When looking back at Juventus’ worst performances of the season, what we just saw a few days ago against Napoli at the San Paolo ranks up there as one of the worst of the worst. Juve looked totally uninterested in the proceedings going on in front of them, with Napoli deservedly coming away with all the points in a game where the reigning Italian champions could have once again extended their lead atop the Serie A table.
Leonardo Bonucci boldly declared that Juventus must take the Napoli loss and use it as a lesson going forward as the an incredibly busy portion of the schedule beckons later this month. That makes sense, right? We don’t want Juventus to look all that much — or anything close to, really — like what we last weekend. Or what they looked like in November. Or what they looked like for some of December.
It just so happens that after one of the worst showings of the season Juventus’ next opponent is a team in which they also struggled quite a bit against the last time they were on the field with.
Juve’s trip to Florence back in September was, to put it kindly, a hot mess. As I sat in my hotel room watching the completely uneventful proceedings on my computer screen just before the sun came up on the same day that one of my best friends got married, I constant had the thought to myself that said a lot: “Why am I still watching this?” OK, so it’s part of the gig, and that means sitting through every minute of every Juventus game no matter how truly awful it may be on that given day. But the fact still remains that the first game of the season between Juventus and Fiorentina was pretty damn.
And we don’t want a repeat of that for multiple reasons.
(Don’t get me started on what lunchtime kickoffs mean for my sleep schedule.)
So now we see how Juventus will respond to what happened seven days ago. Maybe, just maybe, Juventus will come out with the kind of tenacity that will remind us of the Angry Juventus of years prior. Or Juve could just grind out another result like we’ve seen them do so many times this season (and years before that).
But, unlike previous weeks where Juventus know exactly what the situation was regarding their closest competition in Serie A well before they took the field, this it’s flipped. This time it’s Inter Milan playing after Juventus, and that means there’s plenty on the line so that there’s no risk being thrown out there that Juve don’t leave the door open for Antonio Conte’s side to cut the Bianconeri’s lead atop the Serie A table.
Let us hope there’s no more repeats of last Sunday. Or of the first time Juventus played Fiorentina, for that matter.
When: Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
Official kickoff time: 12:30 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 11:30 a.m. in the United Kingdom; 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time; 3:30 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Rabiot, Pjanic, Bentancur; Douglas Costa, Higuain, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Rugani, Coccolo, Ramsey, Matuidi, Bernardeschi, Dybala
Fiorentina starting XI (4-4-2): Drągowski; Lirola, Ceccherini, Pezzella, Igor; Ghezzal, Benassi, Pulgar, Dalbert; Chiesa, Cutrone
Fiorentina bench: Terracciano, Brancolini, Badelj, Sottil, Agudelo, Venuti, Vlahovic, Terzic, Dalle Mura
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); DAZN (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.