I feel like a lot of people come to this blog looking for tactical breakdowns after each and every match. Well, this isn't exactly going to be one of those posts. There's a very good reason for that: It was simple as simple gets against Bologna on Friday night, and the reason why Juventus' 15-game winning streak is now a 16-game unbeaten run is pretty easy to figure out from this point of view.
Juventus recorded all of 10 shots against Bologna. Juventus didn't put one single shot on target Friday night. Not one. They had close calls — including a couple in the final 15 or 20 minutes that went whizzing past the Bologna goal — but nothing truly of kind substance that trouble former Juve goalkeeper Antonio Mirante. Shots close to target, but nothing actually on target.
To score goals, you must, at the very least, test the opposing goalkeeper. And when it comes to peppering Mirante's gloves, the likes of Álvaro Morata, Simone Zaza and the rest of Juve's goal-scoring threats did absolutely none of it. Not one single bit.
Bologna would be 4th if season began when they appointed Donadoni. No shots on target for Juve. Last time that happened? Nearly 5 yrs ago— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) February 19, 2016
Another easy thing to decipher from Friday night's game: Bolgona came to play. Juventus were there, but not exactly looking like the team that we've seen over the last couple of months during this lengthy winning streak. Juve couldn't break down Bologna, who routinely threw nine or 10 players behind the ball to simply clog up any kind of consistent pressure on the home side's goal.
Juventus simply had no answer. End of story.
You think somebody Alex Sandro would have been useful against Bologna with his ability to not just attack down the left flank, but also spin in crosses from the wing? What about Mario Mandzukic? Or Sami Khedira? Probably even Kwadwo Asamoah, right?
Unfortunately, none of those players were going to be on the pitch Friday night because of their respective reasons.
We'll probably Khedira back for Tuesday night's clash with Bayern Munich. It sounds like Mandzukic might face his former club, too. That will help surely, and in a game where you know Juve will want a goal or two knowing who the opposition is and where the second leg is going to be played.
But for now, I guess we just have to kinda shake our head at a frustrating draw that saw a historic winning streak come to an end with somewhat of a whimper.
I'll remind everybody of this, though: The world is not over just because of one draw. Juventus are still in first place. They may be back in second place by the time Napoli-Milan is over on Monday night. But hey, ripping off 15 straight wins, shooting up the table thanks to getting 45 points in the span of three and a half months,
Bologna have taken points from Napoli, Milan, Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina and now Juventus. Tough team to beat.— Luca Cetta (@l_cetta) February 19, 2016
And guess what? Napoli still has to play Bologna, too. You know what needs your team needs to do in April, Roberto Donadoni.
Random thoughts and observations
- The refereeing in that game was rather ... interesting. I guess I'll just leave it at that even though I risk absolutely no kind of punishment from those who run Serie A because I just backhandedly criticized a ref..
- Gigi Buffon made one save. It was really good. Continue as you were.
- Paulo Dybala only has one goal in his last five appearances. I'm starting to get worried. (Not really. That was me being facetious.)
- Roberto Pereyra, getting his first start since October, looked exactly like somebody who has played in about 25 minutes worth of game time in the last four or five months. There was nothing wrong with the idea of Max Allegri playing Pereyra from the start seeing as what players were available. But that's also the risk you take with having a player who has barely featured over such an extended period of time. There was bound to be rust — and Pereyra proved that to be true.
- The downside of going with a 4-3-1-2 was that Juve had absolutely no width in the first half and caused Morata to drift outside to the left wing probably much than he should be doing. Allegri rightfully made the Pereyra-Juan Cuadrado sub coming out of halftime. It just didn't materialize into anything of substance.
- Morata's decision making in this game was also ... interesting. I can't help but think a more in-form version of him would have attacked the goal with some kind of authority instead of either slowing up or passing it to a teammate like he did on a few occasions on Friday.
- Lost in all the attention going toward Juve's offensive struggles against Bologna was the job Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli did defensively. It's pretty refreshing to see that Juventus' defense is continuing to roll right along even though Giorgio Chiellini is out injured.
- Now we go off to pray to get as many of the injured players back before Bayern arrives in Turin. All the good injury-related vibes going Juventus' way couldn't help at this point, right?