Even before Juventus has stepped onto the field for their final game of 2017, they know that they won’t be crowned as Serie A’s winter champions. It’s not exactly a big deal, in all honesty. We live in a world where Juventus cares more about the Scudetto at the end of the season rather than the one that is handed out at the end of December.
So, congrats on your half-Scudetto, Napoli.
But, for another week, Juventus has the chance to make sure Napoli’s lead atop the Serie A standings is the slimmest of margins.
The first half of the season will conclude this weekend. Juventus, starting to hit some very good form after picking up seven out of a nine possible points against the likes of Napoli, Inter Milan and Roma, heads to Verona to face a Hellas squad that is once again hanging around in the relegation zone in its return to Serie A.
A win — hopefully one that is relatively comfortable — over a team that will be favored to get a point by pretty much nobody seems like a good way to head into the new year, doesn’t it?
Juventus comes into this game looking to go the entire month of December without a loss. They’ve done that plenty of times in the past, but knowing that they need to keep pace with Napoli as the calendar flips from December to January and the schedule is relatively soft from now until Juve face Tottenham in the Champions League Round of 16 is obviously the motivating factor here.
That favorable stretch begins with Hellas Verona.
Sure, it’s been a while since Juventus won at the Stadio Bentegodi, but that can be a little deceiving since Hellas Verona obviously haven’t been playing in Serie A every season over the last 20 or so years.
But because of that near-two-decade-long stretch without a win over Hellas in Verona, Allegri’s desire for tonight’s game isn’t any different than what it would be if it was just another weekend against any other Serie A opponent.
Max knows his history. Or maybe he had somebody slip him that little piece of information right before he took the stage to answer the Italian press’ questions at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Location: Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy
Kickoff 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
Juventus XI (4-3-2-1): Szczesny; Lichtsteiner, Benatia, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Bentancur, Matuidi; Dybala; Mandzukic, Higuain
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Loria, Rugani, Barzagli, Asamoah, Marchisio, Sturaro, Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa, Pjaca
Hellas Verona XI (3-5-2): Nicolas; Ferrari, Caracciolo, Heurtaux, Caceres; Romulo, Buchel, B Zuculini, Verde; Bessa; Kean
Hellas Verona bench: Silvestri, Coppola, Laner, Fossati, Pazzini, F Zuculini, Calvano, Valoti, Tupta, Bearzotti, Souprayen, Felicioli
TV: beIN SPORTS USA, beIN SPORTS en Español, Rai Italia America (United States); beIN Sports Canada, beIN SPORTS en Español, Rai Italia America (Canada); BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Sky Supercalcio HD, PremiumSport HD, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)
Online/Mobile: beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., fuboTV (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, DAZN Canada, fuboTV Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live (United Kingdom); Premium Play, SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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