Much like was the case when Juventus was preparing to take the field against Udinese a little over a week ago, the only real thing riding on Juve’s trip to the Marassi to face Genoa this weekend is just how many points their lead in Serie A will be at the end of the day’s fixtures. Of course, you can say that about every one of Juventus’ 38 league fixtures every year, but just take a moment to look at the schedule and then notice there’s the same kind of thing going on as there was last weekend.
Juventus plays before Napoli.
That means first-place Juventus will have the chance to add three more points onto its already incredibly-comfortable before Napoli faces a Udinese side Juve brushed aside a little over a week ago.
For the first time in a long time, Max Allegri’s side will be the lunchtime kickoff on the peninsula, with Juventus heading to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris to face our old buddy Cesare Prandelli and a Genoa side that has won all of two of its eight games since the calendar flipped to 2019.
Look, with just how large Juve’s lead is right now as we prepare to head into the first international break of the 2019 calendar year, there’s only so much to keep us interested in what Juventus is actually doing in Serie A. One of those things is just the pure comedy of how much distance is between Juventus and Napoli right now.
Entering the weekend, Juve’s lead is 18 points. With a win over Genoa, one of the few teams Juventus has dropped points against this season, then the Serie A lead gets extended to 21 (!!) points a couple of hours before Napoli takes the field.
It’s just that notion alone, the fact that Juventus could go into the international break with a league lead that is double digits and starts with a ‘2’ that is just completely hilarious.
OK, so maybe the fact that Moise Kean could get a second straight start is another thing to pay attention to — YEAH OF COURSE IT IS — but it’s still hard to wrap my head around an 18-point lead in Serie A, let alone one that could be in the 20s in less than 24 hours.
That would be pretty great.
So would more Moise Kean goals.
So would Juventus winning.
So would, seeing as the league title race is over and the Champions League is still very much a thing we’re interested in thanks to Tuesday night’s thrilling comeback, everybody who gets a paycheck from Juventus staying healthy during the trip to Genoa.
Yeah, those three things would be great.
Juventus has an 18-point Serie A lead.
Juventus is one of the eight teams in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Could be much, much worse.
For all you CR7 fanboys, I guess you’re gonna have to watch YouTube videos to get your fix this weekend. Cristiano Ronaldo may have been called back into the Portugal national team’s squad, but he’s hanging back in Turin this weekend. I’d say, based on his hat trick Tuesday night, that he earned it.
1) MOISE KEAN MOISE KEAN MOISE KEAN
We sat around here a little over a week ago pretty much assuming that Moise Kean was going to be leading the line against Udinese. The payoff was a wonderful both for Kean and Juventus as a whole, with the club’s brightest starlet putting all of his talents on full display.
Now, as Juventus heads into the “after” part of the second leg against Atlético Madrid, Kean is once again being tipped to get the start. It’s not just because Juventus has a massive Serie A lead, but did you guys see the kind of knock Mario Mandzukic took to his thigh on Tuesday night? I know the dude is a machine and is willing to play through just about any pain possible, but even players like Mario need to rest once in a while.
So, do we get to make some more Moise on Sunday afternoon, Max?
In attack, either Mandzukic or Kean will play.”
YOU ARE NO HELP SOMETIMES, MAX ALLEGRI.
The classic Allegri line of making us guess until the starting lineups are announced an hour before kickoff won’t keep me from trying to find every single predicted lineup on Twitter. And, as far as the ones that the likes of Tuttosport and others, Kean is included. That doesn’t mean Mandzukic won’t start, of course, seeing as Federico Bernardeschi is the only natural winger called up by Allegri for the trip to Genoa. But, all we’re left to do is to hope that Kean is in the starting lineup because, with an 18-point lead in Serie A, there’s no reason why Allegri should not be playing more than he did the first six months of the season.
2) Mattia Perin against his former club for the first time
Perin will step in between the sticks at the Luigi Ferraris as a visiting player for the first time since his loan spell years ago at Pescara. It was that 2012-13 season where Perin, just a teenager, started to make a name for himself, something that obviously continued when he returned from his season-long loan spell.
There will obviously be plenty of emotions running through Perin’s head come the first time he runs out on the field and salutes the curva, the same one where he had an emotional farewell back at the end of last season. This is where Perin grew up, where he went through major career highs and lows — most notably his serious knee injuries — and where he established himself as one of the best young goalkeepers in the country.
Perin, obviously, isn’t young anymore. He’s 26 years old and moved on to the biggest club in the country even though consistent playing time was never going to be anything close to a guarantee. As the season has gone on, Wojciech Szczesny has done nothing to have Allegri doubt his choice to have the big Pole be his No. 1 keeper, meaning Perin has been appearing sporadically at best.
Much like the squad in general, the advancement to the Champions League quarterfinals could mean more appearances will be on the horizon for Perin. No matter what, though, his eighth Serie A appearance in a Juventus jersey will come at a place he’s as familiar at than any in the country. This time it’s as a visiting player, and that’s probably gonna feel a little weird for a good portion of the afternoon.
3) Cristian Romero against his possible next team
Speaking of players who could make the jump from Genoa to Juventus ...
I know all of two posts ago we were talking about the possibility of Juve using the Champions League quarterfinal tie against Ajax to do a little talking about possibly signing Matthijs de Ligt, we know for a fact that Juventus are a club that is interested in signing the 20-year-old Romero.
That means, while we want Juventus to play well and get all three points against Genoa, will also be using this lunchtime kickoff time see how Romero does against the club that is scouting him,
He won’t be going up against somebody like Ronaldo, sure, but a potential Romero-Kean matchup is something that could very well be worth watching regardless of who else is starting in attack for Juventus. Even Romero going up against Mario Mandzukic would be fun for the simple fact that both dudes don’t take any kind of mess and aren’t afraid to shy away from a little bit of physical contact.
When: Sunday, March 17, 2019
Where: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy
Official kickoff time: 12:30 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 11:30 a.m. in the United Kingdom; 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time; 4:30 a.m. Pacific Time
HOW TO WATCH
Television: RAI Italia America (United States); TLN, RAI Italia America (Canada)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom); DAZN (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.