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Juventus vs. Udinese match preview: Time, TV schedule, and how to watch the Serie A

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What do you do with a 16-point lead in March? Look completely ahead to the Champions League fixture in a few days...

Juventus FC via Getty Images

With Juventus’ 2-1 win over Napoli this past Sunday night, I think we can say one thing about the 2018-19 season to date: Serie A is a wrap, folks.

Like, more than before.

It’s over. Insert your Vince Carter gifs here.

So why is this game against Udinese on Friday night all that important? Well, one doesn’t need to look that far down Juventus’ schedule to figure that out. This game, which will be played in Turin on March 8, is the game before Juve’s season-defining fixture in the Champions League Round of 16 all of four days later. It’s the game before THE GAME, one that will pretty much determine whether Juve will be able to deem this season a relatively ordinary one or keep the preseason goals of European glory alive and well.

There are 96 hours in between Juventus kicking the ball off against Udinese in Turin and Atlético Madrid taking the Allianz Stadium field for the second leg of the round of 16 tie.

To get to the second game, you must first play the first.

OK, so maybe that’s a bit of the cliché kind of sentence above. I want to see the same thing that I wanted when Juve played Napoli this past weekend. I don’t necessarily care all that much about the result, I just want Juventus to look competent and competitive, not the dumpster fire-like thing that we saw for much of the first two months of 2019.

For a decent chunk of the 2-1 win over Napoli that nearly saw as many red cards as it had goals, Juventus looked competent, looked like a team that had a clue of what it wanted to do. They also looked like a team that was also holding on for dear life once Miralem Pjanic get his second yellow card, so there’s also that.

So, basically, we’re kinda left to wonder — again — where this team is at both on the field and upstairs.

That’s not necessarily where you want to be heading into a fixture that is easily The Game of the Season. If you had to choose between knowing you’re in relatively good standing like Atlético Madrid currently is or playing a guessing game as to just how well you will play on any given day, I think we all know we’d take the former rather than Max Allegri’s current guessing game.

But here is what we know for Udinese’s trip to Turin on Friday night:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo will not start. (THIS IS GOOD.)
  • Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci will not start. (THIS IS ALSO GOOD.)
  • There is a 99 percent chance” that Moise Kean will start. (OH MY GOD THIS IS GOOD.)
  • Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic both trained separate from the group on Thursday, and almost certainly won’t start. (This is not great.)
  • Pjanic is suspended after his pair of yellows against Napoli and therefore will get the game off regardless. (This is good. Insert your conspiracy theories here.)

So, if you were hoping for plenty of squad rotation ahead of the second leg against Atlético Madrid, then you got it, folks. That is the luxury of having a 16-point lead in Serie A. Allegri, much to his credit (and I guess full credit will go to him once the starting lineup is announced), has fully come out and said that squad rotation is going to be a thing when his team faces Udinese.

This is good.

This is what we all wanted.

Ronaldo needs rest. Chiellini and Bonucci need to be kept in bubble wrap on top of getting some much-needed rest. Kean, who hasn’t appeared in a game in just about two months, will finally get a chance after there being a lot of statements like “This sure seems like a game that Moise Kean would be useful in...” have been said the last couple of weeks (if not longer than that).

Again, all I ask is for Juventus to look like a team that knows what it’s doing.

That’s not too, too much to ask for, right? (Don’t actually answer that.)

GOOD NEWS

MOISE KEAN 99 PERCENT CHANCE OF STARTING AGAINST UDINESE.

BAD NEWS

Oh, good. Now we have to wonder about Dybala and Mandzukic being injured next week, huh?

THREE KEYS ONE KEY

1) Can Juventus look competent against a team that is seven points above the relegation zone?

We can break down how we hope that Juventus avoids the injury bug. We can break down what kind of formation Allegri will go with when you factor in all the expected squad rotation that he is going to be rolling with Friday night. Or, we can just look at the Serie A standings, maybe smile a little bit because it’s at SIXTEEN FREAKIN’ POINTS and realize that a lot of Juve’s thoughts about the Udinese game are with Atlético Madrid in mind.

We are bound to see a starting squad that hasn’t played many minutes together this season, and that’s probably because of who’s playing up top and who will be in the center of the Juve defense. It will probably be the most rotation Allegri has done in one game this year — and that’s exactly what he should be doing with such a big lead in the league and a season-defining kind of fixture a few days away.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that, hopefully, Juventus don’t just go through the motions and put out an absolutely piss-poor effort just because this game doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

I’d like Juventus to win, but I’d also like Juventus to play (somewhat) well while doing so.

MATCH INFO

When: Friday, March 8, 2019

Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

Official kickoff time: 8:30 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe; 7:30 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time; 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time

HOW TO WATCH

Television: TLN (Canada); Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport Serie A (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.

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.