I'll be honest, I was too disgusted to write this report after I watched the Juventus game, and had to walk away from the keyboard to settle myself.
So when I did find myself a little more composed, I also saw a tweet that pretty much sums up yesterday's game (sorry I can't remember who it's from) -
First half - Juventus 2014/15
Second half - Juventus 2011/12
Alas, that was not going to be enough to get a draw or a win away to Olympiacos, not in the kind of form that the Greek team's goalie Roberto Gago was in yesterday. When the goalie was beaten, his defence stepped up to clear the ball and even the woodwork showed up to keep Juve out. Also, Pirlo was pretty poor for the second consecutive game, which is almost unheard of in the time he's been at Turin. While we're talking about poor performances, can we unequivocally accept that the 3-5-2 simply has to go, especially away in Europe?
Maybe it's these green and blue away jerseys Juve have been wearing. The Old Lady looked pretty bad at Atletico Madrid in the last round of games, and then looked even more abysmal in the first half yesterday. Olympiacos for their part stuck to their gameplan, backed by the raucous home support at the Karaiskakis Stadium. They out-hustled the Italian giants to every ball all game long, got their sole goal and then defended like their lives depended on it — in other words, they played like the provinciale side they are, which is scant consolation for Juve as they find themselves third in their Champions League group now, three points adrift. In fact, the Bianconeri lost to Olympiacos for the first time in Greece.
Arturo Vidal is a pale shadow of his previous seasons — let's put it this way, the bad sides are still there, but the positive aspects that let us overlook the negatives are missing. He returned to the starting XI and played his part in the poor first half. We wondered when Massimiliano Allegri would wield the axe and drop Fernando Llorente, this game was it — Alvaro Morata made his first start for Juve and was guilty of a handful of missed chances. Carlos Tevez, just about the only Bianconeri striker who can find the back of the net, also had a few chances but it was not meant to be. The forward core of the team cannot buy a goal right now, and some of this falls on Allegri's shoulders - when things are not working, continuously trying the same things is by definition also known as insanity.
The home side were satisfied to let Juve have the ball, and try to bite them on the break, which they promptly did on the 36th minute. Pirlo got caught in possession and turned the ball a little too easily, and Swiss midfielder Pajtim Kassami beat goalie Gianluigi Buffon to put Olympiacos ahead. Gigi already had made smart saves to keep out shots from Luka Milivojevic and Kasami.
Allegri finally ended Pirlo's miserable day at the office bringing on Claudio Marchisio at the hour mark. Pirlo has seemed a step off and looks like he could have extended his recovery time a little longer. Roberto Pereyra came on for Angelo Ogbonna and Giovinco was on for Paul Pogba towards the end as Olympiacos stonewalled Juve who threw everything including the kitchen sink at them in the dying minutes. Frustrating game for Juve fans really.
Buffon - 6. Hard to fault him for the goal. Did what was expected of him otherwise.
Chiellini - 6. Beaten to the ball too often, he had the most touches on the team. Bad sign.
Bonucci - 6.5. Solid at the back, but not much help with his poor long balls.
Ogbonna - 6. Nothing to write home about really.
Asamoah - 6. Second-most touches in the team on the day. Not a good sign.
Pogba - 5.5. Invisible, lost the ball too easily. Almost scored from nowhere.
Pirlo - 5. Had to be an icy day in hell when I gave him this score. It's an icy day in hell today.
Vidal - 7. Not the Vidal of old, but did win some tackles and carried the ball well.
Lichsteiner - 5. Rough day for the Swiss Express. Olympiacos pinned both wingbacks down well.
Morata - 6.5. Surely he should have scored at least one today?!
Tevez - 6.5. All effort, all the time. Fates conspired against him today though.
Marchisio - 6. Wasn't hard for him to be marginally better than Pirlo, that's how bad Pirlo was.
Pereyra - 5.5. Made little impact. Might as well have thrown Padoin or Coman on.
Giovinco - N/A
Allegri - 5. The boss doesn't get a passing grade today. Change is required before this season starts spiralling out of control.
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