Last Saturday not withstanding, for the last handful of weeks — probably too many to go ahead and count off the top of my head because I’m sleepy and working on a Bulleit & Coke right now — Juventus has basically been in the same kind of situation when it came to the Serie A standings. They win, they leapfrog Napoli and into first place for, what proved to be, a short amount of time.
Ah, but over the next four days, things can be a whole lot different.
We could see the situation go from Juventus being the chaser in the Serie A table as they have been for months now to the one sitting atop the perch in Italy’s top flight. That’s the beauty of having a game in hand and about to actually be able to play it. You can rack up six points real, real quick.
Now all Juve have to do is go out and get said six points.
First comes Udinese today, then comes Atalanta in the snow day makeup fixture. Both games are in Turin in front of the hometown faithful who will undoubtedly be amped up knowing the situation that presents itself over the next week.
If you remember a little ways back this season, the Juventus-Udinese fixture provided one of the bianconeri’s biggest goal total of the season — a 6-2 win at the artist formerly known as the Stadio Friuli. And this was all after Juve fell behind seven minutes in, saw Udinese tie things up all of two minutes into the second half and, just to add to the absolute wackiness of things, saw Sami Khedira score a hat trick in the game.
Yes, the same Khedira who has been pretty meh — and that’s putting it lightly — ever since that game.
But, Juventus comes out of the thrilling 2-1 win over Tottenham feeling good about where they’re standing in all three competitions they’re still competing in. I would be too if I now had the chance to make a temporary stay atop the standings a much more permanent one. (Or for, you know, more than a handful of hours.)
We won’t be able to say all of that unless Juventus actually wins against Udinese and then Atalanta. For all we know, Napoli might go into the tank again this weekend following last week’s 4-2 loss to Roma. And hey, Juventus might actually get some help from Inter tonight. But we can’t count on it because Inter is always going to be Inter and saying “Forza Not Napoli” tonight can only do so much.
Basically, as we’ve known for weeks now, Juve need to take care of the first half of the equation before waiting to see what happens with Napoli later in the day.
See? It’s the simple ... but you probably knew that by now.
Date: Sunday, March 11, 2018
Location: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
Kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time n Italy; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 10 a.m. on the East Coast; 7 a.m. on the West Coast
(Remember, United States friends, Daylight Savings Time has been put into place and your clocks and watches should have been sprung forward before going to bed last night.)
Juventus starting XI (4-3-2-1 OR 4-3-3): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Rugani, Chiellini, Asamoah; Khedira, Marchisio, Sturaro; Douglas Costa, Higuain, Dybala
Juventus bench: Buffon, Del Favero, Barzagli, Benatia, Howedes, Pjanic, Matuidi, Bentancur, Mandzukic
Udinese starting XI (3-5-2): Bizzarri; Nuytinck, Angella, Samir; Widmer, Barak, Behrami, Fofana, Ali Adnan; Jankto; Maxi Lopez
HOW TO WATCH
Television: beIN SPORTS USA, RAI Italia America (United States); beIN Sports Canada, Rai Italia America (Canada); BT Sport ESPN (United Kingdom); PremiumSport 2 HD, Sky Calcio 1 (Italy)
Online/Mobile: fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., iGol (United States); fuboTV Canada, beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, DAZN Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia, Premium Play, Eleven Sports Italy (Italy)
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