It is difficult to find much enthusiasm, let alone excitement for this final episode of what has proven one of the most underwhelming seasons I can remember. And yet there is a hint of expectation. Of what exactly, I am unsure, other than some vague sense of wanting it all to end, not just the league campaign, but the off field issues which remain unresolved and numerous.
Will Pirlo remain? Will Cl qualification prove enough to keep him in a job? Have the club sounded out other managers?
Will Paratici remain? Are there moves already underway? If Paratici and Pirlo are to be replaced are their successors already involved in planning the hugely important mercato?
Will Ronaldo remain? Are there any clubs who want him and could afford to pay any fee we might get and whatever wages he will demand?
Will we be banned from the CL, even if we qualify?
The game itself is of staggering weight. With anything but a victory unlikely to help us achieve the golden fleece of CL qualification. If we fail, we will lose the expected guaranteed income of 50-80m. We will also struggle to attract players, as the best players seek to play in the premier continental competition. The financial loss will assuredly have consequences for our current squad. The wage bill, already astronomical, will need to be further cut. Sales will be required, they already are. And some of the players may well opt to move to clubs who can offer them the platform they assumed would always be available at Juve, and their talents deserve.
Bologna are missing their key creator in chief Soriano, which often makes them toothless, alongside 4 others likely in contention for a starting berth. Whilst we have often slipped up against teams weaker than our opponents tonight, I do not envisage anything but a victory. For the players must be very aware indeed that their own futures in Turin are in the balance. I imagine this played a part in the solid showing against Atalanta. Finally it dawned on the squad that their reputations, their contracts, their futures, their lives in Turin are in jeopardy. I presume the same will be felt in the expected intensity, playing on the front foot for 90 minutes, against Bologna.
Bentancur is suspended, and many reports lean towards Arthur getting the nod to come in, though my latest check has McKennie. With Sandro available, we should see Danilo revert to RB and Juan in his natural role in front of him at RM. Chiesa will man the opposite flank, with Ronaldo up top partnered perhaps by Kulu, after his superb showing in the coppa final. It is remarkable to ponder that finally, in the last game of the season, we may see 10/11 players in their natural roles…with only Kulu operating outside of his RWF specialist realm.
Between the sticks, Tek will return, and De Ligt will be partnered by Chiellini.
It is more than enough quality to ease to victory, despite the pressure. With the focus of juventini more likely to be found in Bergamo, where AC Milan can secure their own CL qualification with a victory. Napoli are also pivotal, just a point ahead of us as are the rossoneri, and they host Verona. I have a niggling suspicion they may struggle, even lose. Yet the likelihood is that Atalanta seem the more certain of the three above us to win.
Lacking eagerness to get into the complex possibilities of a three way tie on points, I will try to paint it simple>
If we win, Ac win, Napoli win – we finish 5th.
If we win, AC or Napoli lose or draw, we finish 3rd or 4th.
The tiebreaks? Calculate head to heads on goals scored, yet I believe in a 3 way tiebreak, we somehow come out winners. I may be wrong.