The Serie A finale has, surprisingly, been an interesting proposition over the course of the last nine seasons. Well, it has been for Juventus fans because we know that there’s going to be a trophy brought out onto the field and confetti and all the glitz and glam that comes with being the league champion over and over again.
But there’s also been those games where Juventus might be saying goodbye to a club legend or a manager who has one five consecutive Serie A titles.
Juventus has a Champions League game to play in a week. That is the only important thing that this team needs to worry about. Roma’s visit to Turin in the finale of this extremely extended 2019-20 Serie A means just as much as Wednesday’s trip to Sardinia did — absolutely nothing in the standings. This is, however, one final chance for Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri to set things as he so desires ahead of the return to the Champions League next week.
What that means, we’re not totally sure quite yet.
We know Juventus’ first-year manager — who, ironically, has now been the head coach for more than a calendar year — did a fair bit of rotating in Wednesday’s dead rubber loss to Cagliari. That worked well when it came to giving players some much-needed rest, but didn’t exactly inspire much confidence regardless of how little was actually on the line.
We don’t know how deep Sarri will dip into his bench when he comes to the starting lineup against Roma. We don’t know just how much Roma will do the same, to be honest. This is one of those games, even though it’s a matchup of two rivals, that really doesn’t mean much at all. (Unless, you know, Sarri plays an important player and they end up getting hurt.)
Juventus will lift another Scudetto come the final whistle. It will be different from the previous eight seasons for the simple fact that there won’t be 40,000-plus fans in the stands celebrating the latest Serie A triumph even if it’s a massive rainstorm or a game where they’re saying goodbye to a club legend.
That is pretty much all we know for sure will happen.
What else takes place, be it the starting lineup and the presence of Under-23 players or what the actual outcome is, There will be squad rotation, we just don’t know how much. There might even be a Juventus win, which is something we haven’t exactly seen a lot of over the course of the last couple of weeks.
Above all else, Juventus will get the chance to raise a trophy above their heads again — and hopefully nobody will get hurt during the course of the 90 minutes prior to that happening.
A recap of Sarri’s pre-match press conference:
- When it comes to Cristiano Ronaldo potentially resting in the Serie A season finale, Sarri said: “Let’s see how Cristiano feels for tomorrow, he’s one of the players that played the most in the entire season.”
- Aaron Ramsey might be available for the Champions League.
- Paulo Dybala is “proceeding well,” but Sarri is unsure when exactly Juve’s No. 10 will be training with the group.
- Regarding squad rotation, Sarri said he “will play who is fit and we’ll try to make it a day of celebration.”
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
I always check a predicted starting lineup or two before writing this section. Mainly because I don’t wanna spend a good amount of time putting thoughts together on a player who the Italian press — who mostly gets this stuff pretty right on — who has no chance of actually playing.
So, as I headed over La Gazzetta dello Sport’s website, I was greeted by this headline: “Roma e Juve con i giovani.” Translation: The GDS thinks Juve and Roma are gonna play the kids. Or, at least everybody’s favorite Italian daily sports newspaper printed on pink paper thinks that’s how it’s going to be at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
That got me interested!
I proceeded with my venture over to the predicted starting lineup. The page loaded ... the numbers appeared on the page and ... not many Under-23 players in the starting lineup!
Seeing as Miralem Pjanic is suspended, Aaron Ramsey is apparently injured again and Sami Khedira might as well be hanging out with Emre Can in Germany right now for all we know, I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to be seeing Simone Muratore in the starting lineup once again. What we see beyond that, really, is anybody’s guess at this point. Two other Under-23 players, Luca Zanimacchia and Gianluca Frabotta, are being predicted to start so that Maurizio Sarri can actually rest a couple of his regulars.
But, of course, this is the catch with predicted lineups — they’re predicted lineups.
If there is any game where trying to single out one player is a difficult task, it’s probably this one. Maybe even more than it was midweek against Cagliari since it was easy to predict who was going to step in for who and there were simply more options for Sarri to choose from. This time around, it’s a guessing game since Sarri didn’t really give many hints as to who might be rested and who could make another start after Wednesday night’s loss.
So I’m just gonna go ahead and guess this: We’ll see one of these guys play against Roma on Saturday night. Maybe two of them. Maybe all three for that matter. That would be cool.
When: Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, 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
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); Premier Player 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); Sky Italia Go (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.