So Juventus arrived, trained a ton, and left the United States with the same amount of wins in the International Champions Cup they had went they departed Italy. That's not exactly how any of us drew things up. Even when its preseason, nobody really likes to lose — let alone when your manager is Antonio Conte. But facts are facts and that is what happened during Juve's journey to the U.S.
What went wrong? What went right? How much are we overreacting to Juventus going 0-for-3 during their trip to the United States? Ya know, simple questions and hopefully some simple answers.
THE BAD: Things didn't exactly go as planned
Being considered the eighth-place team in a tournament that had eight teams participating in it is nothing to write home about. (Thanks, Captain Obvious!) The defense didn't look very good. Neither did the midfield as they constantly misplaced passes. Juventus looked every bit of the team that is still trying to get in the swing of things during preseason training.
Then again, we have this gem from Il Mister:
Amazing Conte in La Stampa - "When my president asks me to win the International Champions Cup, I'll change the way we prepare accordingly."— Mike Mac (@mikemacaroni) August 7, 2013
THE GOOD: It's only the beginning of August and Antonio Conte has plenty of time to correct what's wrong
Conte has essentially ran the squad into the ground during this preseason. Not that it's any kind of breaking news. He's basically the modern day drill sargent — even with a hat from time to time to complete the ensemble. The squad was tired and showed us exactly why they play friendlies this time of year. And on top of that, we basically know that the problems that Juve had the past three games will be fixed. Why? Because there's no way that Conte would allow them to continue when the games mean something in the Serie A table.
THE BAD: Fernando Llorente is still shaking the rust off
Apparently it's not exactly easy to get going again after basically not playing for an entire year. Who knew.
Other than a few glimpses against Everton in the tournament opener, it wasn't the best of showings for the 28-year-old Spaniard. He looked exactly like the way you'd expected somebody who hadn't played much at all in the past 12 months — rusty. I, too, am of the same thinking as Conte, who says that Llorente will be back to who he really is once he gets past the grueling test that has been the past month of preseason training. And to be honest, it was never going to be easy for him to get right back to his best after basically not playing for a year. That's just the reality of his situation.
THE GOOD: The Carlos Tevez-Mirko Vucinic showed some promise
While Llorente struggled for the most part, Juventus' other summer striker signing looked like he's adapting well despite openly admitting Conte has run him harder than anybody else since he left Argentina. Although, some statistics may say otherwise. And when Tevez was on the field with Vucinic, there was at least some kind of potential brewing between the two creativity-oriented strikers. Of all the combinations that Juventus rolled out there during the International Champions Cup, it's pretty easy to point to the Vucinic-Tevez partnership was the best one going. Not that the bar was set especially high considering how the others played, but that's not really the point.
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: If it is Vucinic starting alongside Tevez for the Supercoppa next weekend in Rome, it wouldn't be all that much of a surprise at all based on the fact there's already a solid understanding between the two of them.
THE BAD: Andrea Barzagli's health problems from over the summer may still be an issue
Let's just put the emphasis on "may," guys. There's been no official word out of the Juventus camp in regards to Barzagli's health. That might be because they're waiting to get back to Vinovo to put him through the rigor of tests you'd expect when there could be an injury, or it's because there might actually be nothing wrong. But considering the fact he was hampered by an Achilles injury leading up to international duty with Italy at the Confederations Cup and had to come off after only 23 minutes against the Los Angeles Galaxy, there could very well be something up and we just haven't been informed of it yet.
THE GOOD: Martin Caceres is still on this team
We've known for a couple years now that everybody's favorite high-socked Uruguayan is good at what he does. But the opportunities haven't exactly come at the same kind of frequency as he certainly deserves. But let's say Barzagli is injured for any kind of period of time past the Supercoppa — which is entirely possible considering the fact he's played so few minutes — Caceres should be the first person called upon to fill the void. If he plays anywhere close to how he did at Dodger Stadium against the Galaxy, things will be quite alright.