Sometimes when you're right, you pat yourself on the back when it goes your way. But when you get it right and it turns out to be the opposite of what you actually wanted to happen, it's a bittersweet kind of feeling. It's kinda like "Yay me! Dammit everything else!" or something along those lines.
So, with that being said, I take you back to the Roma-Juventus preview and the first point I made in the world-famous "WHAT TO WATCH FOR' section of the post:
Any kind of post-Celtic hangover. The last time Juventus recorded a 3-0 win in the Champions League (against Chelsea) and then had a rivalry game in Serie A, the second didn't go as well as the first. Let's just say the objective is to not repeat anything close to that tomorrow night. The trouble for some teams is getting up physically and mentally for a huge game, coming down from that high of success, and then trying to do a quick turnaround for another important game just a few days later.
Yeah, about that.
Saturday's 1-0 loss was everything we feared after the dramatic win over Celtic in Glasgow four days prior.Juventus looked sluggish. Juventus looked tired. Juventus just looked flat out drained. And that's understandable considering what they just went through a few days ago — but they also knew that quick turnarounds is something they'd have to get used to this year competing on multiple fronts.
It wasn't that Roma was all that dominant, either. They were certainly a much different team defensively Saturday than they had been all season long — amazing what you can do when you get rid of a coach who doesn't know a lick about how to teach defense — but it was more Juve laying a complete egg rather than Roman excellence.
And that's what makes it such a terrible performance.
It wasn't like Juventus got bossed around by their opposition. It wasn't like Juventus got out-coached because of a genius plan by the opposing manager. Roma were disciplined and organized defensively and deserved to get all three points on the night. But Juventus were just flat out drained both physically and mentally — something that is directly related to what took place mid-week against Celtic. It's just that simple.
"I already said before the Fiorentina game that we certainly didn't like playing three games in seven days. We were bound to pay for that with fatigue and one more day would've helped us rest and reorganize. This is the only excuse I can give for today, as we did not play as a team and when we do that anyone can beat us.
"Compliments to Roma, it was a good victory. This is a new Roma, so we didn't have much to go on in preparing for them. I wish I'd had more information, as we could've done better.
"We have regrets that there was not one more day to prepare and recover our fitness levels. I hope in the future when the fixture lists are drawn up there can be a little more respect for a club that is taking Italy forward in Europe."
The defeat marks the first time since the 2003-2004 campaign that Roma have beaten Juventus at the Olimpico.
Buffon: 7 - San Gigi was busy against Celtic on Tuesday, but not many of those saves were really all that challenging for a player of his stature. Against Roma, it was a different story. Buffon had to make a couple of big stops — including one from point-blank range on Osvaldo in the second half — to keep Juve in the game. If he wasn't the Man of the Match for Juventus, Buffon is certainly right up there.
Barzagli: 6 - He might not have been an absolute colossus like in games past, but I don't think Barzagli had a relatively bad game against Roma. He had a couple of huge stops early on in the game.
Bonucci 5.5 - Out of anybody, Bonucci's rating was the toughest to figure out. On one point, his distribution wasn't all that great and as good as it usually is, then you see he completed 95 percent of his passes and reconsider everything. I don't know, maybe this 5.5 is just about right when it comes to Bonucci. I'm still scratching my head about it.
Caceres: 7 - Out of the back three defenders, the high-socked Uruguayan was clearly the best of the bunch. He has really grown into his role as a defender on the left side even though it isn't his natural spot. He had the task of getting matched up with Lamela a good number of the time, who is very athletic in his own right. Caceres did well with just about everything that came his way. I hope that whenever Giorgio Chiellini does come back Caceres is still in the starting lineup a good number of the time.
"I didn't like the game. We weren't in full form and when you find yourself in that situation, you make a lot of mistakes. I don't know if we were tired, we mustn't find excuses. They're not required when you wear this shirt. We'll now work during the week and try and work out where we went wrong."
Lichtsteiner: 5 - Of all the players who were fatigued, the Swiss Express might have shown it the most. His crossing was woeful, his usual bombing up and down the right flank wasn't there. He was completely ineffective. One has to wonder why Antonio Conte didn't turn to somebody like Mauricio Isla to liven things up a bit to begin the game or as a sub.
Vidal: 5 - For how good he was against Celtic, it was the opposite for Vidal on Saturday. Never got into it and it showed. There weren't the usual length runs forward. There weren't many of the classic tackles Vidal is become so well known for. Much like the rest of the team, just a tired performance.
Pirlo: 5.5 - When Andrea leads your team in tackles, is that really a good thing? Obviously not. Who knows how much of Pirlo's struggles had to do with the lol yellow card tackle by Francesco Totti, but it just wasn't the usual Pirlo against Roma. Seeing how much all the midfielders struggled, it's certainly fatigue playing a big role. But man, you have to think getting studs right on your knee cap on top of being drained didn't help at all.
Pogba: 5.5 - In his last start, it took the 19-year-old Frenchman a whole chunk of the game to really get going. Against Roma, we waited and waited and Pogba just never turned the switch on.
Asamoah 5.5 - It wasn't the return many hoped for when Conte said that Asamoah would be making his return to the squad this weekend. Looked as tired as everybody else, so we shall now blame AFCON for all his struggles! Either way, Asamoah basically had the same kind of ineffective game as Lichtsteiner did on the opposite flank. So much for that grand return to the starting XI.
Vucinic: 4.5 - For the second straight game, Vucinic was pretty much invisible during his stint on the field. It's almost like there's no middle ground with him — it's either hot or absolutely cold. It's frustrating to watch. It's something that makes depending on him like Juve have even that much more tough to swallow. The defining stats: Vucinic had three times as many turnovers (3) than shots taken (1) and completed 56 percent of his passes, according to WhoScored. Oof. Big Game Mirko forgot to get off the bus.
Matri: 5.5 - And so the goal streak ends at four games. It was fun while it lasted, kids. Back to your regularly scheduled programming. Or maybe not. Not only was Matri offside more times (5) than Roma as a whole (4), but he just didn't receive the same kind of support he has the past couple of weeks. He'd make a 20-yard run with the ball...and then get double-teamed because he had nobody to pass it to. Since he's been playing so much lately, maybe a weekend off against Siena would do him some good.
Giovinco: 5 - I could write about how I thought Seba would give the team a spark off the bench. I really could — and I almost did. But I think this gif just sums up his night — and the entire game for that matter.
Padoin: 5.5 - His biggest contribution was knocking the ball into the path of Totti on his goal. Again, why not throw on Isla when Juventus clearly needed a jolt on offense?
Anelka: s/v - Brought on for his Serie A debut as Juve switched to a 4-3-3. The formational change probably came too late, and Anelka wouldn't have been my choice. (Hi, Quags. I miss you.)
Conte: 5.5 - I understand playing basically the same lineup from the Celtic win because it worked so well and got the job done. And it isn't un-Conte-like to stick with the guys who got you there in the first place. But if Juventus were as fatigued as they showed and Conte let on in his post-game interviews, why not rotate the starting lineup? Sure, hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but you had to figure knew his squad was tired just because of the recent fixtures against Fiorentina and Celtic. It just seems odd that if the squad is tired and the coach knows, everybody just stands pat and continues to roll with the same squad.
THINGS I THINK I THINK
1. According to WhoScored, Juventus didn't complete a single cross against Roma. So, why are we playing with wing-backs again if nobody can deliver a successful one?
2. Don't get me wrong, Totti scored one hell of a goal. But I'm still trying to figure out how going studs up into Pirlo's knee is just a yellow card. It's been called before, why not now?
3. I'm glad Juventus have a week off. Rest up. It's gonna be needed. A lot, a lot.