Hello, and welcome to the official end of the summer blues.
Well, maybe not the official end because that is what’s going to happen when Juventus officially kick off their season next month against a team and in a location still to be determined. (Seriously, Serie A, get your act together and announce the fixture list.) But this game, Juventus’ first preseason friendly of the summer, comes against a Tottenham team that was playing for the Champions League trophy just a few months ago.
Funny how that works out.
Or maybe it’s just sheer coincidence.
Either way, Juventus obviously want to get to where Spurs were last season come the end of the season that has yet to officially kick off. And, with this friendly, Juve are taking the first steps in what they hope will be a return to European glory (on top of continuing their domestic dominance, of course).
But that long-term visions for what the season could see take place isn’t necessarily what matters most in the final days of July — especially when you’ve got a new manager at the helm like Juventus do in the form of Maurizio Sarri.
Here, in no particular order, are a few things to pay attention to heading into Juventus’ first preseason friendly of the summer.
- What, at least a little over a week into training, does Juve’s version of Sarri Ball look like.
- MATTHIJS DE LIGT!
- Even though Juve’s attack is far from full strength right now, where Sarri has Cristiano Ronaldo playing. (Sarri said Ronaldo will start on the left wing, but things could very well change during the course of the probably-limited minutes he plays.)
- How involved Miralem Pjanic is knowing full well Sarri wants him to be the fulcrum of Juve’s build-up play.
- Who, along with Pjanic, will be the midfielder(s) that stands out.
- Who will be the youngster that will almost certainly leave us with a lasting impression heading into the next group of friendlies this month?
- Just what kind of shape this team is in knowing that they haven’t been training for all that long and there’s about to be sweltering heat come kickoff time.
There’s probably more, but since this is just the first of a handful of friendlies on the docket before Juventus opens its season next month — still waiting on that fixture list by the way, Serie A — we’ll try to keep things short and sweet.
And while one friendly result will not seal the fate of Juventus’ 2019-20 season by a long shot, it’s obviously going to be interesting to see what this team — no matter what first team players are in Singapore or back in Turin — has to offer because of the fact that there’s a new manager shouting instructions from the sidelines.
It hasn’t been that way in five years, so this is the testing phase for all parties involved — yes, even those of us who will be watching this game from thousands of miles away.
When: Sunday, July 21, 2019
Where: Singapore National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore
Official kickoff time: 7:30 p.m. local time in Singapore; 1:30 p.m. in Italy and across Europe; 12:30 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time; 4:30 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI: Buffon; Cancelo, Rugani, Bonucci, De Sciglio; Pjanic, Emre Can, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Mandzukic, Ronaldo
Tottenham starting XI: Gazzaniga; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Tanganga, Georgiou; Winks, Skipp; Lamela, Dele, Son; Parrott
HOW TO WATCH
Television: ESPN2 (United States); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom); SportItalia (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN3, WatchESPN (United States); Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); DAZN (Canada);
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.