ALBERTO'S WEEKLY COLUMN - WEEK 20

Well well well Juventini...are we ready for a critical Sunday matchup with all to play for? As anticipated, when I’ve been preparing everyone for the bumpy ride and getting ready to have this battle go down to the wire, here we are. A critical string of matches in determining our fate and a Coppa Italia final was on tap since my last column and I was ready for whatever would happen. I only wanted one thing: for us to fight. To show the spirit and passion I grew up watching and what made me fall in love with this club. To share some of the words of our legend Gigi Buffon... I saw a Juventus I liked, a working-class team that wanted to win.


With the victory against Sassuolo behind us and still being upset about the showing against AC Milan, we had to prepare for a match against Inter, with a Coppa Italia match on the horizon. The feelings amongst Juventini going into the final stretch of matches weren’t the most positive as we lost the head-to-head advantage that we held over Milan and we would have to win the remaining three games and consistency has not been a word to describe this seasons team, unfortunately. Then you look at the next squad up with some familiar faces in Beppe Marotta and Antonio Conte, having already taken away our Scudetto streak, there was no doubt they would love to seal our fate outside of the Champions League and we’re going to come out firing. This one was one of the wildest Derby D’Italia’s in a while. The guys fought and Pirlo opted for Kulusevski to shadow Brozovic which worked well but in the end, this one was highlighted by a referee and VAR combo that kept compensating for one call after another. In the end, the guys pulled through with a pk from Cuadrado. In the end truthfully I didn’t care how, I just wanted that win and was happy to take it any way we could. While always nice to beat either of the Milan clubs but this one especially, I couldn’t help but still feel the sting of that dud put up against Milan as we still needed help to get that Champions League spot and the scenarios started running wild through my head.

I absolutely hate relying on anyone other than our own club but I love Juventus and would watch these other matches hoping for another lifeline. One would not come through the Napoli match as they pulled through against Fiorentina ( who I had little to no hope of getting assistance from ) but there was another in the Milan vs Cagliari match, shockingly the Sardinians put up a great defensive display and the match finished level at zero apiece. Now, heading into the final weekend there are two possibilities that could help us. Now if Milan or Napoli don’t get maximum points and Juve wins we would enter the top 4. First, however, we must face Atalanta in the Coppa Italia final.


With so much uncertainty surrounding Juventus and an incredible run of nine straight Scudetti coming to an end this Coppa Italia final became more than it probably would’ve been to Juventini previously. Everyone looking for some positives for the players to move forward within not only the final match of the season this weekend but next season as well. The lineup hit and Pirlo had made a big decision to play the young Kulusevski over Morata and Dybala. A big call made by the rookie manager and the Swede rewarded him by putting in a solid performance finishing with a goal and an assist and seeing Juventus add their 19th trophy over the past decade, a truly remarkable accomplishment. In a season riddled with frustration, it was fantastic to see the team hoist this trophy. For Pirlo, the passion came through and the connection with these players was on full display and the manager received a great birthday gift from his players. For the old guard, one more trophy for Buffon and Chiellini with Juve. Buffon has already announced his departure and it is rumored that Chiellini will do the same at the season's end. Watching these two celebrate another Coppa Italia was great and last but certainly, not least this trophy was big for the young players on the team, getting the goals through Kulusevski and Chiesa will give them a major boost moving forward with Juventus. That boost will hopefully be evident this Sunday.

The season finale has come and our Champions League fate will be decided. These young guns will most likely get that opportunity to ride that wave into this one as well, not surprising either really to see the rumors swirling that Kulusevski will be getting the nod up top again. I personally can’t help but wonder if Pirlo had the benefit of being able to ride the hot hands through the season if things would’ve been different because there were many matches that our lineup was pre-determined strictly due to availability. However, the handcuffed lineups were still enough to get the job done so there’s a lot of mixed feelings on this one. With the rumors of possible replacements growing, there are only two who have been named that I would actually make a change for, Zidane and Allegri. If it were any of the other names listed I probably wouldn’t even get rid of Pirlo and give him a Mercato for the sake of trying to create some stability but the struggles this season start to swirl in my mind. It isn’t an easy spot for the club to be in but they out there and they need to get this decision right and we need to start building properly. Where we stand at the table will possibly paint a clearer picture of what’s going to take place as early as Monday morning as well. So, let’s see what happens this Sunday, again I hope and expect to see the Juve I fell in love with, the working class Juve who will fight until the bitter end. If they do this I will be fine no matter the outcome.


As always Forza Juve Fino Alla Fine!

Enjoy the match Juventini and we will talk soon.


Alberto


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