We’re down to the final 90 minutes of the 2022-23 season, folks.
For a lot of us, the date “Sunday, June 4, 2023” has been a day that we’ve been waiting weeks for to finally arrive. With the way that this season has played out for Juventus, it’s very much the kind of campaign in which we’ve wanted things to be over weeks ago — and for good reason.
This season has not been easy no matter if you’re a player, coach or even a supporter. It’s an emotional roller coaster that seems, at least for the most part, to have reached its apex with the summer months now right around the corner. There are still tough times to come, surely, because of what’s going on at the club, but we’re at least 90 minutes of game time away from putting this season to bed.
But to say goodbye to the 2022-23 season, Juventus must first make the trip to Udine to face a Udinese side that is finishing things out in almost as bad of form as the bianconeri brethren. The two teams have combined to lose their last five games, and it’s not like either side have had a whole lot going for them before that. Yet, at the same time, Juventus can actually still get into one of Serie A’s two Europa League places with a win and some help from either Monza or Spezia, who play Atalanta and Roma, respectively.
That is the result of losing the last two games to Empoli and then AC Milan.
If Juventus wants any chance of finishing in the top six and qualifying for the Europa League — until, you know, UEFA probably bans them for a season or two anyways — then they need to win and see one of Atalanta and Roma drop points. It’s that’s simple.
But a week after Juve essentially no-showed against Empoli and then Milan, they now need to go out and get the job done away from home against Udinese.
Whether they can do it ... well, that’s just another matter entirely.
That’s mainly because of what we’ve seen the last two times Juventus has taken the field. After the loss to Milan last Sunday, Max Allegri said that his team’s season was basically over after the Europa League loss to Sevilla. Their tanks have been on empty for basically two games now and he’s not sure what else the team can give.
Now, after a week off in between games, who knows if that’s still the case. Maybe, just maybe, after six days of just training, there’s something actually there in their legs, something there when it comes to the motivation to get one last win this season and, hopefully, the ability to get three last points on the board before this summer of uncertainty can get underway.
At this point in time, the style points don’t matter. It’s about trying to get the win and hoping that there’s some help along the way to get into the top six and then turning things over to UEFA to see what’s coming down the pike. Udinese are limping to the finish line and haven’t been all that great — at all — since the beginning of April.
On paper, that should mean a Juventus win. But we have come to know that this team, especially when fighting an uphill battle, doesn’t always make what’s true on paper a reality out on the field. Maybe they can prove logic to be right one last time in the 2022-23 season.
If not ... well, then at least the season is going to be over with come around 11 p.m. in Udine on Sunday night.
- Paul Pogba was not called up due to injury.
- Nicolo Fagioli was not called up due to injury.
- Dusan Vlahovic was not called up due to injury.
- Bremer was not called up due to injury.
- Mattia De Sciglio was not called up due to injury.
- Also not called up: Matias Soulé (national team duty) and Kaio Jorge (forever injured).
- The same three Juve Next Gen players who have been called up the last few matchdays — Tommaso Barbieri, Alessandro Riccio and Alessandro Sersanti — have again been included in the traveling squad to Udine.
- Max Allegri didn’t share too much in terms of how the team is going to line up against Udinese, instead talking in general terms about how the squad has done and how he believes next season will be different.
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
We don’t know who’s starting up front against Udinese on Sunday night. But with Vlahovic out due to injury, we know that it’s going to be one of these two guys.
Therefore, we shall talk about them.
It’s either going to be Arek Milik or Moise Kean pairing with Angel Di Maria or Federico Chiesa up front. Maybe at other points in the season that would sound like a good thing. But when you consider how hard Di Maria has fallen off and how much the second half of the season has been a struggle for somebody like Milik. Heck, even Chiesa is far from his best as he looks to close out a season of frustration after coming back from knee surgery.
Knowing just how much of a complete unknown Juve’s defense is going to be on Sunday night — predicted lineups are suggesting we are going to get both Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani against Udinese — you got to imagine that there could very well be the need for more than just a single goal in this one.
And if there is, then somebody in a Juventus jersey will need to find the back of the net — preferably one of the guys who’s paid to do just that.
We pretty much know what the future holds for Di Maria at this point. But for somebody like Milik looked like a lock to see his option to buy picked up until a few weeks ago, this has turned into a summer that could have some uncertainty attached to it.
No matter if it’s Kean or Milik, Di Maria or Chiesa, Juve need to score on Sunday night if they want any chance of finishing in the top six. Let’s just hope that they can do just that.
When: Sunday, June 4, 2023.
Where: Dacia Arena, Udine, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe, 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 3 p.m. Eastern time, 12 p.m. Pacific time.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport 5 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport 252, Sky Sport 4K (Italy).
Online/Streaming: Paramount+ (United States); fuboTV Canada (Canada); 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.