There are days when missing early-game scoring chances don’t come back to haunt you simply because you’re able to overcome them. Then there are days where you inability to score a goal or two earlier in the game when you probably should have comes back to bite you right in the backside.
For Juventus at the Marassi on Sunday afternoon, it was most certainly the second of those two sentences above.
Juventus not only saw a chance to grab a first-half lead go for naught, but also watched Samp storm right on by them on the rare occasion they put something on frame in the second half. Goals from Duvan Zapata after a horrid pair of failed clearances, a thunderbolt of a strike from Lucas Torreira and Gian Marco Ferrari taking advantage of terrible marking by Sami Khedira did Juventus in during a miserable second half display.
It went bad in a hurry. And it just so happened to go down after it seemed like Juve were on the brink of breaking what was a scoreless deadlock at the time.
Not even a pair of goals within minutes of one another from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala could help save the day for Juventus, who have now allowed 14 goals in their 13 league games this season.
Instead, it turned into a 3-2 Sampdoria win, sending Juventus to its latest sub-par performance in Serie A this season.
You can try and take solace in the fact that Juve nearly pulled a rabbit out of its hat and stole a point from Samp with a stoppage-time comeback. Or, you can think of it this way: Juventus should have never been in that position in the first place, they should have never found themselves down if they had taken advantage of their first-half chances, and they should have never been in the position where two last-ditch goals still has them on the wrong end of the scoreline.
But that’s what happened.
Juventus, again, struggled to right their wrongs from previous games this season. Call it a recurring pattern or whatever you want, but we keep on seeing the same kind of mistakes be made as this season goes on and on.
The backbone of this team during their six-year Scudetto-winning run has been its defense. But as Samp showed, this season’s Juve defense is far from the one we saw two or three years ago. Players are older, the overall quality is not what it used to be and the results are there for everybody to see now.
This version of Juventus, the one we keep on seeing throughout Serie A play, isn’t going to be one that wins the Scudetto. Something needs to change — and in a hurry while there’s still plenty of time to go. The only question is whether Max Allegri and the players are actually willing to save face and change just how meh they’ve been for most of the season.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Pre-game lineup thought No. 1: DANIELE RUGANI!
- Pre-game lineup thought No. 2: FEDERICO BERNARDESCHI!
- Pre-game lineup thought No. 3: I thought there might be more squad rotation, especially when you’ve got just about everybody outside of Marko Pjaca available to you. But I’m not Max Allegri, in case you haven’t figured that out by now.
- Opening-minute thought No. 1: What the hell is Emiliano Viviano thinking with that haircut and facial hair combination? (This is also your reminder that Viviano is a goalkeeper who wears kit number No. 2, by the way.)
- I love Fede, I really do. I think he will be a very good player for Juventus by the end of the season if given the opportunities to do so. But holy crap, that was a baaaaaaad attempt at a clearance right before Samp’s first goal. And when you see what Kwadwo Asamoah did trying to clear the ball right before that, it’s saying something.
- That being said, if Bernardeschi can play like he did in the first half a lot more often, then Juve are going to be onto something here. If only they had scored a goal or two...
- Paulo Dybala came on as Juve’s first sub early in the second half and didn’t really do much of anything of note before his 94th-minute goal. Outside of that one moment of wonderful and classic Dybala left-footed goals, his struggles from October have been extended into mid-November. Maybe that late goal and playing Barcelona in Turin again will spark him like it did last season. It sure would be nice...
- Sami Khedira seems like a very nice guy. His Mallorca trip has given Stephan Lichtsteiner — and yours truly — plenty of material on the internet for the past few years. But it’s time that Brother Sami doesn’t start. Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic are the starting midfielders in the double pivot, Claudio Marchisio is the No. 1 backup who gets some starts along the way and then it’s either Khedira or Rodrigo Bentancur. That’s it. That’s the list.
- Duvan Zapata is a big, big boy and Stephan Lichtsteiner found that out on the opening goal. Talk about getting absolutely towered over on a header. Zapata not only put a picture-perfect header on the ball, but he also completely owned Lichtsteiner in the process.
- Fill in the blank: If Juventus plays like this against Barcelona on Wednesday, the final score will be _____. This should be fun!