Something dawned on me right after I wrote the headline to this post. It’s the very notion that I sat, probably in the same spot that I am now typing out this sentence, and probably wrote about the Juventus women having a big month ahead of them to close out the calendar year.
Let’s check things out, OK?
Yep, we’ve been here before. Twelve months ago.
But the gist of that article is very much true for this one as well: Juventus Women is about to embark on a month of December that is hugely important. And as much as last season’s month of December was important, this one might be even taken up a level or two knowing how the first half of Serie A Femminile fixtures have gone and what the league table looks like.
There are important stretches to come in 2023. But this one to close out 2022? Yeah, it will play a rather large part in just how often they’ll be playing in one competition come the new year.
Just like I did last year —why break from a formula that works, right? — let’s just go ahead and list what’s on the docket for the Juve women in December:
- Saturday, Dec. 3: Juventus Women at Inter (Serie A)
- Wednesday, Dec. 7: Juventus Women at Arsenal (Women’s Champions League)
- Sunday, Dec. 11: Juventus Women at Roma (Serie A)
- Thursday, Dec. 15: Juventus Women vs. Zurich (Women’s Champions League)
- Wednesday, Dec. 21: Juventus Women at Lyon (Women’s Champions League)
There are a few things that you will notice right off the bat when it comes to those five fixtures listed above.
The first is that Juve’s Women’s Champions League fate will be determined within a two-week stretch. The second, and it’s a very important one as well, is that only one of those five fixtures will be played in Turin when Juve host Zurich on Dec. 15. Big games are always going to be tough, but when almost every one of those are not in Turin — and, in Juve’s case when they play in Europe, not at Allianz Stadium — it’s just another wrinkle added to the challenge at hand.
Also this: the first of these big December games has already happened. (Blame this post being a little later than originally planned due to other things happening around Juventus.) And the hope is that Juventus can play like they did in last in the 2-0 Derby d’Italia win over Inter on an absolutely terrible field in Milan due to a ton of rain. Juve’s two goal scorers, Barbara Bonansea and Arianna Caruso, are two of the many big-name players that the Bianconere will need to deliver the most during this big stretch.
And it’s a stretch that starts with Arsenal in London. At the Emirates. Under the lights.
Did we mention that Juve playing in London will be a reunion of sorts for Joe Montemurro? You know, since he joined Juventus Women all of a handful of weeks after leaving Arsenal in the summer of 2021.
There are lots of storylines heading into Wednesday night’s Women’s Champions League showdown between the two teams that currently sit in first and second in Group C. But the biggest one — and this is no offense to Joe, his lovely scarf that he will certainly be wearing or anything else associated with what I’ve mentioned in the last couple of sentences — is that Juventus is very much in a position to get into the knockout rounds for a second straight season. And this is the kind of match that could either solidify things or, with Lyon playing the worst team in the group, make things even more interesting before the trip to France. (And the good thing is that Arsenal and Lyon obviously have another game against one another, too, so there’s one more chance for silliness to happen like the first time around.)
But as much as this is about the Women’s Champions League, December is also about big domestic fixtures, too — something that, like we said, has already taken place but is about to get even more important come the weekend.
With the caveat that the way the Scudetto is decided a little different than previous iterations with the schedule being broken up into two phases, there’s also a big-time meeting with Roma this weekend. The same Roma side that has been without a doubt the most consistent team in the league so far this season, and their six-point lead over Juve is very much proof of that. But the lead that Roma has in the league is also a reflection on just how all over the place Juve’s league form has been. While the performances in the Women’s Champions League have been quite solid, Juve’s league form has been a little more sporadic. They’ve dropped points against (in order) Inter, Sassuolo and most recently Como, which has all of one win to its name.
Sure, Juventus are probably the only team that can probably catch Roma during the second half of Phase 1 of the 2022-23 season, but a head-to-head matchup is a pretty good way to measure where you’re at and if catching down who’s in first place is actually possible.
Juve has that chance this weekend in a big game that sandwiched in between two very big European games.
It all equates to the a pre-Christmas run of games that has a lot on the line. And for a club that prides itself on winning, living up to that mantra will certainly come in handy over the next couple of weeks.