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Juventus vs. Salernitana match preview: Time, TV schedule, and how to watch the Coppa Italia

It’s Juve’s first game of 2024 and it just so happens to be in a competition that is not the usual Serie A schedule.

Juventus v Salernitana - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

It’s been the theme of the Coppa Italia ever since Juventus got out of the Dark Ages nearly a decade and a half ago. It’s a luxury — especially in a season like this one where there’s no midweek fixtures for the first four months of the new campaign. They can focus on the league and solely the league, and that’s it.

But then, you flip the calendar over to the new year and ... hello, Coppa Italia. We meet again.

The Coppa Italia Round of 16 is where Juventus has jumped into the fray once again this season. And it just so happens to come against one of the two Serie A teams that has an Inzaghi on the sidelines — this one being Pippo, not the one managing the only team ahead of Juve — but also sits at the bottom of the league table. The twist in all of this is that Juventus’ midweek Coppa Italia opponent on Thursday night at Allianz Stadium will be the same team they face three days later as they play their 19th and final game of the andanta this season. It’s probably what would be considered the second true quirk of the 2023-24 schedule. You know, the whole playing on three straight Friday nights was probably the first one and something I can’t remember happening but definitely something we can blame on the Serie A media rights deal and everything that comes with it.

But the simple fact that Juventus and Salernitana are playing twice within the span of four days comes under two very different kinds of circumstances. That’s basically because it’s not like these are back-to-back matchups in the league, of course. But what you would expect Thursday night is there to be a Juventus side that is rotated as much as Max Allegri possibly can even with injuries limiting his depth options. That could also mean somebody like Hans Nicolussi Caviglia or Samuel Iling-Junior — more on of those guys in a few minutes — gets some minutes against the team he was playing for back in the springtime. And, of course, somebody like Mattia Perin will see his first minutes in goal in many, many weeks.

Juventus now, officially, plays in a competition other than the domestic league, at a point where significant squad rotation is still a possibility. As is the norm, that’s not usually the case once you’ve advanced far enough to face another one of the big clubs. But against somebody like Salernitana — and then Juventus B Frosinone if they are to advance like we expected them to — you would expect a starting lineup to look quite different than the one that beat Roma over the weekend in the final game of the 2023 calendar year.

No matter what Allegri said at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, the fact that Juve are playing just their second midweek fixture of the 2023-24 season and are having a flashback to the spring when they were on that Thursday-Sunday grind because of the run to the Europa League semifinals, it surely means that back-to-back games against the worst team in Serie A gives him the chance to set things up for the weekend.

Salernitana and Pippo Inzaghi do enter Thursday night’s tie with a little bit of win in their sails after beating Hellas Verona over the weekend, giving them their first win in over a month and just their third win on the season. The game before that was a 2-2 draw with AC Milan, so it’s not like they’re in total shambles as they make their way to Turin.

But at the same time, they’re also a team that didn’t have a league win to their name until that Nov. 25 victory over Maurizio Sarri and Lazio. (Brutal!) They’re the team with the worst defense in Serie A, having already allowed 36 (!!) goals in their first 18 games. They’re the second-worst attack in the league, trailing only Empoli and their 10 (!!) goals scored. Their goal differential of minus-21, as you can probably guess, is the worst in the league.

So, yeah, outside of those last few results, things have gone very, very poorly for Salernitana and they’re hoping that the not-as-successful Inzaghi brother can get them out of it somehow before it’s too late and the hole at the bottom of the table is too deep to get out of as winter turns to spring.

No matter what the starting lineup looks both Thursday and then on Sunday, the theme for Allegri and Juventus is pretty simple: Just don’t mess anything up. Take care of business in the Coppa Italia, then do the same three days later against Salernitana in the league. The last thing Juve need to do is to derail a potential Coppa run before it really even starts or drop points against the last-place team in the league this weekend because of their own struggles.

Thursday night is just like it is at every stage of the Coppa Italia — rotate the squad, get the win and then move onto the next round. Juve already knows who is there waiting for them in the quarterfinals. Now, against a true bottom dweller, it’s about getting there.

TEAM NEWS

  • The two suspended players are still the two suspended players: Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli.
  • The three injured players are still the three injured players: Mattia De Sciglio, Moise Kean and Alex Sandro.
  • Allegri said the following players will start against Salernitana on Thursday: Mattia Perin, Daniele Rugani and Federico Chiesa. The first two aren’t a surprise because that’s typical Coppa Italia rotation, but Chiesa’s name may suggest Allegri’s plans for Sunday’s game against Salernitana in Salerno.
  • Allegri said that Kenan Yildiz, who has started the last two games, “won’t play” on Thursday night. We’re wait and see if that means he just won’t start or won’t play in its entirety.
  • One final note on the starting lineup: Allegri said that he “certainly send the best possible team out there tomorrow.” Squad rotation TBA an hour before kickoff, methinks.
  • When it comes to recent rumors that Fabio Miretti might be sent out on loan this month, Allegri was quick to shoot them all down, saying the 20-year-old is “certainly staying here.”

JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH

Raise your hand if it looks like you’re going to be in line for your first start of the season ...

Genoa CFC v Juventus - Serie A TIM Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Based on the history of this competition, if squad rotation is the name of the game in Juve’s first few Coppa Italia matchups before the semifinals arrive, then Samuel Iling-Junior is going to be somebody who benefits from said squad rotation. Filip Kostic has, current state of his form aside, started 14 of Juventus’ 18 games so far this season. And you know what? He deserves a rest.

Filip, kick your feet up for the day, hang out with Dusan on the bench unless you’re absolutely needed and just chill. This is the kind of opportunity that the Coppa Italia provides.

So, Thursday is a night for Iling-Junior — who has been the subject of a number of rumors regarding his future in Turin — to get a crack at his first start of the season.

That is something we might not have expected to take place all the way in the first week of January. Especially when you think about some of the performances that Iling-Junior had late in the season back during the spring.

Yet, as we look at how things have gone in the first 18 games of the 2023-24 campaign, he’s played a grand total of ... 183 minutes. Much of those minutes have come in the last couple of weeks, with appearance in back-back-to-back weekends against Genoa, Frosinone and then Roma.

If he is indeed in the starting lineup on Thursday night like many think he will be, this will be his best chance to try and force the issue a little bit if he is actually staying at Juventus beyond the winter transfer window. Kostic’s form is what it is and he is the kind of player who Allegri plays no matter what kind of form he’s in at the time, but seeing Iling-Junior get more playing time could be something that helps himself, the team and gives Allegri an option to maybe not trot Kostic out every time another Serie A opponent shows up on the schedule.

MATCH INFO

When: Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024.

Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.

Official kickoff time: 9 p.m. in Italy and the Central European time zone, 8 p.m. in the United Kingdom, 3 p.m. Eastern time, 12 p.m. Pacific time.

HOW TO WATCH

Television: Viaplay Sports 2 (United Kingdom); Canale 5 (Italy).

Online/Streaming: Paramount+ (United States); fuboTV Canada (Canada); Viaplay UK (United Kingdom); Mediaset Infinity (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.