Simply by the nature of the time of the schedule in which it is occurring, Lazio’s trip to Turin this season is coming under very different circumstances than the last one back in May.
That time, there was very much nothing to play for on Juve’s end of the equation in the 2021-22 season finale, with who the Bianconeri was saying farewell to dominating the story coming out of things.
This time around, as Lazio come to Turin in the middle of November, things are very, very different.
Juventus enters Sunday night’s finale for the 2022 calendar year in fourth place. That is thanks to the five-game winning streak that they’ve been able to put together over the last few weeks. That might not have been all that possible a few weeks ago, but combined with the fact that teams in front of Juventus have actually been dropping points, you’ve got a situation where Max Allegri’s squad is probably back in the top four earlier than many expected.
And that Lazio team we mentioned? Well it just so happens that they’re two points in front of Juventus entering Sunday night’s game.
At worst, Juve could finish 2022 alone in third place. That’s the worst-case scenario if the five-game winning streak is extended to six. The best case? Well, that’s maybe jumping up into second place with a win and AC Milan dropping points for a second straight weekend. (Milan play a somewhat resurgent Fiorentina team, so that might not be the impossible task it was viewed as a couple of weeks ago.)
But when it comes to Juventus, this is as simple as it gets: just continue doing what you’re doing because the winning recipe has been there the last few weeks.
Could the overall performance level be better? Of course. Nobody wants to see a repeat of what Juventus pretty much couldn’t do against the worst team in the league earlier this week. That performance sucked and to see a replication of said performance against Lazio will probably mean an end to the current winning streak.
Lazio has been the kind of side you would expect from a team that is now in its second season under Maurizio Sarri. They’ve got one of the best attacks in the league even with Ciro Immobile missing time due to injury. They’ve got the second best defense behind, you might still find it odd to hear, Max Allegri’s Juventus.
And there is no doubting that the best defense numbers-wise in Serie A will get a challenge this weekend and for the last time in 2022. (Yes, the same Lazio team that lost to Salernitana a couple of weeks ago, I know, but they’ve also got some very good wins this season, too.)
With so much time in between this fixture and the next one, it’s pretty crucial for Juventus to go into the World Cup break feeling good about things and they stand. And if that means Juve is going to be be sitting in third or even second place, then that’s what needs to get done with Lazio’s latest visit to Turin.
We know this: there’s a whole lot riding on this game against Lazio compared to the last one.
- After missing Thursday night’s game due to some minor knee pain, Federico Chiesa will be back in the squad for Lazio’s trip to Turin, confirmed Max Allegri.
- The list of players who are definitely out for the final match of 2022 is as follows: Paul Pogba, Kaio Jorge, Dusan Vlahovic, Mattia De Sciglio, Samuel Iling-Junior and Marley Aké.
- Vlahovic, by the way, was called up to Serbia’s World Cup squad despite his current groin injury. (And thus the wonderful timing that this World Cup is giving us when it comes to players risking things right before they head to Qatar.)
- Allegri said he still has to make a final call on Manuel Locatelli and Juan Cuadrado, who are both dealing with minor muscle issues coming out of Thursday night’s win.
- Allegri said he still isn’t sure how much playing time he will give Angel Di Maria against Lazio. (Translation: Di Maria probably doesn’t have a starter’s amount of minutes in his legs once again.)
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
We’ve focused on players in Juventus’ midfield quite a bit over the last few weeks. So, with one last game to go before a large portion of the roster heads to Qatar, let’s do something other than talk about the midfield again, shall we? Let’s talk about this guy for a minute ...
No, that’s not Arek Milik counting how many touches he had in the first half against Hellas Verona. But, if we’re being honest, he’s not too far enough because this past Thursday night was definitely one of those nights for the man who has been leading Juventus’ line in the absence of Dusan Vlahovic.
In 90 minutes against Hellas, Milik finished with 39 touches. He attempted one shot. He lost possession seven times. Not the best night in terms of counting stats, right?
But so much of Milik’s impact has been more than just stats. For some, that’s not exactly the kind of thing you want from your No. 9, but Milik is still making his presence felt in recent weeks despite the fact that he hasn’t scored against Serie A opposition since Oct. 2 against Bologna.
At the same time, it would be nice to see him score a goal going into the World Cup break, wouldn’t it?
With a midfield trio that seems to have found some sort of rhythm and Filip Kostic always going to be a threat with his crossing because that’s just how he rolls, hopefully it means a little more proactive play than what we saw against Hellas Verona a few days ago. Of course, we say that all of the time whenever Juve has the kind of performance they had just three days ago, but there’s also that carrot of what they did in the second half against Inter being dangled in front of us. I would much prefer that. And a goal from Milik, too.
When: Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022.
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe, 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 2:45 p.m. Eastern time, 11:45 a.m. Pacific time.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom).
Online/Streaming: Paramount+ (United States); fuboTV Canada (Canada); BT Sport app, BTSport.com (United Kingdom); DAZN, 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.