Juventus could have clinched their sixth straight Scudetto without even taking the field on Saturday. There were scenarios in which a Roma loss would have given Juve the title once again. There were other combinations of things, too, but with Roma beating Chievo, it pretty much put an end to any hope of seeing the players jumping around with Max Allegri at Vinovo.
However, with the Roma result being what it is, Juventus enters their final game at Juventus Stadium for the next four months or so with the same kind of result needed to wrap up another Scudetto and turn Turin into a party-like atmosphere.
- Just win, baby.
If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Juventus entered the first of two straight games at the Stadio Olimpico needing not to lose to put the title race officially out of reach. You may be wearing a Juve jersey come Sunday afternoon when the Old Lady face relegation battlers Crotone in Turin, but you may also be rooting for Team Don’t Lose, something that didn’t go so well seven days earlier in Rome.
I guess Juve want to wrap things up at home next weekend.— BWRAO (@JuventusNation) May 14, 2017
Those words from last weekend weren’t exactly what Juventus wanted to have happen — or maybe they did, I don’t know; that guy who runs that Twitter account can say some pretty crazy things — but it’s what needs to be done to prevent any kind of shenanigans from happening in the final weekend of the season.
Juventus need all of one single win against the team currently sitting in 18th place in the Serie A table to wrap up a sixth straight title. That’s it. That’s the list. Nothing more -- a win would be pretty nice based on the fact the Champions League final is in two weeks — and nothing less. One dand win against a team that NEEDS to win if it wants to have any hope of controlling its own Serie A destiny entering the final week of the 2016-17 season.
One single victory. Three points in the bag.
You probably get the idea by now.
Before Juventus won the Coppa Italia on Wednesday against Lazio, Max Allegri said that these next three weeks are vital. And, well, yeah, that’s pretty much it. Juventus have the chance to secure their second trophy within a five-day span, something that is surely going to mean that Juve’s champagne bill is going to be a little higher than usual at the end of the month.
But in all seriousness, to get the second leg of the possible treble out of the way this weekend is incredibly important. Juventus is playing a Crotone team that has one of the worst goal differentials in Serie A. Crotone has found a nice little groove since the beginning of February to give itself a chance to even go into the final weeks of the season with the hopes of not getting relegated, sure, but Juventus are at home, with a trophy on the line and looking history right in the face.
That’s something you don’t mess with. As much as the Rome loss sucked, they got right back on the horse and got a win over Lazio in the Coppa Italia final when they needed to. That’s the sign of a good team. And knowing that Juventus are in the Champions League final come June 3, I think it’s safe to say that they’re more than just a good team.
You know, like a really, really good team.
The words of Claudio Marchisio earlier this week ring so true now: "We mustn’t take any of what we have achieved for granted because it is our past that has led us to this present. I hope the fans are as focused as we are on Sunday’s game. We will approach it as if it is another final because at the end of it, there may well be another trophy and another record: six Scudetti in a row, three Coppa Italia in a row.”
Juventus have one half of that double down. They get them both, and it could very well turn into a treble. Please win on Sunday, Juventus. I like when there’s a team from Italy in black and white stripes hoisting a trophy over their heads.
Juventus win? Scudetto time.
Juventus draw or loss? Not Scudetto time.
Also, Sami Khedira is back in the match day squad, but is not expected to play, according to Allegri himself. I guess he’s just going to sit on the bench for 90 minutes and keep Moise Kean company and crack jokes about trips to Mallorca with Stephan Lichtsteiner. (Although the cigar smoking will have to wait, Steph.)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
1) Can Juventus celebrate another title on Sunday?
There really is only one thing that truly matters in the final home game of the season on Sunday afternoon. Juventus are playing a Crotone team that are in relatively good form and enjoying some of the better results they’ve had over the past couple of months or so, But there’s no reason to think that Juventus, knowing what’s a stake, can afford any kind of slip-up. They’re playing a team that has a chance not to get relegated, but at the same time, no Juve player wants to enter the final week of the season and not have lifted the Scudetto already. If they do, they need to find a new team.
Juventus beat Crotone once already this season, getting second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain to prevent any kind of funny stuff from happening against a team they had no business losing to. This time around, hopefully there will be a goal or two scored in the first half by a Juventus player and we can just turn the final 45 minutes of football at Juventus Stadium into a Scudetto party rather than a nail-biting extravaganza that certainly the folks over in the Italian capital hope to see happen.
In the end, we don’t want Juventus to lose. And if they win, then we get to see Gigi Buffon do this once again as confetti shoots out of cannons and rains down onto the players and the Juventus Stadium turf.
MY STARTING XI
Juventus XI (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Buffon; Dani Alves, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Claudio Marchisio, Miralem Pjanic; Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic; Gonzalo Higuain
Location: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
Kick-off time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. on the East Coast; 6 a.m. (lol) on the West Coast
TV: beIN SPORTS USA, RAI International (United States); beIN SPORTS Canada, RAI International (Canada); BT Sport ESPN (United Kingdom); PremiumSport 2 HD, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia (Italy)
Online/Mobile: beIN SPORTS CONNECT USA, fuboTV (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, fuboTV Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY GO Italia (Italy)
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