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March’s Monthly Juventus Thoughts: Talkin’ louder, but sayin’ nothin!

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The season’s climax is almost upon us, but there’s still much to do as Juventus negotiated the short but interesting month of March!

SSC Napoli v Juventus FC - TIM Cup Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

March was short and sweet with four Juve games packed into two weeks, with the international break taking up the rest of the month. That said, there’s always something interesting to talk about if you dig deep enough. Let’s get talkin’ then!

Like a dull knife

Just ain't cutting

Smooth Sailing?

The ship continues to sail steadily forward. The wins aren’t pretty, but the team continues to demonstrate its ruthless efficiency in getting the three points in nearly every occasion. The Udinese game was almost a costly hiccup — it very well could, and perhaps should, have ended in a loss — but the team got the message and largely put things back into place after that. The injuries have mostly subsided (more on that later) and, quite interestingly, Juventus seems to be one of the most stable teams in Europe at moments in terms of form. You wouldn’t think it based on occasional doom and gloom we see on the blog, but it can be useful to cast your eyes above to take a look at our counterparts in other leagues. The season is coming to a close and, for the most part, the team is in decent shape. Still much to do though…

Just talking loud

Then saying nothing!

Controversy

Being a Juventus fan can be one of the most entertaining affairs in the world. I’ve learned so much about the Italian language, culture, and ‘dubious’ habits in all the years that I’ve supported La Vecchia Signora. There are parts I love about the Italian people — the passion, the pure energy and life in their voices, the curious elegance of their culture. However, if there’s one part that I absolutely detest, it’s the nonsensical love affair that Italians have with controversy. It’s extraordinary how much Italians love to talk and talk and talk and talk about controversy. If it’s not there, they’ll find a way to create it.

Why am I bringing this up? Surely it’s obvious.

The absolute shitstorm that ensued after the Napoli and Milan games was truly a sight to behold. I was amazed to see just how incensed our opponents were after (particularly) the Napoli game and the dramatic 2-1 victory against Milan. With regards to the Napoli game, I didn’t give a damn about the whiny losers that disgracefully slandered the officials. However, the Milan game had me in two minds. I hate winning like this and I especially hate winning like this when there’s such a terribly sour taste to it all. It’s extraordinarily unpleasant. Every penalty we get now has me wincing in discomfort.

That aside, there is a more concerning, human aspect to this debate. This disrespectful practice of incessantly questioning the integrity of the referee must stop. It’s one thing to question the validity of a referee’s decision, it’s a whole different thing to question the integrity of a human being. The allegations thrown at these referees are absurd and can lead to a fundamental break of trust in the system.

“The problem with this world is that the intelligent people are so full of doubt and the stupid people so full of confidence.”

Charles Bukowski

To see just how easily this kind of persistent disrespect for referees can escalate, just look at the recent referee strike in the Mexican league. They were sick and tired of handling this constant verbal (and physical?) abuse from players and managers and thus choose to draw a line to it. Huge credit to them for taking such a brave, and justified, stance and to stand up for themselves.

The problem is that this is all gonna sound like privileged nonsense coming from me because, hey, I’m a Juventino so of course I’m gonna be saying this... right? Well, I can’t do much to change any skepticism or apprehension; I can only assure you that I say this as a human being without any ulterior motive whatsoever. These are human-fucking-beings, people. Human beings that want to be respected, feel safe, and that try to do their jobs the best they can. The type of abuse they suffer, not just in Italy, but also in cases such as the recent Barca-PSG game, the United v Chelsea FA Cup semifinal, and elsewhere has to stop.

“It would be inadmissible if I would vent my opinion publicly. Not only could I harm the artist concerned seriously because people have so much respect for me and believe in me because of my musical accomplishments. And I could also antagonize people against me, because everyone has his own taste. We all make music, people can choose from that what they like. Every musician likes his own music the best, man. I don't want to attack that. I don't mind criticism, I can handle it, but most people can't"

– Fela Kuti

Broken

The most depressing news of the month was, of course, the devastating notice that our golden boy Marko Pjaca suffered an ACL injury while on international duty with Croatia. It’s horrible news for the young player who finally seemed to have found his feet in a new environment, league, and country.

Pjaca is a wonderful player who can become a valuable part of the Juve setup. After gathering a decent sample size of his playing time, I have begun to understand him more as a player. I think he’s a useful and different tactical option for the team because of his extremely direct nature, remarkable pace, and impressive physique. He’s a breath of fresh air when he comes on and when he starts a game.

But after 50-60 minutes of play ... he fades away. The novelty of his trickery wears off and he seems to run out of ideas. Thus, he’s seems to be one of those “sub off in minute 60” guys. This is not meant as criticism; the poor kid has only been here for less than a year. But clearly, he still has a long way to go until he’s trusted with the big games against the big boys. That makes the timing of this injury all the more painful. Who knows the person he’ll be after he comes back; will he be the same bright kid as before (or will he be as broken as Avatar Korra was after her traumatic experiences)? Who knows…

When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest changeAvatar Aang

Rollin, rollin, rollin

Paulo Dybala is a mesmerizing player. A brilliantly creative mind who has dazzled us with his free-kicks, fantastic goals, and remarkable dribbles. The one thing, however, that he has not impressed me with of late is his infuriating, irritating play-acting antics and excessive rolling after being fouled. I love the guy, but I have to say outright that I find it utterly deplorable and completely unnecessary behavior.

It covers him in very bad light and is just terrible to witness. I understand that he’s a small player and gets affected by touches more easily, but if he has won a foul, isn’t that enough? Why the need to roll and roll and roll? I really do hope that Allegri has a word with him about this because if he sustains this type of behavior, it will undoubtedly haunt him like a plague in the future. Look at how someone like Neymar is (probably harshly) chastised for his reactions and/or “unsportsmanlike antics” every game. This behavior primes/biases referees and opposing defenders negatively against Dybala: “ooh here he goes again, the little @#!$

We care about you deeply, Joya, so please show us only the beautiful side to your play. It’s more than enough to get the better of opponents.