The good thing about tonight’s game is that it’s not the end of Juventus’ Coppa Italia run no matter what the result ends up being. There’s still a second leg to play, back in Turin with hopefully something to legitimately play for. That’s what Maurizio Sarri hopes is the case, surely something that would back up his quote about Juve being on target for the club’s objectives this season.
Of course, the team’s form isn’t all that great right now, and hasn’t been very good for weeks — if not months — now. That is well documented, so we won’t go further into that.
But, as is always the downside of being an internal optimist, there’s this thought constantly banging around in this brain of mine: Maybe the next game will be better than the last game.
Counterpoint is that it can’t get much worse than what we’ve seen from Juventus in its two most recent losses to Hellas Verona and Napoli before that. Tonight’s first leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals against Milan is the chance to change all of that ... hopefully. But if the trend fo the last few months continue and Juve again struggle to do much of anything right, then it could very well be a long two legs of the Coppa semifinals no matter what kind of losses Milan has suffered to a certain city rival in the last few days.
Although it’s a little different than the norm to hope that Juve find some kind of respite in the Coppa Italia, that’s just how it is going for Sarri’s squad these days. There’s no more lead atop Serie A, and the Champions League Round of 16 draw might be favorable but it’s not like Juve’s current form is saying that playing Lyon is going to be a breeze. But it has been in the Coppa Italia where some of Juventus’ best showings over the last couple of months have come. (Which, I know, hasn’t exactly been against the strongest opposition, but Juve did beat a Roma that just pushed them to the limit a week and a half earlier, so there’s that.)
Basically, go on and keep up with the Coppa Italia dominance.
You know, the competition where Juve’s looked like a complete team.
We haven’t seen that much this season, but we have seen it in the Coppa Italia.
Ah, that magical Coppa Italia! My favorite in-season tournament where Juventus suddenly might actually be putting some kind of importance on it rather than doing massive squad rotation every single chance they get.
So, I’ve said it once and I will say it again: Please don’t suck, Juventus. (I feel like I’ve been saying — or at least thinking — that a lot lately. I don’t like that all that much.)
When: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020
Where: Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, Milan, Italy
Official kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time; 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Buffon; De Sciglio, de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Ramsey, Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Dybala, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Danilo, Higuain, Rugani, Rabiot, Bentancur, Olivieri, Coccolo
AC Milan starting XI (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Castillejo, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic
AC Milan bench: Begovic, A. Donnarumma, Bonaventura, Leao, Musacchio, Paqueta, Gabbia, Saelemaekers, Laxalt, Brescianini, Maldini
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom); RAI Uno (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); FloFC (Canada); BT Sport Live (United Kingdom); RAI Play (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.