There are a few different ways you can look at Juventus’ scoreless draw with league leaders Inter Milan in Saturday night’s Derby d’Italia.
For one, you can say that Juventus should have gotten all three points seeing as they were the better side for much of the night. They created the vast majority of the chances, kept the Serie A leader in goals absolutely silent and were just one moment or two away from finding the back of the net.
Essentially, to say in a shorter way, it was a lost opportunity.
Or, on the other side of things, you could say that a draw isn’t necessarily a bad result all things considered. Inter had come in playing well, had just dropped five goals on their last opponent and hadn’t lost a game all season long.
Consider myself somewhere in the middle with a somewhat noticeable lean toward the first option, I guess.
Was it frustrating to see Juventus miss opportunity after opportunity? Absolutely.
The amount of times that Juventus went through Juan Cuadrado, saw him deliver an absolutely beautiful cross and Mario Mandzukic unable to put it away was like mini-gut punch after mini-gut punch. Yet, Inter never adjusted to it, and the cross from the right wing to the far post was there time and time again.
Juve went to the well time after time, they just couldn’t put something away.
But if you were to tell me Juventus would go through this eight-day stretch where they play at Napoli, at Olympiacos and at home against Inter and pick up seven of nine points a couple of weeks ago, I’d probably would have been totally okay with it.
The thing is, though, knowing how Saturday’s game went, it probably should have been nine points out of nine points collected.
That’s what makes the scoreless draw against Inter tough to take. Juventus didn’t only play well, but they deserved to win. But you need goals to win — and that’s one of the few things Juve did wrong on Saturday.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Starting lineup thought No. 1: Paulo Dybala is in bad form and probably needed a break, even with it being the Derby d’Italia and everything. But not starting Douglas Costa was a little odd to see based on how good he’s been the last few weeks.
- Starting lineup thought No. 2: Juventus started just two Italians (Giorgio Chiellini and Mattia De Sciglio). When’s the last time we can say that?
- Counterpoint to the first bullet point: As the first half went on, you could see why Douglas Costa wasn’t in the starting lineup. Max Allegri’s plan for Inter was the same as it was for the win over Napoli. Juventus absorbed the pressure on the wings from Inter, it’s obvious that Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado were the right choices for that plan of attack.
- Man of the Match: Juan Cuadrado. It’s easy. He was fantastic.
- Through the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s game, Gonzalo Higuain touched the ball all of two times. Not great.
- Inter, a team that has a couple of damn good wingers, didn’t land one successful cross in the first half. I’d say Juventus’ play defensively had a lot to do with that.
- It took Inter until the 52nd minute to record their first shot on goal. I’d say Juventus’ play defensively had a lot to do with that.
- As the game hit the 80th minute, Mauro Icardi had touched the ball all of NINE TIMES. I’d say Juventus’ play defensively — namely Medhi Benatia — had a lot to do with that.
- De Sciglio’s role is a simple one, but it’s one that has really seen him settle into being a solid defender these days. If that’s what’s going to bring out the best of him, then so be it. I’d rather Juventus have a consistent presence at right back rather than a roller coaster worth of performances where you don’t know what you’re going to get from one game to the next.
- Chiellini and Benatia were absolutely dominant on Saturday. Benatia, especially, continues to deliver the good after being so inconsistent and unreliable during most of his first season with Juve. Now? Well, shoot, he keeps playing like this and my “Daniele Rugani needs to be in the starting lineup” demands will be a thing of the past.
- Yeah, I think we know where Luciano Spalletti can go to try and find Icardi after Saturday night’s game: Benatia’s back pocket.
- Based on how Miralem Pjanic reacted to coming off the field in the second half, I am looking forward to a weeks worth of rumors saying how he and Allegri aren’t getting along. (I’m really not.)
- Juventus has eight days off before their next game, which is on the road against Bologna. Just think about what kind of eight-day run they had and then realize they won’t play for over a week.