It took six weeks, but we can finally look at a Juventus performance say “Now that ... that was good, Really, really good.” The victory over reigning Champions League winners Chelsea not only put Juventus atop of its group, but gave Max Allegri us an early-season signature win in a big game. And it’s not like Juve hasn’t had big games already this season.
So, now, it’s the game after the latest big game.
And it just so happens there’s another big game on the horizon.
It’s not the Champions League or against one of the best teams in Europe — or even Serie A, for that matter — but after an emotional roller coaster Wednesday there is bound to be more of the same come Saturday night.
The season’s first edition of the Derby della Mole is almost upon us, with big brother facing little brother at the stadium that Juventus used to call home. It is a game, one that almost always have a close scoreline no matter what kind of form either of the two teams are in, that will either continue the good times coming out of the Chelsea win or leave a rather sour feeling heading into the second international break of the season. With the situation Juventus is in when it comes to Serie A — sitting level on eight points with, you guessed it, Torino — those are really the only two options. You know what I mean, right?
- A win, which would be nice.
- Dropping points, which would come with more frustration and pain.
You know Juve played well when Allegri goes on to describe as a match that “filled me with joy.” That’s not something he says often, with an eye always toward what’s to come rather than a good Champions League result in late-September no matter how important it is at the time.
This is what the Turin derby is all about: Winning, yes, but also trying to continue the positive signs that we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks. Juventus has been good in some areas, but bad in others. Juve’s been winning, but it hasn’t necessarily been the overwhelming success against mid-table teams that you might hope for. Torino is, just like Sampdoria was last weekend, sitting in the middle of the pack just like Juventus. Statistically, they’ve been better than Juve in a few areas, which is a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.
But, as we know so many times in the Derby della Mole, it’s pretty convenient to just throw out the form of the last few weeks and just hope Juventus survive it. This is Torino’s Champions League final. This is the game they circle on the calendar every single year and want to do anything possible to make sure Juventus doesn’t win it. And with fans back in the stands, you gotta think that the Torino players are going to have even more of a desire to try and beat Juventus for the first time in their last 15 meetings.
Juventus can’t afford to see that happen knowing that points are so precious these days even though we’re just now hitting the first weekend of October. And with there being some pretty big fixtures happening throughout the weekend between clubs that are above Juventus in the standings, there’s a very good chance to make a nice jump up the standings if those aforementioned games go a certain way.
No matter what, though, as the first Derby della Mole arrives, I think we can feel comfortable in saying that if Juve play anywhere close to how they did midweek against Chelsea when they make the trip across Turin this weekend, then it will be a pretty good vibe going around the club heading into the international break.
- Paulo Dybala — still out injured.
- Alvaro Morata — still out injured.
- Aaron Ramsey — still out injured.
- “Wojciech Szczesny and Giorgio Chiellini will both start tomorrow,” according to Allegri at his pre-match press conference. The rest of the starting lineup will be determined Saturday morning and be based on how players are doing fatigue-wiese.
- Allegri said that Arthur and Kaio Jorge could be on the bench for the Turin derby. Arthur returned to training earlier this week, falling right in line with his three-month timetable.
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
So I swung and completely missed midweek. It happens, it’s part of the game. (And, let’s be honest, if you thought it was going to be the two Fedes at the two forward spots, then you’re wasting your time here and need to start playing the lottery instead.)
Therefore, I will go with an easy-as-hell kind of pick. I mean it this time.
Ah, Freddie Church. You wonderful, wonderful person. You jolly fella who dribbles the ball like you want to destroy the defender(s) who is standing in front of you trying to take the ball away. He’s good, really freakin’ good — and he’s only getting better.
The difference between what Chiesa has been doing of late as compared to, say, what he was doing over the summer with the Italian national team is the simple fact of where he’s being played. Just like in Wednesday’s win over Chelsea, Chiesa is — essentially by need — playing as a striker rather than out on the wing and doing damage there.
That looks like it will continue for at least one more game with Dybala and Morata out injured.
The rumors as of this writing is that Chiesa will start with Moise Kean up front against Torino. (So, in a way, I could have just copy and pasted some of what I wrote about Kean earlier in the week, right? But I am better than that and will bring you some brand new words for you to consume.) As good as it will be to see Kean get some real playing time — and don’t you go saying that cameo appearances off the bench are the same type of deal — watching Chiesa continue to do what he’s been doing for much of the calendar year is simply fun as hell to think about.
Basically, Chiesa isn’t necessarily being spotlighted here because he’s suddenly going to be crucial to Juventus’ success. Nah, it’s been like that for months now. But he’s here because he’s so damn good already and he’s only continuing to be the go-to guy in the biggest of matches.
And while this final game before the October international break doesn’t have the same kind of headline-grabbing levels that the one that Juventus just played did, it’s still an important game Chiesa and Co. look to try and rebound after their rocky start.
When: Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021
Where: Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12 p.m. Eastern Time; 9 a.m. Pacific Time.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport ESPN (United Kingdom).
Online/mobile: Paramount+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); BTSport.com, BT Sport App (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.