We’ve officially entered the final week of the 2021-22 season, folks. Juventus has two matches over this final seven-day stretch, the first coming Monday night against old buddy Maurizio Sarri and Lazio at Allianz Stadium. In every other situation, this match would mean absolutely nothing. Seriously, it wouldn’t mean a damn thing.
Why do I say that?
Well, let’s see here.
- Juventus has already wrapped up a top four finish.
- Catching Napoli and jumping into third place is no longer possible with Napoli’s win over the weekend, meaning any lingering hope of Juventus finishing anywhere higher than third has been officially thrown out the window.
- Juve’s coming off an incredibly bad loss in the Coppa Italia final last Wednesday night, which means we’re going to be sitting here with no trophy to talk about for the first time in a decade.
- Honestly, doesn’t this sound like a team just seeing out the string of its remaining games? Yes, yes it does — and that could very much be applied to Juventus following the loss to Inter in the Coppa Italia final.
But come Monday night in Turin, there is something that matters and something that could be the reason why Juventus plays like it gives a damn and wants to do something actually worth remembering in its final home game of the 2021-22 campaign, one that can’t end soon enough for some of us. (Or, based on what Juve did or didn’t do Wednesday night, pretty much all of us.)
This game will be the last time we see Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus’ captain since 2018, play at Allianz Stadium ever. This will also be the last time we see Paulo Dybala, the vice captain behind Chiellini the last couple of years thanks to Leo Bonucci heading to Milan for a year, playing at Allianz Stadium as a Juventus player. It’s a day in which the theme will be the farewell to two very important players over the last decade while the thought of the holes they leave only naturally creeping into our minds a as a result.
That is why this match is important for Juventus. That’s really the only two reasons as to why this match has any value to Juventus. (OK, so a third might be to get to see Fabio Miretti play against his toughest Serie A opponent yet, so go ahead and make it three. I won’t disagree with you there.)
For Lazio, though, this is an important trip to Turin.
Sarri’s side enters Monday night’s match two points ahead of Roma in fifth place, which means any sort of positive result will pretty much shore up a Europa League spot for Lazio. (And that’s a pretty amazing thing considering how the first few months of the season went for Sarri on the field and off, with plenty of controversial moments and reported clashes with players and management alike.) Lazio’s form lately has seen them win, but not exactly against quality opposition, with the only opponent set to play European football next season, league leaders AC Milan, beating Lazio 2-1 a couple of weeks ago.
Maybe that means something and Juventus could fall victim to a hungry Lazio side wanting to wrap up its European status for next season and not risk any silliness taking place on the final day of the season.
But when it comes to Juventus, we know what the two main things involve, and that is trying to send Dybala and especially Chiellini out on a good note. They’re owed that much even if this season as a whole has been a complete disappointment from Juventus.
- The long-term injury absences haven’t changed: Federico Chiesa, Weston McKennie and Kaio Jorge. For whatever it is worth, all three were in the stands for Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia final. (And having a good time for at least part of the game.)
- Juventus manager Max Allegri said that McKennie could be back with the group in full by the middle of next week and be available for Juventus’ season finale against Fiorentina.
- Danilo is out for the rest of the season, per Allegri.
- Artrhur is also out for the rest of the season, per Allegri.
- Denis Zakaria is out after picking up a knock in training this week, per Allegri.
- Fabio Miretti will play against Lazio, per Allegri.
JUVENTUS PLAYERS TO WATCH
I mean, this game means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
The thing is, it also means quite a lot in terms of sentimental value for these two guys.
It gets you right in the feels, man. Every single time. I did it to myself, I know, but I will continue on because that’s what I know both of these fine men would want me to do.
The above photo has a combined 2 1⁄2 decades worth of Juventus experience with it and about to head out the exit door for two very different reasons but on free transfers nonetheless. It’s the final home game for Dybala after his seven seasons with Juventus. And it’s the last home game as a Juventus player for Chiellini, who is leaving Juventus after a whopping 17 years and likely headed toward a season or two in the United States to wrap up what has been an incredibly legendary career.
They will get an incredible amount of love from the home crowd and their teammates because that is what they deserve, especially Chiellini for being such a fantastic player over the bulk of that 17 years at Juventus.
It will be an emotional day without a doubt.
And it will obviously be the highlight on a night when Juventus doesn’t have a ton of things to really play for other than pride and give Fabio Miretti another chance to play against a Serie A opponent. (And really, if I see another thing about this game against Lazio being the determining factor in a player’s status for next season, stop it. One game with very little at stake for Juventus is not going to be what sways this club’s management no matter what we think of them. Let’s be real here.)
For pretty much every match this season and seasons prior, this section has been about a player who could very well make a very big difference in Juventus winning and losing the next day. It’s been about where a player might fit in tactically and how he could be used by a certain Max Allegri (or the guy who’s coaching against Juventus on Monday night).
For this match, though, it’s all about the feels, man. Chiellini and Dybala have been huge parts of Juventus’ most dominant domestic period in the club’s history. They have won so many titles together that I don’t even feel like adding it all up right now because it’s going to take a while to do the math. They are going to be missed, but they’re also going to get one heck of a farewell on the way out.
When: Monday, May 16, 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: 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, 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.