The most Juan Cuadrado thing that has ever happened is that for the whole entire game he was absolute crap, I mean just giving the ball away like he was a parent stuck at home while neighborhood kids came in their cute little costumes trick-or-treating (one and only Halloween reference, I promise). Like Danny said, the right flank was where attacks went to die. So many attacks died on the right side, it was like Night of the Living Dead. (I’ll stop.)
But seriously, Juventus weren’t just bad — the Bianconeri were scary bad. I mean the dudes in the Jeep kits were Jeepers Creepers scary. (I can’t stop.)
After all that generosity on the right side, Cuadrado threaded the most beautiful pass there ever was to Gonzalo Higuain, who Pipita’d the hell out of that shot with a chip cheekier than my 2-year-old niece, and just liked that Juventus saved their you-know-whats from a very, very difficult situation.
The issues Juventus has are pretty glaring. The right back situation is the most salient, but I also think it’s becoming clearer and clearer to everyone that the midfield situation — despite my excitement over that weekend that it finally is getting healthy — remains unresolved.
I’m starting to think that the goal for the fall is to make it out of group play, stay with five or so points of the Serie A lead, and figure stuff the hell out in January.
One month away from facing Napoli.
A tantalizing collection of titillating tidbits.
- When’s the last time Mario Mandzukic has been good? I mean, seriously?
- Paulo Dybala . . . not good.
- Blaise Matuidi is better than Sami Khedira at this juncture. Despite Sami’s rather miraculous hat trick, he’s nowhere to be seen on the defensive side of things or in the build-up. In a formation that sports two midfielders, that’s not going to work. Matuidi sure as hell likes to get forward, but he busts his butt and always pesters on defense.
- The first goal was a pretty embarrassing thing to concede. I didn’t think the defense was terrible in the first place, as Sporting moved well and penetrated the Juve defense — it happens! — with Giorgio Chiellini being very careful not to concede a penalty, but after Buffon spilled the rebound (the shot was decently struck) Sporting slammed the ball into the back of the net. If you rewind the tape, you’ll see Miralem Pjanic and Cuadrado just standing around watching the ball instead of, oh you know, tracking Bruno Cesar’s run. Way to go!
- Max Allegri refuses to make substitutions at the half and it’s the most Allegri thing of all time.
- It’ll be huge this weekend against Benevento to have a fully rested Douglas Costa, Daniele Rugani, and Federico Bernardeschi.
Onto the awards (“awards”):
The Via Madama Christina Walk of Shame Award
For the player who played so poorly that Mr. Max made him walk shamefully to the sideline.
Sami, boy oh boy.
I know it’s Pjanic’s job to sit near the center backs and do the Leonardo Bonucci thing of launching long balls, and I thought he was actually pretty decent at that. In 110 touches he had 88 percent accuracy and six key passes. Khedira had fewer than 60 touches, zero key passes, and a single shot.
I think either Matuidi or Rodrigo Bentancur should be considered Pjanic’s go-to partner at this point.
Italian Teenager Gaggle Award
For the unit embodying the following descriptors: incoherent, waste of space, frustrating.
The right flank wins this award, as Cuadrado and Mattia De Sciglio had some very wonky chemistry between them other than the chemistry of creating unhabitable circumstances for organic attacks to die. One time, MDS put a shot on goal. (Rui Patricio did not spill the rebound.) And other than that I don’t think I noticed MDS unless it was Cuadrado not giving his runs a look.
He did seem to have done his job on defense. Woohoo!
Cuadrado, as I’ve already mentioned, pulled a classic Cuadrado. The wonderful (i.e., terrible) thing about our Colombian friend is that he’s not just inconsistent game to game, he’s inconsistent in a single game.
Giuseppe Garibaldi Award
For the man of the match.
Pipita has been an absolute force the last three weeks, and the last two games he’s the only reason Juve have seen results.