A decent portion of the time, the first 10 minutes of a game doesn't dictate or give you any kind of indication about how any given match will go. For Juventus' trip to the Italian capital, they came out like crap, they continued to play like crap, and they didn't recover from a craptastic start until it was far too late.
Yet, even while they were playing not very well whatsoever and down a man, Juventus were a Wojciech Szczęsny super save in the dying embers from tying the game at 2-2 and potentially stealing a point from a team who was vastly superior than them. That's the positive, glass-half-full side of it all. And probably outside of Gigi Buffon being Gigi Buffon on a few occasions and Paulo Dybala playing well — and scoring a goal — in his first Juventus start, that's pretty much where the good vibes end.
Juventus got beat and didn't come close to picking themselves up off the mat following last weekend's defeat at home in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. It's the first time they have lost the first two Serie A games of the season ever. E-V-E-R, people. Roma's win was a fairly convincing one as they dominated both possession and the shot total until Juve's final flurry in the second half to try and find an equalizer.
.@OfficialAllegri: "We made too many technical errors & after the break, when a change was there to be made, we conceded from a free-kick."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) August 30, 2015
That is pretty much how you can sum things up. Well done, Max.
Juventus' plan in the first half was clear — absorb all the pressure and try to hit Roma on the counter whenever they recovered the ball. But, when you can't string many passes together any time you try to counterattack, it goes up in smoke in quite a hurry. And that's what happened to Juve a good number of the time in the opening 45 minutes. Roma had nearly 70 percent of the possession in the first half and were probably thinking about what they had to do to find the back of the net based on the number of scoring chances they had.
Those much-deserved goals came in the second half, though. The first on a Miralem Pjanic free kick that Buffon had absolutely no chance on even if he tried to stop it. The second, 18 minutes later, on Edin Dzeko's header into the bottom-right corner of the net to put Roma up 2-0 just a few short moments after Patrice Evra got his second yellow card.
Just a frustrating night all around that was looked upon as the chance to right the wrongs from opening day against Udinese.
That ... didn't happen. Dammit.
Random thoughts and observations
- As much as we want to talk about our favorite team in black and white, don't forget this little fact: Roma were pretty darn impressive against Juventus. It's true that Juve didn't play well at all, but Roma certainly contributed to that. No doubt about it.
- Juventus completed 77 percent of their passes in the first half. That's not the fault of the formation, folks. That's just bad and sloppy play from a team that looked lost for pretty much all of the first 45 minutes.
- Paul Pogba is all out of sorts. Maybe it's the pressure of him being looked upon to do more than usual because both Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira are out injured right now or that he's the new No. 10. But he needs to scale things back a bit — and not just in terms of his play.
I'm not worried about Pogba's performances, though. He's proven that he can be so damn good when everything is going right. But, just like the team as a whole right now, everything isn't alright.
- And that brings us to Marchisio. It's so clearly obvious how much Juventus' midfield misses him right now. Allegri can say all he wants about how Simone Padoin is the best option to play in front of the defense with Marchisio out, but there's a reason why Juve didn't seem to miss a beat when Andrea Pirlo was out injured or rested the past couple of seasons. Marchisio's awareness, his ability to contribute on both ends of the field and his overall on-field leadership are sorely missed as Juve go through this early-season transition.
Marchisio's absence is starting to show who Juve's most important midfielder really is.
- Juventus recorded only four shots in the game entering the final stretch of the second half. That's pretty remarkable considering how many shots Juventus have recorded no matter who the opponent has been the last few years.
- Patience, patience, patience. Just try and remind yourself of that right now even though nothing seems to be going Juventus' way.
- Usually I hate international breaks because we're forced to sit around like it's the preseason all over again and wait for the games to come back. But it's pretty clear this team needs the two-week break right now just to try and get right in every aspect of the game there is. Allegri needs to work on how to get this team out of its funk, and they need the break to get healthy both physically and mentally. It's all that simple to say and/or type out, now we need them to show it.