There are 15 points left out there for the taking. With where things stand entering today’s game against Udinese, Juventus is in desperate need of every single one of those 15 points, and they could go a long way in helping Andrea Pirlo and Co. avoid absolute disaster in a couple of weeks.
But they have to actually get there first.
So it goes. So it goes — over and over again.
And as we know from this season, doing the logical (and easiest) thing can’t always be applied to Pirlo and this team. Instead, they put out performances like we saw against Fiorentina last weekend and so many times before it against teams that are either mid- or bottom-of-the-table quality opposition. Today’s opponent, Udinese, certainly falls into that kind of classification and description. They’re only a few points ahead of Fiorentina, sitting in 11th place and their status in Serie A for next season pretty much locked up at this point in time.
Juventus, meanwhile, aren’t sitting in a Champions League spot after Saturday night’s action. Milan’s 2-0 win over Benevento saw them jump over Juventus, Napoli and Atalanta and into second place. By the time Juventus takes the field today, they will already know if how the teams in front of them have done, with Atalanta and Napoli playing during the 3 p.m. window in Italy. (There’s also the added twist that Inter Milan can clinch the Scudetto if Atalanta drops points against Sassuolo, so that’s fun, right?)
So the trip to Udine is a lot like the one to Florence last weekend. Juventus need to win. They need to win regardless of how the teams in front of them do. And they need to win especially if there’s any points dropped in front of them earlier in the day Sunday.
Now we have to see if they can not play like crap in the first half and actually not have to rely on a moment or two of brilliance to bail themselves out of an early-game hole.
Easier said than done, but sometimes this team just doesn’t do anything easy — at all.
When: Sunday, May 2, 2021
Where: Dacia Arena, Udine, 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 (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Bentancur, McKennie, Bernardeschi; Dybala, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Dragusin, Chiellini, Arthur, Rabiot, Ramsey, Vrioni, Felix Correia, Kulusevski, Morata
Udinese starting XI (3-5-1-1): Scuffet; Becao, Nuytinck, Bonifazi; N Molina, De Paul, Walace, Arslan, Stryger-Larsen; Pereyra; Okaka
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport 251, Sky Sport Serie A (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); Sky Go Italia (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.