As Juventus and Roma get set to face one another, so much of the talk will be centered around the two men who will filling out the starting lineups Sunday night. There’s Max Allegri, there’s Jose Mourinho and between the both of them are two very accomplished managerial careers and two of the biggest names in Italy at this very moment.
But, when it comes to zooming out from focusing on just two men who, while very important to their respective team’s success, there’s a very real fact looking us right in the face.
Juventus is getting closer and closer to the time in the season when you actually do start to care about where your team is sitting in the Serie A standings, And with Sunday night’s showdown with Roma in Turin, Juve is about to begin a stretch fo seven games in all of 21 games. It’s a daunting stretch that will see them travel to Russia in the Champions League and face more than just one or two teams that are currently above them in the Serie A standings before the next international break arrives come early-November.
Before Juventus can get to the Derby d’Italia against Inter next weekend or even getting on a plane for the trip to Russia all of 48 hours from now, Juve’s got to face a Roma squad that, with their new manager leading the way, started the 2021-22 season in a whole lot better shape than the Bianconeri have.
Sure, Juventus went into the October international break in a whole lot better standing than Max Allegri’s squad came out of the September break. The relegation is no longer in sight, and the slow climb back up the table after Juve’s horrendous start has officially been put into motion now that they’ve actually been able to string a few wins together in a row.
But those opponents, the likes of Sampdoria and Torino, aren’t on the same level as Roma, which has probably started as well as anybody expected them to under Mourinho’s watch.
Simply by form over the last handful of games, one might think that Juventus is entering as the more in-form side. Juve’s unbeaten in its last four Serie A matches, while Roma has lost two over the same amount of time and six goals in those two losses.
The thing is, trying to predict Juventus — especially this season — is so incredibly tough. It’s like trying to figure out just when Allegri might have all of his players back to full health again. Just when you think it might happen, something comes up that prevents it from taking place.
Basically, Juve has one hell of a way to see if it can keep the pre-international break vibes going. And if they do, considering just how important the next three weeks are, then it’s going to get them that much closer to the rest of the pack following such a tough start to the new season and Allegri’s second stint as manager.
By the way, as much as we might be worrying about the calendar over the next few weeks and just how congested the schedule is over the next couple of weeks, Max Allegri would like to address that certain elephant in the room. (Hint: He’s not worried about it.)
Allegri: “It is useless to argue about the calendar: all matches must be faced with serenity. When there are problems, solutions must be found.”#JuveRoma
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 16, 2021
(Having some serenity right now does seem like a good idea. Thanks for that suggestion, Max. You’ve always got some good ideas on how to approach things.)
- Paulo Dybala is, unfortunately, still out injured.
- Alvaro Morata trained with the group on Saturday as he works his way back from his own injury issues. He could very well be included in the match day squad, according to Goal Italia’s Romeo Agresti.
- According to Allegri, Morata is ahead of Dybala in terms of the rehabilitation process, with the latter still at least a week away from returning to the field.
- Adrien Rabiot is out after testing positive for COVID-19 during the international break.
- Danilo and Alex Sandro reportedly made their way back to Europe Friday night following their international commitments with Brazil. At least one of them is expected to start.
- Allegri said that he will decide Sunday morning what his starting lineup will be considering that so many of his players have come back from international duty at different times and in different kinds of shape health-wise.
- Allegri said that Matthijs de Ligt “should play” against Roma. When it came to any hints about who might start alongside the Dutchman, Allegri threw out a very Allegri answer: “the others are fine, too.” (Thanks, Max!)
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
We went into the international break talking about a Fede in this space of the match preview. And dagnabbit, we’re going to do the same thing once again coming out of the international break.
Although, it might not be the Fede that you’re expecting.
We’re going to be talking about the other Fede. You know, the one who isn’t worth upwards of €100 million these days.
Oh, Berna. That’s a sassy kind of reaction to your inclusion here. We shall power through regardless of what you think about it.
Throughout the week, Bernardeschi has been the one who the Italian press thinks will fill in on the left wing now than Rabiot is out for at least the next week due to his positive COVID-19 diagnosis. But, because of Juventus’ still-present lack of depth at striker, you never know for sure if Max Allegri is going to just go with somebody like Moise Kean up front or throw us another curveball like he did before the international break.
Ah, the ways of Allegri.
Now, with the limited options both in attack and out on the wings, the likelihood of Bernardeschi seems rather high from the outside looking in. Of course Allegri will play it coy when it comes to discussing his starting lineup plans because that’s just the way he’s always been. Allegri made sure to say plenty of nice things about Bernardeschi during his pre-match conference, which tells you that he’s still very much part of Max’s plans.
We just don’t know where.
Either way, with Juventus’ attack still very much in the makeshift mode, Juve’s going to need something out of Bernardeschi. And that might be more the case if somebody like Mattia De Sciglio starts on the left side of Juve’s defense because Alex Sandro isn’t deemed fit enough to play following his long journey back from Brazil.
Or maybe we’ll get Striker Berna — which, surely, would make this place’s collective head explode once again.
Either way, Bernardeschi’s probably going to play. And no matter where he does play, Juve’s going to need something out of him simply because there aren’t many other options to turn to at the moment.
When: Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy and across 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: TLN (Canada); BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom).
Online/mobile: Paramount+ (United States); BTSport.com, BT Sport App (United Kingdom); DAZN (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.Internet Explorer Channel Network