The last time Juventus stepped onto a field for a game, it was ... bad. Yeah, let’s just go with that. It was very, very bad and we hope that, even though it’s probably unavoidable knowing how this season has gone, we don’t have to see all that much of those kids of performances over the course of the next two months.
We don’t want that again.
So, two weeks after that crap, crap, crap, crap 2-0 loss to Genoa, Juventua are back again. The first international break of 2019 is over and done with — and we should rejoice! How? By watching Juventus play on their home field for the first time since they beat Atlético Madrid 3-0 to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals. The opponent, Empoli, is more like Genoa than they are Atlético Madrid, which is something we could pretty much figure out in a matter of seconds based on where they are currently placed in the Serie A standings.
So, after playing a massive European game the last time they were at Allianz Stadium, Juventus now faces a team that could, if things don’t go their way this weekend, will slip down into the relegation zone and add just a little more stress going into the penultimate month of the 2018-19 season.
The talking point entering tonight’s game will obviously be about Cristiano Ronaldo and the injury he picked up on international duty with Portugal. By all accounts, Max Allegri isn’t stressing it, pretty much saying that Ronaldo is “fine” at his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon.
When it comes to Empoli themselves, Allegri said the following:
“Tomorrow’s match is very important, a game that must be won and tackled with great aggression and concentration. Empoli for 60-65 minutes will give us a hard time, they are a team that is doing well and is yet to reach their goal. The Scudetto still has five victories to go: we have to do the first one.”
Aggression AND concentration? Sounds like a good combination to have going into a game — regardless of who the opponent may be.
And with three games to go before Juve board a plane and head over to Amsterdam to face Ajax, having a good amount of concentration on the task at hand is going to be pretty damn important for all parties involved.
When: Saturday, March 30, 2019
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
Official kickoff time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 1 p.m. Eastern Time; 10 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-4-2?): Szczesny; Cancelo, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Emre Can, Pjanic, Matuidi, Bentancur; Bernardeschi, Mandzukic,
Juventus bench: Perin, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Caceres, Bonucci, Spinazzola, Bentancur, Nicolussi Caviglia, Kean
Empoli starting XI (3-5-2): Dragowski; Veseli, Maietta, Dell’Orco; Di Lorenzo, Traoré, Bennacer, Krunic, Pajac; Farias, Caputo
Empoli bench: Provedel, Perucchini, Brighi, Antonelli, Acquah, Pasqual, Capezzi, Oberlin, Nikolaou, Ucan
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (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.