It didn’t take long to realize that the free-flowing Juventus performance from midweek wasn’t going to be present at the Renzo Barbera on Saturday night. If you were to count the number of early-game scoring chances and compare them to yellow cards handed out and the amount of Juve players who went down injured in the first half, they would all probably be equal.
No, it wasn’t a 3-0 dismantling after 30-something minutes. Not even close to it, really. Between Palermo fouls and Juventus players going down injured, there wasn’t exactly much action in terms goals being scored or even very good goal-scoring opportunities to truly brag about.
Instead, it was a grinder in every sense of the term. The only difference in the game proved to be Dani Alves’ second-half goal that took a massive deflection off Palermo defender Edoardo Goldaniga, a player formerly co-owned by Juventus a few years back.
There were few positives to take from this one. It was more of the Juventus from the Sevilla draw rather than the one that thrashed Cagliari 4-0 just a few days earlier. If you wanted to see goals and beautiful open play with attacking football, you might as well have just watched a replay of the Barcelona win, because that wasn’t going to happen with Juventus and Palermo.
We wanted to see Juventus build off the Cagliari win. We wanted to see some true progress from one game to the next. And outside of getting a second straight league win and making sure that Juventus’ lead at the Serie A table over Napoli heading into next week would still be one point at the very least, there weren’t many signs of another step forward. Maybe a step back considering the overall quality of the team performance, but certainly not another step forward.
Not when you are struggling to consistently build your attack or string passes together. That’s something that Juve did so well in the Sassuolo and Cagliari wins. On Saturday night against Palermo, yeah, not so much.
Take the three points, dry off from all of the rain in Sicily and get ready to head out to Croatia. It was that kind of night for Juventus. Let’s just remember nothing about that game other than the fact that Juve actually won it.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Juventus just recorded a shutout with Dani Alves playing as a center back in a 3-5-2 for over 50 minutes. Didn’t think you’d be seeing that today, did ya?
- When Allegri said that Juan Cuadrado was probably going to play a part in the game against Palermo, I’m pretty sure he didn’t think it would be as an injury replacement for Daniele Rugani 30 minutes in.
- I’m going to need a gif of that sliding tackle by Andrea Barzagli late in the second half. That was an absolute thing of beauty at the perfect time.
- Mario Lemina played very well as a box-to-box kind of midfielder on Wednesday. Mario Lemina didn’t play all that well as a holding midfielder on Saturday. I don’t want to say those two things are totally connected considering how the entire Juventus team played against Palermo, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
- According to WhoScored, Gigi Buffon was credited with two saves. I think that’s even being a little generous. Capitano had next to nothing to do all game long. Poor guy basically just stood in the rain.
- There were three yellow cards thrown out in the first eight minutes. If we didn’t know right then and there it was going to be ugly...
- Within a 10-minute span, these Juventus players went down with knocks: Gonzalo Higuain, Daniele Rugani and Sami Khedira. Obviously Higuain and Khedira were able to finish things out and play a full 90 minutes
- Maybe it’s another sign that I’m a total fanboy of his, but wouldn’t that have been the kind of game where Marko Pjaca could have made an impact off the bench? Juventus had absolutely nothing going forward and Pjaca has shown he can create a thing or two on his own. I don’t know, but that’s just me thinking outloud before all of you folks.
- I think it might be a little bit of time before we see a Higuain-Mandzukic pairing up top if this game was any indication of what they can — or can’t — do up top. Not that 90 minutes is the be-all, end-all, but that wasn’t exactly an awe-inspiring performance by either one of Juve’s strikers.
- Juventus had seven shots put on target and of course the one they score their goal on is a major deflection. Of course that happens.
- Honestly, other than Juventus getting the three points, what are you going to remember about this game?