When Juventus first played Benevento this season, they were one of the true feel-good stories in Serie A. They weren’t just hanging tough, they were right in the thick of the middle of the table, punching well above their weight as a club that was just in Serie B a few months earlier. Pippo Inzaghi was the talk of the league with the job he was doing and how well Benevento were playing despite their limited resources as one of Serie A’s newcomers.
That was in the final days of November.
As we reach the end of March, that situation is much, much different.
Weeks have gone by since Super Pippo and Benevento have last felt that winning feeling. Months, in fact, if you want to be more accurate. Benevento hasn’t just slowed down after its impressive start to the season, they’ve come to an absolutely grinding halt. Benevento, Juventus’ opposition this afternoon, have not won a game since Jan. 6. That was 74 days ago — a stretch of 2 1⁄2 months where we’ve seen plenty of stuff happen both good and bad involving the Italian champions.
So now they meet again — one team trying to hold on to any kind of lasting Scudetto aspirations, the other just trying to hold on to their place in Serie A for another season.
Those are two very different situations indeed.
But come this afternoon at Allianz Stadium, avoiding what happened the first time these two teams played one another — you know, the whole dropping points against teams that it shouldn’t be happening against — will be the key thing hanging above all of this.
With Milan struggling and Inter off for the weekend as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak at the club, Juventus has a chance to both get into second place and trim the deficit in Serie A to single digits again. Who knows what will happen when teams return from the international break in two weeks, but for now, Juventus has a favorable matchup against an extremely out-of-form side and the two teams in front of them have very big issues to currently resolve.
Maybe Juve can get back into this thing with a win.
That sure would be a nice way to go into an international break where most players won’t have much time to rest regardless of it being considered a “break.”
When: Sunday, March 21, 2021
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
Official kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 10 a.m. Eastern Time; 7 a.m. Pacific Time (Remember, if you’re in the U.S., this is the second Sunday of Daylight Saving Time, which hasn’t happened in Italy.)
Juventus starting XI (4-4-2/3-5-2): Szczesny; Danilo, de Ligt, Bonucci, Bernardeschi; Kulusevski, Arthur, Rabiot, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Di Pardo, Dragusin, Frabotta, McKennie, Bentancur, Fagioli
Benevento starting XI (3-5-2): Montipò; Tuia, Caldirola, Barba; Foulon, Hetemaj, Viola, Ionita, Improta; Gaich, Lapadula
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Sport 252 (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Sky Go Italia, NOW TV (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.