It took 27 games in Serie A this season, but Juventus finally has a draw to its name.
The 1-1 result in Udine pretty much sums up how things went Sunday afternoon. There was no standout performance. There was no real great team effort. There was nothing all that great, really. Juventus could have pushed its lead in Serie A to plus-10 with the Napoli-Roma result yesterday, but that didn’t happen. Instead of taking advantage of the result going in Juventus’ favor 24 hours earlier, Juve pretty much laid an egg at the stadium formerly known as the Friuli.
Just meh a kind of effort all the way around.
A big old bucket of meh.
Probably not what you’re going to be ordering next time you head to the drive-thru, I can tell you that much.
Leonardo Bonucci played a role in both goals, First, he wasn’t able to slow down the runaway truck known as Duvan Zapata in the first half before the former Napoli striker tucked it past Gigi Buffon. Then Bonucci hammered home a header off a Paulo Dybala second-half free kick to even the score and pretty much have everybody thinking “Leo giveth and then Leo taketh away...” at the same time.
Other than that, are we going to remember anything about this game?
I’m thinking more people are going to be interested in what Andrea Belotti did against Palermo over in Turin rather than what Juventus failed to do against Udinese. Just one of those days where Juve didn’t do much of anything. It happens. It’s only natural.
But with the chance to really put serious distance between themselves and their closest competition in Serie A, you would have liked to see more. Having an eight-point lead over Roma isn’t bad, obviously, but a 10-point lead with 11 games to go? Now that’s something that sounds like Juventus would be just a couple of more wins away before things are essentially done and dusted. Not officially, but wrapping up the title would be a mere formality with the lead in double digits.
None of that happened. As a result, Juventus were only able to gain one single point over Roma.
That doesn’t mean the Serie A title race is suddenly wide open. Juventus are still in complete control. They could have just been in even better shape entering the final few games before the first international break of the season. Oh well.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I know there is probably a very good reasons, but how can a Serie A field like the Friuli be that chewed up in the six-yard box like Gigi Buffon’s box in the first half was? I’ve seen penalty areas where high school teams are about to play in better condition.
- Was there one Juventus player that saw action where you could point at them and say they played well? I don’t know. That’s just what kind of game it was. Just...meh.
- Juventus had twice as much of the possession. Udinese outshot Juventus 10-9 in the game. Usually, things don’t exactly work out that way. But hey, this game just didn’t seem to make sense from the beginning, so am I to judge?
- It’s stoppage time. There’s nobody pressing around him outside of the Udinese box. Instead of controlling the ball and looking to pass to a teammate, Dani Alves goes for the spectacular volley. It flubs off the side of his foot and doesn’t even come close to troubling Udinese goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis. Kinda summed things up right there.
- Belotti and Gonzalo Higuain entered the day tied with 19 goals on the season. Belotti ended up scoring more goals than Higuain had scoring opportunities. I don’t know about you guys, but Higuain only getting two shots is something that shouldn’t happen. Feed the man, dammit.
- Also quiet against Udinese? Paulo Dybala.
- Also quiet against Udinese? Juventus.
- Don’t worry, though, Max Allegri wasn’t quiet against Udinese. The field microphone will always get a workout whenever Max is roaming the sidelines — especially when Juve are playing pretty crappy like they did on Sunday.
- Raise your hand if you will even remember that Gigi Delneri got sent off in the second half. Go ahead and do it.
- I’d try to count how many crosses that Juventus players sent in ended up going to absolutely nobody or completely overshot their intended targets, but I don’t have as many fingers and toes to do so.
- With that said, Dybala’s cross on Bonucci’s goal was absolutely lovely. I believe some in this business of covering football would call that “a peach.” Yep, definitely a peach.
- Juventus playing like crap after a highly-emotional game against a rival like Napoli midweek. Maybe, just maybe, we should have seen a dud of a game like this coming.
- All in all, an eight-point lead is better than a seven-point lead, so I guess we should be happy that we’re talking about a draw rather than a loss. Thanks for that and that goal of yours, Leo Bonucci.