese team that has just two wins in its first eight matches of the 2017-18 campaign, there’s even more of an onus to start getting back on the right track with another month of busy fixtures both domestically and in Europe ready to take place.
And that’s especially true with the scoreless draw that Napoli and Inter played out last night. This is the chance to not only pick up three valuable points, but also close the gap with the teams that Juventus have suddenly found themselves chasing.
Napoli’s lead atop the Serie A standings stands at six points after Saturday’s draw against Inter. A win over Udinese and that lead is cut in half, which is certainly all the more valuable with another struggling side laying in wait just a few days later in the form of Spal.
It’s these kinds of opponents where we’ve seen Juve rack up the points in previous seasons.
And now that they’re trying to make up a somewhat sizable gap between themselves and the team sitting at the top of the league standings, it’s time to truly take advantage of having struggling sides around the relegation zone on the schedule over the next couple of weeks.
Juventus do that, and maybe this inconsistent start to the season begins to right itself and get truly on track. Not just from a results point of view, but also from an overall performance aspect of things. We want Juventus to start looking like the team we know they can be, not one that is good for 20-minute spurts at the very most.
Is a complete, 90-minute performance from Juventus with three points in their back pocket incoming? Sounds like a pretty good birthday present to me.
Location: Dacia Arena, Udine, Italy
Kick-off time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12 p.m. on the East Coast; 9 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Chiellini, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain
Udinese starting XI: Bizzarri; Ali Adnan, Danilo, Nuytinck, Samir; Hallfredsson, De Paul, Fofana, Jankto; Maxi Lopez, Perica
TV: beIN SPORTS USA (United States) beIN Sports Canada (Canada); BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online/Mobile: fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A. (United States) beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, fuboTV Canada, DAZN Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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