It doesn’t matter if it’s in September, December, February or some other time of the year, Juventus’ trip to the Luigi Ferraris has recently been an absolute pain in the you-know-what. The fact that Genoa haven’t even been great lately doesn’t matter, either. When Juventus plays Genoa and its at the Marassi, you better buckle your seatbelts because there’s going to be some kind of unpleasant and sometimes disappointing ride ahead.
I mention all of this because ... well, you can probably guess why.
Juventus’ last game in the month of June and before the key three-week stretch to begin July takes the Italian champions to Genoa for a second consecutive fixture against a team that will be fighting like hell to not get relegated in about six weeks from now. And as we know from Juve’s previous games against Genoa over the last few years, a trip to Marassi is far from a sure thing no matter if Genoa is mid-table or in the fight to not get relegated.
In 2016, Juve lost 3-1 in Genoa.
In 2017, Juve needed a Paulo Dybala hat trick to reverse a 2-0 deficit after just seven minutes and escape Genoa with a win.
In 2019, Juventus’ first loss of the 2018-19 season came, you guessed it, at the Luigi Ferraris.
Hell, even Genoa’s visit to Turin last season was far from a piece of cake.
So, as you can probably imagine, the fact that this current Genoa side currently sits in 17th and just a few points ahead of the team that Juventus just beat a few days ago doesn’t really matter to me. Genoa is the perfect and prime example of a team that we’ve expected to beat by a whole lot over the years and just the opposite has happened nearly every one of those times. I’m guilty of it. You’re probably guilty of it. Even with the recent on-field history between the two clubs, you can’t help thinking that Juventus will handle Genoa without much trouble because they haven’t been all that good lately.
But that seven-point lead we saw Juve have after beating Lecce 4-0 on Friday ... well, that thing was gone all of 24 hours later after Lazio’s controversial 2-1 comeback win over Fiorentina. That means, as Serie A’s schedule is constructed these days with fixtures virtually every single day, this is essentially Juventus’ turn to hit the ball back into Lazio’s court and scream “YOUR MOVE!” back at them. We know Lazio is still on Juve’s schedule, and making sure that there’s still breathing room over the course of the next few weeks.
That’s why, regardless of how Juve’s done against Genoa in recent years, this one is crucial because it will push the lead in Serie A back to seven points depending on How Lazio’s game against Torino goes earlier in the day on Tuesday.
So maybe Juventus is making a little bit of progress these last few games. Since the true grind of the schedule starts next month and the big fixtures left on the schedule are about to arrive, that would be a nice little development. So would a little breathing atop the league table entering the month of July. That might be a little too much to ask, but at least we can hope for the best, right? (Don’t answer that.)
- At least Danilo isn’t suspended and Juventus has a natural fullback available again? I guess.
- Gonzalo Higuian may have returned to the squad on Friday, but Juventus’ injury list is still rather long-ish right now.
- Sami Khedira is expected to be done for the season.
- Giorgio Chiellini is still working his way back to full fitness.
- Merih Demiral is still rehabbing after ACL surgery.
- Alex Sandro and Mattia De Sciglio are still injured.
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
I mean, it’s kinda easy to figure out at this point, right?
You know, seeing as he was undergoing a medical to join a new club at the place where his current team gets all of their medical exams done and will not be moving to his new club until September, things are a little interesting for Miralem Pjanic the next six or eight weeks.
So, yea1h, it’s this guy:
I can only imagine the wide range of emotions going through Pjanic’s head these days. He knows that he has to finish the season with Juventus only then going to Barcelona. He’s already signed with Barcelona, too — which means in any other year where things weren’t thrown completely out of whack because of a global pandemic he would already be setting up his new place of residence in Spain.
Instead, he’s still with Juventus for the next two months.
And hell, he could very well see Barcelona in the Champions League as a Juventus player come August for all we know. That’s just another wrinkle to this stupid, stupid, stupid (and everything in between) season that we’re still in the midst of because of this damn pandemic.
The thing we do get to say coming into the Genoa game — one where Maurizio Sarri himself has said there will be not very much squad rotation taking place — that Pjanic is coming off one of his few really good games in months. (And that’s just because Juve hasn’t played many games in the last four months.) That was the kind of Pjanic that we had hoped for much of this season. You know, one where he was racking up key pass after key pass, playing an effective game in the center of the field as Juventus, regardless of how the game started, recording one of its more lopsided wins (on the scoreboard) all season.
Maybe, just maybe, the fact that his future is now settled will be some weight off his shoulders and he can play some stress-free football again. That would be nice.
Or, maybe his mind will be off in Barcelona as he finishes up the next six or so weeks of the Serie A season (and then whatever happens in the Champions League).
I tend to think the first thing is more possible than the first. So does Sarri.
Sarri: "There will be no problem with @Miralem_Pjanic if the transfer is made official. He is a lad who likes to play football, who is focused and I'm sure that he gives everything on the pitch."#GenoaJuve #ForzaJuve— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) June 29, 2020
Pjanic is far from a problem in the locker room. From afar, his teammates seem to really enjoy him and Pjanic seems like a genuine dude. (Plus his young son is hilarious.) I don’t doubt that he will finish out his stint at Juventus with the utmost respect for the club. This is just going to be weird watching him knowing full well that he’s been sold but is still a Juve player for the next two months.
When: Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Where: Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy
Official kickoff time: 9:45 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 8:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 3:45 p.m. Eastern Time; 12:45 p.m. Pacific Time
HOW TO WATCH
Television: RAI Italia North America (United States); RAI Italia North America, TLN (Canada); Premier Sports 2 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport Serie A (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada) Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia, NOW TV (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.