With the Supercoppa taking place this weekend, Juventus is going to get a little bit of a head start on its holiday break from Serie A. That also means that, unlike the team that Juve is currently sharing first place with in the standings, this next week is a little busier than a “normal” week before the holiday break should be.
Sure, there’s a trophy to play for on Sunday.
But there’s also one main objective to close out the Serie A schedule for the calendar year of 2019: ensure that Juve go into the break no worse than in a tie for first with Inter.
Juventus head to the sometimes-interesting and always-entertaining (and loud) Luigi Ferraris tonight to face a Sampdoria side that is coming off an emotional win in the Derby della Lanterna over city rival Genoa. (Seriously, if you want to be amazed by a stat, look at Claudio Ranieri’s record in all of the major Italian derbies he’s managed in. It is truly amazing. #DerbyKing) It is that game where Sampdoria was able to jump out of the relegation zone in what continues to be a season absolutely ruled by inconsistent and trying to dig out of the hole the club dug itself into prior to Ranieri’s arrival.
And it just so happens to be the kind of team that Maurizio Sarri and Juventus has seen a lot of domestically over the past month or so.
#Sarri: It will be a difficult game. They are recovering and have the enthusiasm of the derby victory. #Ranieri's teams are always difficult to deal with. A high levelled performance will be needed. #SampJuve #ForzaJuve— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 17, 2019
On a night where Gigi Buffon will make some more history as he passes former teammate and club captain Alessandro Del Piero — you may have heard of him — for the most Serie A appearances ever in a Juventus jersey, this will be one of Juve’s few games where they look to build off a positive performance the one before. Juventus looked very good — at least in the first half, that is — against Udinese, which just so happens to currently be a relegation battler like Sampdoria.
That’s what Sarri’s biggest task is now.
At least for the next two games, that is, knowing that there’s some pretty decent competition awaiting Juventus come the weekend in Saudi Arabia. (You know, the same opposition that just beat Juve 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico earlier this month. That game was stupid, and Juve shouldn’t play like that again.)
So maybe Juventus can do what it did against Udinese again. Maybe Sarri will unleash the same trident that he did against Udinese to try and keep the good times going. And maybe Juve won’t allow Samp to keep their own good times from over the weekend going.
Either way, at a stadium that has been a bugaboo over the years, Juventus will try to at least take over first place and have it all to themselves for at least a couple of days.
When: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019
Where: Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy
Official kickoff time: 6:55 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 5:55 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12:55 p.m. Eastern Time; 9:55 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Buffon; Danilo, Demiral, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Ronaldo, Higuain
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, De Sciglio, de Ligt, Rugani, Ramsey, Emre Can, Portanova, Douglas Costa, Cuadrado, Pjaca, Bernardeschi
Sampdoria starting XI (4-4-1-1): Audero; Murillo, Ferrari, Colley, Murru; Depaoli, Thorsby, Jankto, Linetty; Ramirez; Caprari
Sampdoria bench: Seculin, Falcone, Augello, Chabot, Rigoni, Regini, Maroni, Gabbiadini, Leris, Quagliarella, Pompetti
HOW TO WATCH
Television: Premium Sports 2 (United Kingdom); NOW TV, Sky Sport Uno, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport Serie A (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premium Player HD (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.