Like all good managers do, Max Allegri sought answers at halftime to try fix what went wrong in the first half and get his team a positive result. And the product of those changes saw Allegri's team flying out of the break, with the second half clearly belonging to the team in black and white stripes, not black and blue ones.
They created chances, they defended well, and for good portion of the 45 or so minutes in the second half on Sunday night, they dictated the pace of the game. It was what you want your team to do in a game they truly have the chance to win.
Except that goal they were clearly seeking in the second half never arrived. There were chances — some went well wide while others, like Sami Khedira's second-half chance just outside the six-yard box, went clanging off the upright. It was a game Juventus could have and maybe should have won, yet the end result was a scoreless draw against Inter at the San Siro.
Not exactly the worst result in the world, but not the best way to quickly erase the terrible start to the Serie A season.
That means Juventus head into this latest post-international break flurry of games in 14th place, one point behind Milan. Allegri is still saying Juventus will be in the Scudetto mix, and with more than two-thirds of the season still remaining, there's plenty of time to turn this thing around. Throw in the fact that three of Juventus' eight league games have been at Inter (third place), at Napoli (fifth place) and at Roma (second place), and it's not exactly like the schedule has helped them out at all.
As much as this can be considered a a decent result, Juve could have won it. And that's the frustrating part. If Khedira shoots the ball 12 inches to the right, we're not talking about another draw. Nope, we'd all be hyped because Juve just beat Inter and silenced the San Siro for another season.
Instead, we're sitting here with the "What if..." thoughts surging through our heads once again. I hate those kind of thoughts, man. Especially when Juve play well enough against a good team to get the win.
I mean, watching Andrea Barzagli play the way he did against Inter, then it's a perfect statement. If Juventus had been as good up front as Barzagli was in defense, we're talking about three points going back to Turin, not this team still being stuck ranked in the teens in the Serie A standings. That's a pretty easy one to figure out.
Random thoughts and observations
- In baseball they have a saying about players who get hurt and stay in or come into the game in the late innings: "The ball is going to find you right away." The same could be applied to Gigi Buffon after he tweaked his calf in the first half. And just a few moments after the initial injury, Buffon was called into action and made the best save of the day as he went flying to his left to keep Inter off the scoreboard.
Injuries can't even keep Buffon from making world-class saves. He's just a joy to watch.
- Paul Pogba didn't have a great game, but this run was absolutely incredible.
- This was not a foul on a player who already had a first-half yellow. Cool refereeing, man.
- I would like to assume Allegri didn't start Paulo Dybala because of all the traveling he did while getting his first call-up with the Argentina national team. And if that's the case, then I can see why Max did what he did.
- With that being said, Simone Zaza sure did have some decent looks on goal against Inter. He worked his tail off as you expect him to, but he probably should have finished at least one or two of those chances at the very least.
- Forget the miss on the golden chance for a second. I am truly enjoying watching Sami Khedira play in a Juventus jersey. He again showed why he can be a key member to this team's success this season. And now that Marchisio is back in the fold, you would think things would start to run smoothly in the center of the park.
Oh, and as a reminder, Khedira didn't cost a dime to bring to Turin.
- Watch Juventus play like this on Wednesday in the Champions League and win. That's just because this season makes absolutely no sense to me at all. I'm sure I'm not the only one still confused by it, too.