There will likely be a couple of reasons to cheer no matter what the result of this afternoon’s matchup between Juventus and Monza at Allianz Stadium.
The hope is that Juve winning is another one added onto that.
As Juve manager Max Allegri noted in his pre-match conference, it is this game against Monza — the second against the Lombardi side in less than two weeks — in which Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic will each be making their long-awaited returns to the field. They will both almost certainly be substitutes since Allegri said neither really have the legs to play from the opening whistle, but they will be back nonetheless.
For Pogba, it’s going to be the first time he’s worn the Juventus jersey in an official match since the spring of 2016 before his then-record move to Manchester United.
For Vlahovic, it will be the first time we’ve seen him in a competitive match since that oh-so-memorable Champions League debacle against Benfica. (Yeah, let’s not go there again, OK?)
But for Juventus, it will be a huge boost to have two of its best players back in the fold in some shape or form knowing how things have gone of late both on the field and off it. Juventus not only need points, but those points are needed in a hurry and in the kind of fashion in which Allegri’s squad rips off another lengthy winning streak that can see them rise up the table in the kind of manner that makes a European place somewhat possible at the very least.
If not, then this season, one that has been suddenly derailed by a 15-point penalty, will be a major disappointment no matter what Pogba and Vlahovic end up doing on the field.
When: Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe, 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 9 a.m. Eastern time, 6 a.m. Pacific time.
Juventus starting XI (3-5-1-1): Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Danilo; De Sciglio, Fagioli, Paredes, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Kean.
Juventus bench: Perin, Pinsoglio, Alex Sandro, Rugani, Locatelli, Pogba, Miretti, Vlahović, Milik, Soulé, Iling-Junior.
Monza starting XI (3-4-2-1): Di Gregorio; Izzo, Pablo Mari, Caldirola; Ciurria, Machin, Rovella, Carlos Augusto; Pessina, Caprari; Mota Carvalho.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: TLN (Canada); BT Sport 1, BT Sport Ultimate (United Kingdom).
Online/Streaming: Paramount+ (United States); fuboTV Canada (Canada); BT Sport app, BTSport.com (United Kingdom); DAZN, Sky Go Italia (Italy).
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