It sounds weird to say it entering the third game of the season, but for the first time in five seasons, a manager other than Max Allegri will be on the Juventus sideline barking out orders. You could technically say that in Juve’s first two games of the season, yeah, but that was only because Maurizio Sarri was out with what seemed like a nasty case of pneumonia.
Now, at 100 percent health, Sarri is taking his place where we expected him to be before the medical issues forced him to watch Juve’s first two games of the Serie A season on TV.
There won’t be any kind of TV viewing today.
Unless, of course, he’s sent to the locker room before the final whistle.
But after a somewhat eventful and far-from-boring international break even though there was no Juventus football the last two weeks, Juve look to make it a perfect 3-for-3 to start the 2019-20 season when they face Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi this afternoon. Of course, the hope is that if Juve are to make it three straight wins to open the new season, it’s that things are a little less dramatic than what was needed the last time they took the field before the international break.
Or, really, that an own goal in stoppage time isn’t the reason why Juve’s winning.
Or, really, that they don’t go blowing a three-goal lead like they did two weeks ago.
I think you get it by now.
But, with the start of the Champions League group stage right around the corner, the hope is that the early-season ills and struggles that we saw against Parma and Napoli are exactly as prevalent now that we’re in the middle of September rather than the middle of August. That’s something that Sarri is well aware of, and something that he addressed during his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon:
“We’re in a phase whereby rotations are difficult because we’re still searching for our identity and structure.”
How long it takes to firmly establish the complete identity and structure will obviously be something that is a talking point going forward the next few weeks and months. They looked good for 60 minutes against Napoli, but then the whole house caved in before the big stoppage-time gift the team received.
So now we see if today’s step is one in the right direction. It sure would be nice with a team like Atlético Madrid next up on the schedule, though.
When: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019
Where: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy
Official kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. Eastern Time; 6 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Buffon, Ramsey, Dybala, Cuadrado, Can, Rugani, Rabiot, Demiral, Bentancur, Bernardeschi
Fiorentina starting XI (3-5-2): Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Caceres; Lirola, Castrovilli, Pulgar, Badelj, Dalbert; Chiesa, Ribery
Fiorentina bench: Terracciano, Ranieri, Boateng, Sottil, Cristoforo, Ceccherini, Ghezzal, Montiel, Venuti, Zurkowski, Vlahovic, Terzic
HOW TO WATCH
Television: RAI Italia America (United States); TLN, RAI Italia America (Canada); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport Serie A (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); 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.