It might have taken place in just the third week of the season, but the hype was that Inter-Juve Round 1 was a potential Scudetto decider. Don't blame me for that. Put the pitchforks away, people. It was other folks, not this guy.
The end result was anything but that, though. The only thing we do know is this: For the first time in a long time, Juventus may not be atop the Serie A table in some kind of fashion at the weekend's conclusion. That just doesn't sound right. Maybe there can be some results to help all of us out? Or maybe we can remind ourselves that it's only the third game of the season and just about everybody important to Juve's cause was just on international duty?
Yeah, I like that better. We'll go with that.
Goals from Mauro Icardi and Arturo Vidal within a two-minute span meant that this season's first Derby d'Italia would see both Inter and Juve share the points. So much for deciding anything, guys. Sorry to disappoint you all.
It could very well be described as a tale of two halves. Juventus weren't great in the first half, but they weren't piss-poor by any means. The second half, though, that's what allowed Inter to get the 1-0 lead on Icardi's goal moments after he came on with just over 20 minutes to go in the game. It started with a Giorgio Chiellini mistake, it ended with Inter charging down the field on a counter and putting the ball in the back of the net.
Gee, it's almost like Walter Mazzarri is Inter's manager or something...
Luckily for all of us, Juventus has Arturo Vidal and Inter doesn't — and we should all be thankful for that. The Chilean's third goal of the season came less than two minutes after Icardi gave Inter the lead. Kwadwo Asamoah provided the assist and Vidal did the rest. It was what Juve needed, obviously, and not just because of scoreline purposes. Juve were looking drab until Vidal's equalizer. After that? They looked like some
But that's why, in some respects, it feels like a couple points were dropped. And they should feel that way. It's not the worst result in the world, but it's not like Inter were dominating or anything.
Conte: We could have even won it, but we come away with a draw at a difficult venue, against a team who will be able to fight all the way.— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 14, 2013
Random thoughts about random things
- Gigi Buffon wears green because he's money.
- It took Antonio Conte all of three minutes to scream his displeasure at the ref. This guy...
- The decision to start Mirko Vucinic will likely be questioned by some of the Italian media folks — and it should be. All week we heard about Vucinic's health and whether or not he'd be fully fit after suffering some kind of knee injury during international duty with Montenegro. I feel safe in saying that, by the looks of it on Saturday, Vucinic wasn't close to the Vucinic we saw heading into the international break. One could say that's just Mirko being Mirko, but he looked a lot more sluggish than the usual hot-and-cold Vucinic we see most games.
- Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente still sits on the bench waiting for a real opportunity. So much for all that stretching and warming up at halftime.
- Andrea Barzagli was his usual wall-like self against Inter. That's not really all that much of a surprise. But he was constantly seen having to stretch out his legs during short breaks in the second half. Hopefully for Barzagli's sake, Angelo Ogbonna gets a start against FC Copenhagen in a couple of days. With his ankle injuries still popping up now and then, managing Barzagli's playing time will be very important for Conte the next month or two.
- Speaking of guys who probably need some rest, Andrea Pirlo wasn't very good at all. He again turned the ball over when he shouldn't have on more than one occasion. Hopefully Claudio Marchisio's return means that Pirlo does get some kind of rest on a regular basis. Because I think it's safe to say there's no way in hell Paul Pogba deserves to not start the way he's playing right now.
- Carlos Tevez deserved a goal simply because of how hard he worked his tail off today. What a great signing he has been thus far. Definitely not putting the No. 10 jersey to shame with his performances.