When you have more yellow cards handed out than combined shots on goal, then you know it's either one heck of a physical game or something that is just kinda ugly. That was the case as Juventus and Fiorentina played out a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Friday night.
Say that Juventus were looking ahead to Atlético Madrid if you want. I wouldn't necessarily disagree with you there. Neither would Max Allegri, as he rested two of his most in-form players, Carlos Tévez and Claudio Marchisio. Partly because of it, Juventus looked like a team that was missing two of its better players. While the Fernando Llorente and Kingsley Coman partnership had some potential, it didn't create much against a stout Fiorentina defense.
And there were cards. And stupid fouls by Patrice Evra. And appeals for handballs by both teams.
It wasn't a very pretty good. Or even anything close to one, really.
What else can you say? It's not like a ton of stuff actually happened other than 28 combined fouls, five cards being issued and a lot of grumbling from the home crowd in Florence. It's not like teams were putting shots on goal...
.@OfficialAllegri: "We didn’t have many chances but created a couple of situations in the first half. We need to improve our final ball."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 5, 2014
Am I mad that Juventus couldn't get a win in one of the most difficult away fixtures they'll have to deal with in Serie A this season? Nah, more frustrated. But seeing as how the last trip to Firenze went and what is sitting there on Tuesday night at Juventus Stadium, I think I'm perfectly okay with a scoreless draw.
Potevamo fare meglio ma un punto qui a Firenze va sempre bene. Pensiamo già alla prossima partita!— Claudio Marchisio (@ClaMarchisio8) December 5, 2014
Amen, Claudio. Amen, amen, amen.
Random thoughts and observations
- Let's just get the 3-5-2 ranting portion of the program. I know Juventus came out with some high pressure when Fiorentina were on the ball in the first half, but that quickly dissipated. The pace was too slow, the scoring chances created were few and far between. And, against a Fiorentina said that pretty much ran the same kind of formation, the midfield was just way too packed to really do anything.
Again, injuries and players available — mainly Stephan Lichtsteiner's yellow card-related suspension — was Allegri's reasoning for going back to the three-man defense. I would be shocked if Allegri went back to it on Tuesday night against Atlético. Shocked, I tell you!
- I am seriously surprised not one player was sent off the way the yellow cards were flying in the first half. It had all the makings of either Juventus or Fiorentina going a man down. It really did.
- Leonardo Bonucci was my pick for Man of the Match and it wasn't even close. He was fantastic in defense Friday night. That tackle on Mario Gomez in the second half ... wow. Pretty, pretty stuff.
- I know it was in a substitute role during a game that was pretty much dead in the second half, but was that the quietest we've seen Carlos Tévez this season? About 30 minutes on the field and we're able count how many accurate passes he had (eight) one two hands.
- Patrice Evra isn't doing much to convince his detractors that he can be a viable fill-in at left back for Juventus these next few months. I'd say Evra's game was so-so at best, and maybe that's being a little too kind. There were a handful of bad fouls from the 33-year-old Frenchman that came in dangerous areas. Thankfully Fiorentina weren't able to take advantage of any of them.
- Kingsley Coman is fast. Really, really fast. And while his performance probably wasn't as good as his other appearances this season, but there were glimpses of his blistering pace and creativity. I hope he gets some more chances to do some things these next couple of weeks. Allegri playing him over somebody like Sebastian Giovinco has to be a sign that the Juventus manager has plenty of confidence in the 18-year-old Coman.
- Simone Padoin not in the starting lineup, Juventus don't win. Are we surprised by this development?
- Onto Atlético Madrid. Because that is the one that really does have a greater impact on Juventus' season.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Fiorentina
- Juventus vs. Fiorentina Preview: Round 14 — Back to the scene of the crime
- Everything is pointing toward Manolo Gabbiadini's future being away from Juventus
- It's time for Álvaro Morata to get his chance in Juventus' starting lineup — consistently
- OFFICIAL: Juventus rule out Kwadwo Asamoah for four months after knee surgery