Falling down a goal in the first eight minutes. Seeing one of your most important players sent off after picking up a pair of in the span of about a minute of one another midway through the first half. If you were to simply see these two things take place, you would have thought Juventus was heading back to Turin after Sunday’s trip to Udine feeling like they just let an opportunity to get three points slip through their hands.
Except, they won.
Yeah, I don’t get it, either.
A first half that could have very well been described as an absolute clusterfuck was replaced by a relentless 10-man Juventus scoring four unanswered goals — including two-thirds of Sami Khedira’s hat trick — to go from looking like they might drop more points against Udinese to running away with a 6-2 win at the Friuli.
Yeah, I don’t get it, either.
So much for being the guy who is supposed to sit here and try to explain with words what the hell just happened in front of our eyes, huh?
The path to three points was about as all over the place it could get. And when you try and wrap your head around Juventus scoring four goals after Mario Mandzukic was sent off for simulation and then arguing his first yellow card, it becomes even the more logic-defying.
The one good thing Juventus had going for themselves even though they were down a man? Udinese entered the game with one of the worst defenses in Serie A. Managed by old friend Gigi Delneri, Udinese are far from the talent-rich side we’ve seen in recent years where they have future stars being ready to break through in Italy’s top division. It’s more like the main goal for Udinese this season is to not get relegated rather than finish in the top third of the table.
With the way they played despite having a man advantage, it became pretty clear as to why they’ve struggled so much this season.
Juventus certainly took advantage of Udinese’s defensive liabilities and looked far better with 10 men on the field than when they were at full strength. Khedira was pushing as far up the field as we’ve seen from him in a long time to help aid the attack. Paulo Dybala was serving up beautiful free kicks into the box right and left, including back-to-back efforts that lead to Daniele Rugani and Khedira putting Juve ahead 4-2.
Little did we know Juve had two goals left to go after that, too.
The path to get there was far from routine, far from how you would have drawn it up in the minutes before kickoff. But even after all of the craziness of the first 30 or so minutes, we can look at the final tallies on the scoreboard and Juventus scored six goals on 13 total shots. I mean, even with an own goal thrown in there, that’s a pretty good rate to which you’re finding the back of the net.
I’ll take that every day of the week.
The six goals, not having to play down a man every game, that is.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I know I am one to be rather tough on Juan Cuadrado, but that cross he had to Sami Khedira on Juve’s second goal, that was beautiful.
- Also, a grand total of 12 passes during the build-up to that goal. Half of them were of the one-touch variety, too. It was some pretty, pretty football.
- Gigi Buffon made three huge saves in the final 10 or so minutes of the first half. Seeing how Juventus ended up winning by the margin they did, it seems like those saves turned out to be pretty helpful in keeping his team in the lead.
- And those saves were even the more critical when you see Udinese tie the game basically right out of the gate in the second half. In one of the few situations where being down a man wouldn’t necessarily hurt you, of course Udinese gets a man wide open and scores a goal. Juventus’ defense lately .. yeesh.
- In case you’re wondering, that’s six goals allowed in the last three league games. That’s not very good, especially for a team like Juventus that has been so good defensively over the last six seasons.
- He didn’t get a goal on Sunday, but Gonzalo Higuain worked his absolute ass off and played quite well. The way he has tracking back and defending after Mandzukic was sent off was a huge help. And yes, even without a goal he contributed to the attack when Juve were down a man. A very encouraging kind of days for Pipa.
- The one good thing to come out of Mandzukic getting sent off besides the unorthodox comeback: One of Douglas Costa or Federico Bernardeschi will get to start against Spal on Wednesday. That’s good.
- Daniele Rugani finishes with a goal, an assist and a mistake that lead to Udinese’s first goal of the game. Outside of that last part, I’d say it was a pretty damn good return to the starting lineup for a young man who should be starting 90 percent of Juve’s fixtures going forward this season.
- Leave it to Federico Bernardeschi to come on in the second half ... in the 89th minute .. and have the ref end the game early because it’s pouring rain and the scoreline is 6-2. I know I have no control over this, but I’m so sorry, Fede.
- And just like that, Juventus has the best attack in Serie A. Now about that defense...
- Personal opinion here, but I definitely liked the end product of this game on Oct. 22 compared to last season’s game on Oct. 22. Thank you for not making grumpy on the rest of my birthday, Juventus.