Today is Leonardo Bonucci’s 35th birthday. It is, in all likelihood, one of the last birthdays that he celebrates as a Juventus player before he hangs up his boots in a few years and begins the next phase of his life, be it involved in football or not.
Now, you don’t want to make Leo angry on his birthday, do you?
Well, the way to prevent that is for Juventus to go out and, as we have outlined plenty of times before over the last couple of months, not drop points against a team they have no business dropping points against. In this case, Juve welcome the bottom dwellers of Serie A, 20th-place Venezia, to Allianz Stadium for a lunchtime kickoff affair. On top of it being Bonucci’s birthday and one of the final home games in Paulo Dybala’s Juventus career, it’s potential one step closer to locking up a top four spot for Max Allegri’s squad.
That main objective.
Besides making Bonucci angry on his birthday, of course.
There’s the matter of wrapping up a top four finish as soon as possible. And with this visit by Venezia to Turin being the first of back-to-back fixtures against teams in the relegation zone, there’s no better chance to get it done in an as-soon-as-possible mindset than right now.
With all the injuries that Allegri is again dealing with this afternoon, who knows just what we’re in for when it comes to how Juventus is going to play or how good they’re actually going to look. But, like we’ve been saying for weeks now when it comes to the race for the top four, it’s the three points that matter with style points a clear second.
Once Juventus gets the top four out of the way — preferably before Juve faces Inter in the Coppa Italia final later this month — then we can talk style points. Or something other than hoping this team qualifies for the Champions League next season.
Because even entertaining the thought of throwing away this kind of advantage over the rest of the pack with so few games to go will certainly make Leo Bonucci grumpy on his birthday ... and beyond.
When: Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 12:30 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe, 11:30 a.m. in the United Kingdom, 6:30 a.m. Eastern time, 3:30 a.m. Pacific time.
Juventus starting XI (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci , de Ligt, Pellegrini; Bernardeschi, Zakaria, Miretti, Rabiot; Vlahovic, Morata.
Juventus bench: Perin, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Rugani, Arthur, Dybala, Kean, Aké.
Venezia starting XI (4-3-3): Mäenpää; Mateju, Caldara, Ceccaroni, Haps; Crnigoj, Vacca, Ampadu; Aramu, Henry, Cuisance.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport 251, Sky Sport Calcio, Sky Sport 4K (Italy).
Streaming: Paramount+ (United States); BTSport.com, BT Sport app (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.