As Sassuolo's 1-0 win over Juventus went on Wednesday night, it seemed as though the only thing that could replicate the kind of utter frustration that is becoming this 2015-16 season was the weather itself. It rained, and then it poured, and so and so on. It's the perfect representation of how things are going for Max Allegri and Juventus.
Frustration, just like the rain at the Mapei Stadium, only get bigger and more noticeable as the game went on. Nothing worked. Free kicks went all over the place except actually on the frame of the goal. Corner kicks were pretty much a waste of time. And, when it was all said and done, well, you know the rest.
This team can't find any kind of consistent level in a positive sense right now. You don't know what you're going to get from one game to the next. As good as Juventus looked against Atalanta over the weekend, it was the complete opposite THREE DAYS LATER against Sassuolo. And that's the norm this season. It's pretty much trying to find your car keys while being blindfolded. Just when you think you've got things figured out, nope, try again.
It's becoming an all too familiar tune this season.
Way, way too familiar.
Are we reaching the point where we just chalk it up to this being what this team is? We can only play the "Yeah, but it's early!" card for so long. And even an eternal optimist like myself can see the things are starting to get real real when it comes to Juventus snapping out of this funk before the gap between themselves and the top three or four teams becomes too much of a an obstacle to overcome. Roma are now plus-11 or Juventus, Napoli and Fiorentina are plus-9.
That's not insane, it's not impossible to make up over the course of a couple months, but the fact is that those teams are playing well to start the season.
And Juventus? Well, just like what they showed against Sassuolo, they're a little more than just a team that can be considered a work in progress.
Juventus played like garbage. Bye.— Gianluca Nesci (@GianlucaNesci) October 28, 2015
Man, I wish I could just drop the mic right here and go home. I really do.
Random thoughts and observations
- We all want this team to play consistently and build off wins yet all they do is give us the middle finger. Basically the only thing they can do consistently is play inconsistently.
- Juventus' midfield looked completely lost without both Claudio Marchisio (flu) and Sami Khedira (rest). There might have been a few flashes of actual good things, but it's pretty clear that when Marchisio and/or Khedira are out of the lineup, it's going to be a complete adventure to figure out if their replacements will actually play well at all. And that includes Paul Pogba, by the way.
- I won't go as far as blame the ref for everything, but when you can tell that 25 minutes in and he's already starting to lose control of the game, then there's something up. Chiellini getting sent off will be the main talking point — and I think it's fair, seeing as his first yellow card probably wasn't a yellow — but it was a dumpster fire worth of calls/non-calls that added up and made things even worse than simply the scoreline.
Like, you know, this not being called a foul. Hint: THAT'S A FOUL.
- Juventus have now scored 11 goals in their 10 league games. Yeah.
- Sassuolo completed 70 percent of their passes and won. Yeah.
- It's time for Allegri to go with Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala up top full time. As much as I like him and think he can contribute to this squad at some point, Mario Mandzukic has been so hit-and-miss this season that it's becoming a microcosm for the team has a whole. If Mandzukic was in there because of the crossing ability of Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro — which made a lot of sense considering how well both wingers have played this season — then he has to get actual crosses to do something.
Case in point...
Morata had 27 touches after coming on around the 60th minute in the second half. Mandzukic 18 touches in twice as many minutes.
Allegri needs to field his best starting XI right now because the team is in such need for points. And when it comes to the forward position, that doesn't include Mandzukic.
- That free kick from Nicola Sansone was a thing of beauty. Even if Gigi Buffon made an attempt to stop that shot, he wouldn't have gotten there in time. That's about as perfectly placed a free kick as you can get against a keeper like Buffon — or anybody, for that matter.
So while we're all frustrated with another disappointing Juventus performance, let's not forget that Sassuolo did some very good things to put themselves in position to win this game, too.