We are down to the final 270 or so minutes before Juventus players and their families head off to their various vacation destinations and get some much-needed rest before the second half of the 2021-22 season arrives come the new year.
Those three opponents over the course of those 270 or minutes — Venezia, Bologna and finally Cagliari — are currently sitting in 16th, ninth and 18th in the Serie A standings.
That is what you call the chance to finish the calendar year strong.
That first chance comes tonight against Venezia in Venice, with one of Serie A’s newbies very much cooling off after an eventful start to the brand new season. Venezia, who have wins over Fiorentina and Roma under their belts, have struggled mightily in recent weeks, with their sometimes-open style of play coming back to bite them in the backside. And with Juventus again expected to go with the 4-2-3-1 that has been in the past two league fixtures — should we count the win over Malmo, too? I still don’t know what that formation actually was officially — then there could be more than a few goals scored.
Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully.
In recent weeks, Juventus manager Max Allegri has been quite honest and upfront about his feelings of how his squad has been performing in front of goal. They’ve been winning, sure, but they’re far from having an attack that is firing on all cylinders or anything really close to it. They are creating scoring chances, but they are not finishing a lot of said scoring chances, thus creating some frustration on Allegri’s part — which you can totally understand as to why he’s feeling the way he currently is.
These next three opponents don’t have anything close to what you would consider a good defense — especially Venezia over the last few weeks. That means Juve’s attack has the really good opportunity to get right heading into the holiday break — which, as you might expect, is rather important knowing who is on the schedule right out of the gate in January.
Maybe this is the kind of game where Juventus can score a couple of goals before halftime, add another in the second half and then legitimately cruise to the finish line. Or, it could very well be a game where they have to grind out a result. You never know.
But at least we know that the soft spot in the schedule rolls on, and another three points better be at the end of this 90 minutes regardless of how many goals are being scored.
When: Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
Where: Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, Venice, 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.
Juventus starting XI (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, de Ligt, Pellegrini; Locatelli, Rabiot; Cuadrado, Dybala, Bernardeschi; Morata.
Juventus bench: Perin, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Rugani, De Winter, Bentancur, Miretti, Kean, Kaio Jorge, Soulé.
Venezia starting XI (4-3-3): Romero; Ebuehi, Caldara, Modolo, Haps; Ampadu, Busio, Crnigoj; Aramu, Henry, Johnsen.
HOW TO WATCH
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