I can sit here and try to figure out why Juventus were so bad for about 70 minutes against Galatasaray. Or I could do what I've wanted to do for two hours of Juve-Galatasaray — repeatedly bash my head against the wall. But since the second option means I won't be able to do my job, here's a crack at Door No. 1.
First, though, I will turn to Fabio Quagliarella, who basically summed up what I want to say after Juventus' 2-2 draw against Galatasaray on Wednesday night.
"As the Coach said in his press conference, teams all defend against us now and hope to cause us problems on the counter-attack. It's tough when an entire squad is behind the ball, as you can't find space, but we have to work on countering this tactic."
(Source: Football Italia)
That was exactly the case. You don't need to look to the second half when Galatasaray was packing at least eight guys behind the ball when Juventus were in possession — which was a good portion of the time. Juventus, for as mediocre as they were in the first half, had 10 shots. Some were blocked, some went wide, some even went on goal. What about Galatasaray? They had three. Essentially from the opening kickoff, Roberto Mancini stated his intentions — defend like hell and hit Juve on the counter.
That's what they did and come away a point in Turin to show for it.
But if Juventus actually defended in the subsequent minute after Quagliarella's go-ahead goal, maybe — or probably — we wouldn''t be having this discussion and instead praising Juve for getting three points when they're far from their best. Even though Juve were pretty craptastic before the 70th minute, I would have liked that a lot more than feeling the utter disappointment that comes with letting a win slip right through your fingers.
Juventus' Champions League campaign to date in a nutshell: Two games, two draws. The more things change, the more things stay the same.
Random thoughts and observations
- Juventus missed Claudio Marchisio in the midfield today. Further proof he needs to play, from the start, more often than not. Yeah, I said it.
- The immediate response after Drogba's goal on the Twitter machine was to try and shell out the blame for who was at fault. Leonardo Bonucci's backpass was terrible, but the decision by Gigi Buffon to rush out of his goal might have been just as bad. That's something you expect from an inexperienced or young goalkeeper, not one of the best we've ever seen in the sport. It hasn't been a good couple of weeks for San Gigi. And with Juve not playing well as a whole right now, the mistakes he makes will be magnified even that much more.
- Mauricio Isla...where to begin. I was saying a lot of things about the announcers on Twitter during the match, but every bit of criticism Isla got was deserved. He was bad, really bad. How the hell he had a pass completion rate close to 80 percent is beyond me. Oh how I long for the Isla of Udinese fame.
- Amazing how Juventus finally woke up when Fernando Llorente came on in the second half. The shift in formation and tactics that came along with the Spaniard's introduction finally gave Galatasaray some difficulty. Even though they were still packing the box, Gala's defense showed some holes and Juve were able to take advantage of it. More of whatever that was, please, Mister Conte.
- I'm still trying to figure out how the hell a team that has been so good on defense the last two years allowed Galatasaray to score their second goal 71 seconds after Juve went ahead. Just baffling.
- If Juventus' defense plays anything close to like they have in recent weeks, Real Madrid are going to have a field day. Let's just hope that the Juventus that rose to the occasion in the group stages last year shows its head again. I'd approve of that.