The last time Juventus was coming off a Champions League fixture and playing a potential relegation battler was all of two weeks ago. It was first Atlético Madrid, then Sassuolo. The result was a stressful and hard-earned win in Europe and then, almost predictably, a letdown when it came to resuming the domestic schedule.
And what do you know …
That’s where we find Juventus once again today.
Well, we at least know this: After a solid Champions League win midweek against Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus is back at home in Turin and ready to face another team that will likely be spending the second half of the Serie A season trying not to fall into the bottom 3. Two weeks ago it was Sassuolo, this time it’s Udinese, which has all of 15 points through the first 15 rounds of the 2019-20 Serie A campaign.
That tells you exactly what we thought going into the Sassuolo match two weeks ago — Juventus should win, and could possibly win by a nice margin because the opposition is entering this weekend’s fixture in all kinds of inconsistent form. And, let us not forget, when it comes to goals scored on the season, only one team has scored fewer goals than Udinese’s 10 in five games … and that’s SPAL, which is currently dead last in Serie A.
So, basically, here’s the deal:
Juventus is coming off a Champions League game and playing a team they should beat. Said team that should beat is not very good and clearly struggling in one of the two major aspects of the game. (Sassuolo’s defense was a mess, while obviously Udinese’s attack is almost non-existent at times.) But the last time Juventus played a team in this kind of situation after a Champions League game, it ended up being a disappointing and mistake-filled 2-2 draw.
What ends up happening this afternoon will likely leave us feeling frustrated (like we have been for a lot of the last two months), rather indifferent or, maybe, happy with how Juventus played.
I’d like what’s behind Door No. 3 — especially since the last time this game-after-a-Champions-League-game deal happened the mood was not all that great at all.
When: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
Official kickoff time: 3 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 2 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 9 a.m. Eastern Time; 6 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Buffon; Danilo, Bonucci, Demiral, De Sciglio; Rabiot, Bentancur, Matuidi; Dybala, Higuain, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, de Ligt, Alex Sandro, Rugani, Ramsey, Emre Can, Muratore, Douglas Costa, Pjaca, Bernardeschi
Udinese starting XI (3-5-2): Musso; De Maio, Troost-Ekong, Nuytinck; Ter-Avest, Fofana, Mandragora, De Paul, Stryger-Larsen; Okaka, Lasagna