For the first time this season, we can officially say that Juventus is now trying to win two games in a row. Seeing as we’re in the final days of September, that definitely feels a little bit weird to type out, but that’s just where we currently find ourselves in this very, very stupid start to Juventus’ 2021-22 season.
Yet, a two-game Serie A winning streak is possible.
In this season of frustration and disappointing results that have been stacked up together like they’re a beeramid at a frat party, sometimes it’s the little things we need to take before the big steps arrive — if they ever do.
So as Juventus welcomes Sampdoria to Allianz Stadium for a Sunday lunchtime kickoff, Max Allegri’s squad will be playing for that two-game winning streak becoming a reality. As we know, that first win in Serie A this season was far from a thing of beauty or anything close to it. (Well, Federico Chiesa’s game-tying goal was a thing of beauty and we will love him forever because he’s just the best.) But it was a win that many of folks are viewing as a potential turning point just because of the way in which Juve got off the mat and got the lead back rather than dropping points for a fifth straight time to begin the season.
Keyword in all of this is “potential.”
Why? Because we have absolutely no clue about if this team can do anything consistently other than drop points against completely average (or worse) teams.
Sampdoria is very much a mid-table side right now. But hey — so is Juve! In fact, a quick look at the table before the weekend’s matches got underway and you would have noticed that Juventus and Sampdoria are level on points in ... 12th place. Sure, Juventus’ stay in the relegation zone was all of a few days and now the jokes about them getting sent to Serie B are no longer applicable (for now), but thinking Allegri would be managing a team sitting in a mid-table spot after the first five games of the season is still a little hard to imagine. Like even in our worst-case scenarios that we drew up before the season kicked off, I don’t think many people would have had Juve sitting on two points after their first four games.
But then we have a Juventus team that was just able to fight back from a 2-1 deficit and get its first win of the season just a few days ago. I get that it was only Spezia and that Juve should never been in that kind of situation to begin with, but that kind of win — and, more importantly, that kind of spirit to fight back and not just fold — is something we haven’t seen a lot of over the last year or so.
Maybe this proves to be a win over Spezia that Juventus can build off of this weekend. Maybe it doesn’t. I sure as hell hope it does because this was always going to be a small patch in the schedule where getting six points in quick fashion was extremely possible despite Juve’s struggles to start the season.
Juve got the first three points. The next three points? Well, that would be nice, too.
- This will be the 400th game that Max Allegri manages in Serie A competition. That’s a lot.
- At his pre-match press conference on Saturday, Allegri confirmed the reports from earlier in the week that Mattia Perin will get the start in goal against Sampdoria.
- Arthur is still out due to injury.
- Kaio Jorge is still lout to due injury.
- Adrien Rabiot has not been called up due to an ankle injury.
- Allegri said he will decide Sunday morning as to whether it will be Alvaro Morata or Moise Kean getting the start up from against Sampdoria.
- Allegri also said that he has yet to decide if he will start Federico Bernardeschi.
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
In previous match previews, this space of the post has sometimes reserved for a player who hasn’t been playing well at all. (Namely, you know, Wojciech Szczesny after his massive blunders against Udinese and then Napoli.)
But this time around, I want to talk about somebody who has been playing well. Like so well there are plenty of people entertaining the question of if said player is BACK BACK.
Alex Sandro was so damn good his first couple of seasons with Juventus that it was almost expected that he was going to just keep that going for as long as he would be calling Turin home. And while he hasn’t been terrible the last couple of years, the form he showed during his early Juve days wasn’t the same as the kind of performances we saw most of the time in 2019 and 2020.
But over the last couple of weeks, the 30-year-old Brazilian and his perfectly sculpted haircut with a just as impressive fade has been showing serious signs of early Juventus Sandro.
And boy has that been a welcome sight.
Again, not that Sandro has been bad over the last couple of years. He’s certainly had his moments where he’s struggled and it’s made you question as to whether he should be Juve’s long-term answer on the left side of the defense. You’ve thought it plenty of times. I’ve written about it a few times in post-game threads, too. It’s happened because I can clearly remember typing those words that resemble something like “Maybe it’s time for Alex Sandro to move on.”
If he’s playing like this, though? Different story. Completely different story.
It maybe a slowly growing small sample size, but he’s easily been one of Juventus’ best players as the squad tries to work itself out of this terrible start to the season. Now, you can say that there haven’t exactly been many players that have played all that great to begin with and that’s fair, but with Sandro’s form right now it doesn’t really matter. Even if things were going a whole lot better, he would still be one of the best going right now.
And, considering the last couple of years where it’s been a sometimes-good Sandro, seeing him roll back the years to his first couple of seasons with Juventus has been great to see.
Now, all we ask for is for Sandro to keep it going. A left wing with Alex Sandro playing this way and Federico Chiesa doing Federico Chiesa things sounds pretty damn good to me.
When: Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 12:30 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 11:30 a.m. in the United Kingdom; 6:30 a.m. Eastern Time; 3:30 a.m. Pacific Time.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport 251, Sky Sport Calcio, Sky Sport 4K (Italy).
Online/mobile: Paramount+ (United States); BTSport.com, BT Sport app (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia, DAZN, 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.