The form guide had said Juventus hadn't lost since the middle of October. And with that comes the comments of "Juventus is playing great football right now!" because they see a 22-game unbeaten run and nothing else.
The fact is, though, Juve hadn't been playing as well as some people probably thought they were. They were winning, but it wasn't exactly with the same kind of dominant fashion they were doing things with when the unbeaten run get underway.
And on Sunday night, the so-so overall form Juve has been showing for these past few weeks finally got punished by a team capable of doing some pretty good things.
Napoli were good — really, really good. Juventus? Not even close to being very good. Pretty much the complete opposite, to be honest. If not for Gigi Buffon doing all kinds of wonderful Gigi Buffon things in goal over the course of the first half, the 2-0 final score in favor of Napoli could have been a lot worse. The defense was getting stretched by Napoli's attack, the 2013-14 edition of the M-V-P midfield wasn't doing anything at all. And with Napoli having the big share of the possession, the Carlos Tévez-less attack barely saw any of the ball.
What could go wrong outside of Buffon going into God Mode pretty did go wrong.
Frustrating? Hell yeah it was frustrating. Nobody likes to lose to any team, let alone somebody who is one of the best in the league and a pretty heated rival over the years. But it isn't like Juventus got worked by a team currently sitting 10th in Serie A. Napoli is a talented squad that can make you pay for your mistakes. Juventus came out like crap, didn't snap out of it until the second half, and Napoli made them pay.
22 - Tonight’s defeat against Napoli ended Juventus’ 22-game unbeaten streak in Serie A (W20, D2). Stopped. #NapoliJuve— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 30, 2014
You just hope that this loss works in the same fashion the last one in Serie A did. The best thing that could happen is that this negative can be turned into a positive and away Juve goes on another unbeaten run.
I trust Antonio Conte. So should you.
#Buffon: "Sometimes certain losses can spark the start of great runs and feats. It’s often happened in the past, and I hope we see it again"
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 30, 2014
Random thoughts and observations
- I trust the guy, but man oh man did Conte get out-coached by Rafa Benitez.
- No Carlos Tévez, no party. It's as simple as that.
- Juventus played like crap. It's as simple as that.
- Fernando Llorente and Dani Osvaldo aren't a good partnership and it's really starting to show the past couple of times they've been paired together. Way, way too static. It's as simple as that.
- And that just shows how important Tevez is to the attack. It's not just that he works his tail off every game or that he's scoring goals at a pace we haven't seen from a Juve player in years, it's also because he just compliments Llorente so well. It's the right kind of partnership that plays so well off each other. Osvaldo and Llorente? Not even close.
- A not-so-negative thought for a second: How good was Buffon against Napoli? It seems like pretty much every save he makes these days are of the spectacular variety. It's really unbelievable that he can be so good so often. But then again, it's Buffon, so maybe we shouldn't be so amazed whenever he does something God-like.
Oh, and he's 36 years old. Just in case you forgot, guys.
- Shots. Fired.
- Remember when Juventus imploded against Fiorentina back in October and the very next game was a European tie against Real Madrid? Forget the final scoreline, that was one of Juve's best games of the season. Basically what I'm trying to say is this: Can we get angry Juventus against Lyon on Thursday night? I know Lyon isn't close to being Real Madrid on a talent level, but it'd sure be nice to see Juve show up big time in Europe and let some anger out. Just a thought.