It’s been a rarity this season, but there’s actually been a whole entire week in between Juventus games. Seriously. I know you are probably so used to the fact that there’s just this pattern of going from one game to the next without much room in between — and trust me, I feel ya there! — but this time has not been one of those times. The result wasn’t exactly one that you want to sit on for a week, but that’s beside the point.
Could a week off during a time in which any piece of rest is considered valuable as all hell actually prove to pay off for Juventus?
Well, I guess we are about find to find that one out.
A week after Juventus slogged through another night of dropped points against Venezia — but least the boat ride was nice! — they have made the train ride over to Emilia-Romagna to face Bologna in the second to last game of this season’s first half. There are 180 or so minutes left before players head off for the holiday break, and six very incredibly important points for Juventus to try and not throw away like they’ve done a handful of times already this season.
That is always easier said than actually done — especially with this current iteration of Juventus.
So now Juve will have to make due without their top playmaker in Paulo Dybala, their best winger in Federico Chiesa and potentially their best midfielder in Manuel Locatelli if Max Allegri deems in not fit enough to start tonight. It’s far from an ideal situation, but you could say the same exact thing about this season as a whole. As Juventus enters the 18th round of games, they’re currently sitting in seventh place and eight points behind Atalanta in fourth.
That’s something that is far from ideal. Nowhere close to even being considered a good situation. Thus the reason why these next two games are just so damn important even though the opposition is nothing special. At the very least, Juve needs to keep pace with Atalanta. And if the opposite happens, well, let’s just not think about that right now, OK?
When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.
Where: Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Bologna, 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 (4-3-3?): Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Bonucci, Pellegrini; McKennie, Arthur, Rabiot; Bernardeschi, Morata, Kean.
Juventus bench: Perin, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Alex Sandro, Rugani, De Winter, Locatelli, Bentancur, Kulusevski, Soule, Kaio Jorge.
Bologna starting XI (3-4-2-1): Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel, Theate; De Silvestri, Dominguez, Svanberg, Hickey; Soriano, Barrow; Arnautovic.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: CBS Sports Network (United States); BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom).
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.