Around six weeks ago, I sat here and told you that Juventus’ schedule was going to let up a bit and become a little friendlier. Juve had just gone through an eight-day gauntlet where they played two huge Serie A games with an incredibly-important Champions League group stage finale sandwiched in between.
Once Juventus faces Chievo at the Bentegodi this weekend, here’s who they have on their schedule:
- at Atalanta (Coppa Italia)
- vs. Sassuolo
- at Fiorentina
- vs. Tottenham (Champions League)
- at Torino
- vs. Atalanta
- vs. Atalanta (Coppa Italia)
Throw in a trip to the Stadio Olimpico to face red-hot Lazio on the first weekend of March and Juventus’ next six weeks are going to be crucial when it comes to competing on all three fronts.
That means, just like on Monday night against Genoa, Juventus will be facing a team in the bottom half of the table rather than one that could very well be pushing for a spot in Europe at the very least. A team sitting in the bottom half of the table, like Chievo currently is, for one of the last times until the middle of March arrives.
Even with the schedule getting busy as all hell starting next week, that’s still a long ways away and still plenty of points hanging out there for the taking between now and then.
Juventus wasn’t all that impressive in Monday night’s win over Genoa, with there being some signs of this team not playing in over two weeks after the midseason winter break. The line of thinking has you going along the path of after a few more training sessions and the conditioning rust or cobwebs will be knocked off a little bit more.
“Playing these kinds of games is always difficult. If you face Inter or Roma, the coach does not even need to talk. Everyone is focused and ready to give their best. In games like the one on Saturday you can be led to think that it is easier to get a positive result, but that’s not true. It will be a battle and we will have to be ready on both a physical and mental level.”
Those are the words of Medhi Benatia, somebody who has most certainly contributed to Juventus’ current unbeaten run that spans nearly two months. And you know what? He’s absolutely right. There’s just something about playing at the Bentegodi where things just don’t come easy no matter if it’s against Chievo or Hellas Verona.
Of course, now that I’ve said that, Juventus are probably going to win 4-0 and we’re just going to all sit back and totally have a big laugh or two about it.
Or at least I hope there’s a 4-0 Juventus win that makes us all happy. It seems like a pretty good way to start my weekend, and I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that.
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 starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Barzagli, Benatia, Asamoah; Khedira, Pjanic, Sturaro; Douglas Costa, Higuain, Mandzukic
Juventus bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Bentancur, Matuidi, Bernardeschi
Chievo starting XI (4-4-2): Sorrentino; Cacciatore, Dainelli, Tomovic, Bani; Bastien, Radovanovic, Hetemaj, Jaroszynski; Birsa; Pucciarelli
Chievo bench: Seculin, Confente, Cesar, Gobbi, Gamberini, Depaoli, Garritano, Rigoni, Leris, Meggiorini, Pellissier, Stepinski
TV: beIN SPORTS USA, Rai Italia America (United States); beIN Sports Canada, Rai Italia America (Canada); BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Supercalcio HD, PremiumSport HD, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia (Italy)
Online/Mobile: beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., fuboTV (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, fuboTV Canada, DAZN Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live (United Kingdom); Premium Play, SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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