We’ve officially seen what Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus can do against Serie A opposition. That Serie A opposition wasn’t all that great, and Sampdoria’s own manager thought that the 3-0 scoreline in Turin last Sunday should have been worse than it actually ended up being.
And now the competition level is about to go up a step or two.
The next two Sundays will teach us a lot about Pirlo’s Juventus. The catch is that every time they take the field we are going to be learning about Pirlo’s Juventus simply because we can still count will all of one single finger how many games Pirlo has actually coached Juventus, so the sample size is still so incredibly small. And it will still be a small sample size after the next two weekends, but the fact that Juventus will have played two of the better teams Serie A has to offer will give us the chance to see how much early season progress Pirlo’s Juventus has made.
The first of those two big Sundays before the first international break of the season arrives this weekend, with Juventus making their first trip to Rome to face a Roma side that is going through some interesting times under new ownership. And it just so happens that said Roma side is the same Roma side that Juventus went shopping this summer, trying to sign the capital club’s captain, 34-year-old striker Edin Dzeko, just a few short days ago. That deal never happened, as we know, with Napoli and Roma failing to agree to a fee for Arkadiusz Milik, the first domino that needed to fall that would have freed Dzeko up to join Juventus.
Quite the interesting night in store, don’t you think?
Regardless of the transfer storylines or what might have been if Juve ended up with Dzeko rather than Morata, the big thing everybody wants to see — especially those of us who visit this blog on a daily basis — is what Pirlo can whip up for an encore after that impressive debut. For one weekend, at the very least, Pirlo made Juventus fun to watch again after we grinded through game after game after game during Maurizio Sarri’s 12 months in charge. It was a much-welcomed change for the better — not just because Juventus won with room to spare against the kind of team they struggled to beat a season ago, but for the simple fact that Pirlo’s Juventus has a vision and that played out right in front of us.
The thing with Pirlo being so green as a manager is that his evaluations will be literally done on a week-to-week basis. Not that Sarri’s weren’t, either, but this is a completely different situation with a completely different kind of manager when it comes to experience. We will see just how much Pirlo is able to mold this team each week, and that will be the thing that determines how his foundation is built. We knew Sarri wanted Sarriball — and that was that. With Pirlo, there is the kind of optimism about flexibility, about new-ish ideas and just the simple fact that things are already turning for the better — yes, small sample size and all — as the games start to get important.
Yes, they’re important even it’s the second weekend of the season.
That’s because Roma, when clicking, are a solid team. Maybe not in the current iteration with arguably their best player out with another major knee injury, their manager on the hot seat — say, who could be potentially replacing him ... — and yet another squad that seems to be in some sort of transition, but Roma hasn’t exactly been an easy team to beat over the years.
But with the way we saw Juventus play seven days ago, that was rarely seen over the previous 12 months under the man who Pirlo replaced. It was one week, but it was an impressive week. It was one game, but it was an impressive game. You don’t want to get carried away, but it’s hard not to think one simple thing:
If Juventus can replicate what they did against Sampdoria again ... then the next few weeks are going to be fun as hell.
Either way, this edition of Juventus is currently unbeaten under its new manager and I very much would like it to stay that way. Same goes for you.
- As of Wednesday, Paulo Dybala has been training with the rest of his teammates. As a result, He has been called up for the trip to Rome. I don’t know about you guys, but that seems like some good news to me.
- Juventus has a new No. 9 and his name is Álvaro Morata. You might have heard of him. As a result, he has been called up for the trip to Rome.
- Matthijs de Ligt is about two months away from being 100 percent healthy.
- Federico Bernardeschi is out until after the international break next month due to injury.
- Same goes for Alex Sandro, whose injury absence has led to the chance for Gianluca Frabotta to show what he can do. Frabotta is expected to start against Roma on Sunday night just like he did in the season opener against Sampdoria seven days earlier.
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
Sunday night was the best performance in a No. 8 shirt since Claudio Marchisio was gracing Allianz Stadium’s field. And, when it comes to Marchisio wearing the No. 8 shirt, we know that playing well in it is something that we became rather accustomed to over the years.
Therefore, you can probably guess who the next 400 or so words will be dedicated to.
Aaron Ramsey is coming off his best game as a Juventus player. There is no denying that, and anybody who says otherwise should be kicked off the internet for the rest of time. (Maybe.) Ramsey was that good against Sampdoria, and a completely different player as compared to the one that we saw under Sarri outside of a very small handful of games during the 2019-20 season. You want the picture boy for who Pirlo’s appointment as manager has benefited through the very, very early stages, and Ramsey is right there leading the way.
Now, just like Pirlo as manager, we await to see what Ramsey can do for an encore.
We know Ramsey has the talent to be a contributor at Juventus. It’s just the same thing that has hampered him his career — consistency, in large part due to injuries. Well, he looked damn healthy last weekend. He looked mobile and energetic. He was contributing to just about everything you can think of ... and then some. Like we joked on the podcast earlier this week, if you had Aaron freakin’ Ramsey leading Juventus in tackles with SIX, you’re a damn good betting person and I would like you to invest some of my money.
Pirlo’s vision of what the playmaking midfielder can do in his 3-4-1-2/3-5-2 hybrid clearly plays right into Ramsey’s hands. The proof of it was in how things went during the Sampdoria game. And if this is going to be something that we get to see on a regular basis, then Juve’s midfield — one that we’ve said a lot of bad things about over the last two or three years — now suddenly shifts into a much prettier kind of vision.
If this is the new Ramsey, who is much different than the old Ramsey of last season ... whoa boy. I would be OK with all of that.
I think a lot of people who might not of thought so highly of Ramsey’s position at Juventus prior to last weekend would be, too.
When: Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, 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: RAI Italia North America (United States); RAI Italia North America, TLN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport Serie A (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); 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.