It was the easy narrative to figure out. Juventus wins in Manchester to open the Champions League group stage — their first win on English soil in 20 years — and it's the jumping off point for a season that has pretty much stalled out of the gate. Hey, It was easy, and that's why I wrote about it like it was something that should happen.
Except it hasn't happened.
Suck on that, you stupid piece of logic! Your narratives have no power here!
Outside of the comeback win over Manchester City, Juventus' season has failed to truly get going domestically. Not unless you call an uninspiring win over Genoa and a couple draws a "good" start. Sure, we're now done with six of the 38 rounds in the Serie A schedule, but only one of those games have resulted in all three points being captured by a Max Allegri-managed team. They've already matched last season's total for league losses and we still have over 80 percent of the schedule to go.
But I'm not going to sit here and continue to compare this season and last season. That's unfair to this current squad, which is obviously going through so many different issues that it doesn't even need to be in the same conversation as the team that had one of the club's best seasons ever nd played for the Champions League trophy on June 6th of this year.
Is there even the ability to put into context what is wrong with this team right now?
Or, better yet, do we even want to?
There is no single person or player we can point to and say they are responsible for Juventus playing the way they are to open the 2015-16 season. Allegri is at fault, Paul Pogba is at fault, they're all at fault in some way or another. Some more than others, but it's a group effort here, folks. They're all fighting for the same cause, all wearing the same jersey. All wanting to have the same amount of success as the guy next to them in the locker room.
Yes, even those who aren't the ones on the field.
Turning over this squad in the kind of fashion that happened this summer was never going to be easy. As much as the quality of the talent that left this summer sucked, it's not like Juve's front office, led by Beppe Marotta and Fabio Paratici, replaced them with a bunch of scrubs. Juventus went with a long-term vision this summer and the result is that this squad is struggling in the short term.
As much as we want it to be the best of both worlds, that's clearly not going to happen. At least right now, anyway.
I guess envisioning it click right off the bat might have been too much for us to ask. And then you throw in all of those nagging injuries that keep popping up at every turn we come across, and you have a squad that is stuck in neutral rather than giving us early-season satisfaction. Think about all of the projected starters who have suffered an injury at some point of the preseason or the first month of the season:
- Claudio Marchisio
- Mario Mandzukic
- Álvaro Morata
- Sami Khedira
- Stephan Lichtsteiner
- Giorgio Chiellini
Some of those players have been injured for more time than others, like Marchisio, who we all miss very much these days. But the end result is still the same: Allegri hasn't been able to field his best of the best starting lineup at any point this season. Not once. And when you're trying to get a team to gel and find some kind of cohesion, the last thing you want to see happen is important players miss any kind of significant time.
Yet, they have. And, as if Juve needed any more problems these days, the injuries still remain.
However, that still doesn't excuse Juve from playing like they have outside of the Man City game. This squad is deep enough to be competitive against — and beat — teams that they've failed to get three points against. You know, the Chievos, the Frosinones of the world where Juve have even struggled to get a result.
I don't know. You want to be patient because this team does have more talent than any other team in Serie A. But, at the same time, you see them playing the way they are right now and it's frustrating as all can be — especially with what they were able to do in Manchester in a few weeks ago. The potential is there, they're just not tapping into it yet.
It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early. It's still early.
I'll just keep telling myself this for the time being. Because it's still early. Yeah, still early.