What the hell was that, ragazzi?
Well, that was painful. I didn't want to write this game review immediately after the game and don't feel like it now either. I mean, could that have been a more brutal game to watch? It was almost like watching a training scrimmage between Carrarese and Barletta during pre-season in August. Pretty horrendous football. And to think people paid tickets for that! Now there's an injustice.
The result is what it is - Juventus comes up short against a Parma team that was there for the taking and drops 2 more points to make it 1 out of possible 6 in the first two Serie A games of 2013. No, this won't be a 2,000-word rant about how we're about to lose the Scudetto because of the last two games. It's way to early to start going down that route and I certainly don't consider myself a drama queen. But it is a bit alarming that we've failed to play with the recognizable Juventus style that brought all the plaudits in 2012. Were we tired on Sunday? Yeah, but we also had some fresh legs on the field that played as horribly as anyone.
Were we complacent? I don't see how we could've been since we just LOST our previous Serie A game, at home at that. So what happened? Well, we just failed to show up on the day with our usual intensity and we were made to pay for it. A couple key injuries/missing players plus the on-field players' inability to step up made it a game we'll look back on and regret not winning. For what it's worth, Parma did their best to look as bad or worse than we did. It's really up to the lads and the coach now to ensure this kind of play does not become a trend. Which we all know they can and hopefully will do. In the meantime, we'll quickly recap this game and get on with our lives. Doesn't that just get you pumped to read the rest of this article? (Please do...)
Sloppy. Tired. Bad technique. Terrible touches. Off passing.
That's what characterized most of the game for both Juventus and Parma. Somewhere in between during those 90 minutes were sprinkled moments of decent link ups and defensive errors that allowed for a few good chances on both sides. Only one was converted, and with a very good finish at that, by Sansone in the 77 minute to equalize for Parma. Before him, Andrea Pirlo had made it 1-0 from a free kick that looked to be going wide but took a deflection off of Biabany and caught Mirante wrong-footed.
If you look at the stats, Juventus had 18 shots, 9 of which were on target. Not too shabby, right? Wrong. 14 of those 18 shots were tame attempts from outside the box aimed straight at Mirante who had a good training session by the time the game was over.
Buffon: 6.5 - Since Parma scored on the counter, you cannot really blame him for the goal. Other than that, he had a decent game though did look a bit shaky at times, just as the rest of our defense did as well. Can thank Lichtsteiner for a goal-saving block in the first half.
Barzagli: 6.5 - An uncharacteristically tame game from Andrea. He didn't look his usual self and stumbled not only a couple passes but a few tackles as well. Had a couple good interceptions that could've led to dangerous Parma attacks.
Bonucci: 7 - A bit of a mixed performance by Leonardo. In a few occasions he looked confused and failed to clear or tackle the ball when he's usually dependable, though he did make a potentially goal-saving block and had at least one key tackle that I can remember. In attack, most of his long passes were once again very accurate which helped us shift pressure from midfield straight in the attacking third. If only we had someone there to take advantage of all that.
Caceres: 6.5 - Didn't really do anything that stood out other than the fact that he played with the most energy out of all 3 defenders on the night. Got beat by Sansone on the goal but the error was really in midfield and he was just made to pay for it defensively. Sometimes Parma players running at him caused him problems and he gave up a bit too much space for my liking.
Lichtsteiner: 6.5 - A disappointing performance from Stephan along the right flank. Granted we focused our attacks more down the left-hand side (for some odd reason), Lichtsteiner had a couple opportunities where he could've taken a good shot or set up a striker for a tap in but failed to make them count.
Vidal: 7.5 - If Pirlo hadn't scored the goal I would've given Vidal the man of match. He was a true warrior on the field as usual, but the absence of Marchisio really made his effort and contribution apparent in defense. Offensively he wasn't looking for runs or cuts nearly as much as he can, really wish he did.
Pirlo: 7.5 - Most of Juventus' possession that we didn't give away within 2 seconds of obtaining was spent with the ball at Pirlo's feet. He controlled the game with his play that's for sure, though we once again sorely missed a player of Vucinic' ability to aid him in creating attacks through the middle (insert sarcastic joke on Mirko making the mistake for the equalizing goal). This led Andrea to attempt a lot of long balls though, most of which found their targets, just a bit too slow at times. Either way, the man looked tired yet still knocked in a free kick goal to give us the lead. I'll take it.
Pogba: 6.5 - Started the game very lazy and his passing and defending was lackadaisical to say the least. Improved as the game and really played a more physically dominant second half with his tackling. Found space late on to make more of an impact offensively but couldn't help Juventus get the winning goal.
Padoin: 6 - A bit of a surprise on that left flank, Simone is certainly becoming a shitty jack-of-all-trades-master-at-none type of player for Conte. A 6 may be harsh given that he really played with a lot of energy, but he gave the ball away often and made no real difference in any part of the game. Would've loved to see the still-young-and-promising-prospect-at-26 De Ceglie there from the start.
Quagliarella: 6.5 - Had an EASY chance to score that came to him fortuitously but hit his shot straight at the on-rushing Mirante. Other than that, it was another game of tame shots on goal, failed attempts at the spectacular, and plenty examples of his inability to guard the ball for a pass. At least he had some shots on goal unlike...
Giovinco: 6.5 - ...our little Giovinco! Sebastian spent 90 minutes on the pitch at Ennio Tardini without attempting a single shot, even off target. He tried to be more of a playmaker, which was evident in the beginning of the game, but really had a game to forget by the end of it.
Vucinic: 6.5 - Apparently Conte yelled at him to leave the ball - a mistake which led to Parma's equalizing goal. Whatever, he should be better than that and make a better decision himself given his position on the field (right in the middle of the pitch leaving our defense exposed). In the 20 minutes he played, he did show how easier our side plays when he is able to be the connection between midfield and attack but it wasn't anything revolutionary from the Montenegrin. Failed to be the spark from the bench he was midweek against Milan.
De Ceglie: sv
Conte: 6.5 - Playing Parma away is not an easy task in Italy this year, and Conte wasn't able to overcome that. Made some questionable calls (Padoin on the left, telling Mirko to do the dummy), and then had the guts to say he saw a good performance from his side that deserved the win. I know he's the ultimate leader but c'mon man, what game was he watching?