I don’t start these things with what Max Allegri says at his pre-match press conferences often, but Friday seemed to be a different kind of tone for Juventus’ manager. Allegri is known for his brutal honesty at press conferences, and this one was no different.
“The league matches for us now are all must-win, until we find the mental continuity,” Allegri said. “We have to be realistic and practical. Our matches in the league have always been open, and this is not good.”
When it’s the first weekend of November and you’re manager is calling every single remaining Serie A match a must-win affair, that shows you just how your season has gone to date. As we know, Juventus enters Saturday night’s matchup with Fiorentina in Turin on the back of back-to-back losses to Serie A opposition, the kind of week that had the team head into ritiro in the hope of not letting things spiral out of control before the upcoming international break. Juve were able to win their first game since going into ritiro when they beat Zenit St. Petersburg to clinch a spot in the Champions League Round of 16, but the focus is now solely on the fact that getting three points in Serie A has to happen.
Max said it.
We know it.
Therefore Max confirmed what we already figured was the truth.
But when you hear it — especially at this time of year and so much of the season still remaining — that’s when you know that Max has truly been thinking about it. It’s not just a line that he drops at a press conference and then it will go into the atmosphere and forgotten into a few hours. When the manager of Juventus says that each of the remaining 27 games in the Serie A season are must-win situations, that speaks to just where this team is at right now.
Both in terms of their actual form and their place in the standings. (With Friday’s results, Juventus has fallen another spot down and currently sits in 10th place ... which is not good.)
Juventus has one more game before the international break arrives, and it comes against a Fiorentina team that just so happens to be above the Bianconeri in the standings. La Viola, under their first-year manager Vincenzo Italiano, have exceeded all early-season expectations through the first 11 games of the season. Remember, Fiorentina has spent a decent chunk of the last two seasons sweating out thoughts of relegation, and the arrival of Italiano has certainly injected some much-needed energy into the club and drastically changed the way that they play.
For Juve, it’s simple: play more like you did Tuesday than you did last weekend. They were two very different kinds of performances, and the respective results speak to that. The win over Zenit saw a Juve we hadn’t gotten much of this season, and I would like to think Allegri would love to see that kind of showing again this Saturday. And if that’s the case, then Juventus could very well take some good news into the international break.
These are must-win games after all, folks. Allegri said it himself.
- Moise Kean is still out injured.
- Mattia De Sciglio is still out injured.
- Aaron Ramsey is back in training and available again. (I can hear your rejoicing from here.)
- Outside of the injuries to Kean and De Sciglio, Allegri says “I have the whole team available.”
- When asked about Juan Cuadrado, Allegri said he is “fine.”
- When asked about Leonardo Bonucci, Allegri said he is “fine.”
- Matthijs de Ligt is expected to get the start over Giorgio Chiellini in the center of Juventus’ defense. And as per usual, when bringing up his starting lineup choices, Allegri said that he would decide in the morning. (Guess it’s over a nice cup of coffee and maybe something quite tasty.)
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
Let’s see here.
There are a few different ways I could go with this. And since Juventus actually won its last game, I am in a somewhat good (yet completely stressed) mood at the moment.
Ah, right. The guy leading the charge right now. Yeah, let’s go with him.
Paulo Dybala has been very good lately. The unfortunate part is that the rest of Juventus hasn’t always been very good lately. But it’s certainly not on Dybala considering how he’s played since coming back from his injury absence. And, as you can probably guess what I’m about to say, if Juve wants to go into the international break on a good note, then Dybala will have to continue that going.
OK, so maybe he doesn’t have to record eight shots in a game like he has against both Hellas Verona and then Zenit earlier this week. But when you’re feeling it like Dybala was — especially on Tuesday night — you can’t really blame the guy for firing at will because good things have a good chance of happening.
With that being said, I would like Dybala to play well again. I would like Dybala to shoot all he wants if it means Juventus potentially scoring more goals. And I would like it if this is the start of a nice run of form for Dybala considering just how important he is to this team going forward.
Maybe this is the weight of the contract negotiations finally being lifted off his shoulders since things are now pointing toward an announcement after the international break. You know, something like a sense of pressure now gone and you’re free to play without the worry of what might happen on the days when you’re not in the black and white stripes. You can’t blame him if that’s the case considering just how long this contract negotiation has gone on for and just all of the twists and turns that have happened — both on and off the field — since they started.
No matter what, though, Juventus need Dybala to be the main man once again against this much-improved Fiorentina side that has shown it can score a good number of goals when things are clicking. Buy you know who’s clicking right now? That would be Paulo Dybala — which, I gotta say, is a pretty good thing to see again.
When: Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021.
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 1 p.m. Eastern Time; 10 a.m. Pacific Time.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport 2 (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.