With just 6 league matches remaining, it’s easy to think that these are all dead rubber, but try telling that to the Fiorentina fans who will travel to face the hated Juventus. In 177 meetings, the good guys hold a record of W39 D56 L82. Over their last 10 clashes, the Viola have won 1, drawn 1, and lost the other 8. It is worth remembering that a certain Vinnie’s trademark win was the 4-2 against the evildoers, though, so at least there’s that.
The referee for this one is 36-year-old Fabrizio Pasqua of Tivoli. In 17 league matches this season, he’s handed out 57 yellow cards, 3 red cards, and 2 penalties. Fiorentina are W1 D2 L1 under his watch. We most recently saw him in the 1-1 draw against Torino (which he allowed to get extremely physical in midfield).
The match will be played on Saturday, 20 April 2019, at 4:00 PM GMT at the Allianz Arena in Turin. The forecast predicts a lovely spring day: some clouds to keep the sun from getting too warm, but still the right weather for a light sweater. Neither wind nor rain should affect the play.
Sure, they’re going to win Serie A again, but let’s all take a moment to laugh at these dingleberries who’ve done nothing but embarrass themselves with Cristiano Ronaldo and Moise Keane this year only to get wiped out by Ajax in the Champions League quarterfinals in their own stadium despite claiming that this was their big year. No, take a bit longer to chuckle and enjoy their downfall. It’s beautiful and we love it. Anyways, a win here means that the Juvenuts will mathematically clinch another scudetto (yawn), so they should be fairly motivated unless the Champions League hangover proves even worse than any of us have reason to hope.
Anyways, manager Max Allegri has quite a few injuries to deal with: GK Mattia Perin (shoulder), CB Giorgio Chiellini (calf), and CB Martín Cáceres (leg), while RW Douglas Costa and CF Paulo Dybala may also be too dinged up. We might see some squad rotation, meaning that guys like João Cancelo, Rodrigo Betancur, Sami Khedira, and Keane will start. Let’s not kid ourselves, though: a rotated Juve is much stronger than the best Fiorentina can run out there on any given day.
Allegri will doubtless go with his usual 4-3-3. We all know what to expect from Newcastle Junior at this point: dominance in the middle to create space on the wings, ceaseless pressure, lots of crosses for Ronaldo, some refereeing shenanigans, Leonardo Bonucci doing racism against his own dang teammate, yadda yadda yadda.
Last week’s goalless draw against Bologna showed a bit of promise for Fiorentina, who actually attempted to keep the ball a bit, but it ultimately kept them on track for a record-setting 19 draws in the league. Especially with the Coppa Italia leg against Atalanta in Bergamo, which represents the only chance this side has of reaching the Europa League, don’t be surprised if there’s a bit of squad rotation. Then again, this is a game against the club’s most hated opponent, who could clinch the scudetto with a win, so it could be pretty gung ho as well.
New manager Vincenzo Montella thus has some choices to make. Fortunately, he’s got his whole squad available. We’d expect him to go with the 3-5-2 he used against Bologna, which featured Federico Chiesa at wingback (!), but Gerson or Brian Dabo could feature in that spot as well to allow Fede to play higher up the pitch.
The best way to beat Juventus is to be a Dutch team full of teenagers. Failing that, keeping the ball and playing positively clearly takes the villains out of their element, leaving them feeble and helpless. It’s probably too much to expect that from a team that’s spent all but the past 10 days of the past 2 years to suddenly morph into a total football machine, but a bit of attacking intent would go a long way towards reassuring the fans that this new project is worth supporting.
How to watch
TV: Several outlets are carrying this one, including RAI. Check the full international listings here.
Online: Here is your list of safe, reliable, and legal streams.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
I’m guessing that we’ll all hate Juventus (and probably Mazzoleni) with every fiber of our beings at the end of this one. Which will be as much as we’ve always hated that team full of jerks.