It’s been a while since Juventus had one of those games. You know, the kind of game where they get a lead in the first half, essentially shut things down to a lower gear and then end up dropping points because of one or two mistakes after allowing the opposition to hang around.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Genoa checked all of the boxes.
- There was the first-half goal courtesy Cristiano Ronaldo.
- There was Juventus not being able to add onto its lead despite having more than enough goal-scoring opportunities both before and after halftime.
- There was the lack of a true sense of urgency to get a second or third goal as the game went on.
- And, of course, there was Genoa scoring on one of its lone legit chances all game long, taking advantage of Juventus’ defense falling absolutely asleep — Leonardo Bonucci most notably — after everybody in bianconero pretty much assumed that an attempted clearance was about to go out for a corner kick.
Add it all up and you have Juventus dropping points for the first time this season in Serie A.
See? One of those games.
As much as we wanted to see Juventus continue their pre-October international break form that we saw earlier in the month, a game like this was bound to happen. The good thing is that it happened now rather than, say, when there’s more riding on a game that Juve should have won. (I don’t even know if that makes total sense, but whatever.)
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Juve weren’t going to run the table, they weren’t going to remain perfect in league play and, as is the case with any team, there’s always going to be games where it just leaves you frustrated with the result rather than completely satisfied with how things went.
We’ve seen plenty of results like this in the past under Max Allegri (as well as previous managers). Juve have had their issues with mid- or bottom-of-the-table sides already this season. In those cases, they were able to overcome and dispatch of those minor setbacks and claim wins to make you kinda forget about what had happened earlier in the game.
This time around, though, there was none of that. Once Genoa got the equalizer, they parked it and defended their asses off to ensure they’d leave Turin with a point. It didn’t matter which attacking threat Allegri brought on in the second half, there was no complete answer when it came to unlocking Genoa’s defense.
So it goes.
These things happen.
And hey, if Juventus can use this kind of result as a kick in the tail going forward — you know, starting with Manchester United on Tuesday night — to right the glaring wrongs that prevented them from getting another three points Saturday, then it will end up being a net positive.
For now, though, I’m still grumpy. That kind of game will always make me grumpy.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Is Leonardo Bonucci still standing still in the six-yard box and ball watching while Genoa goes and scores a goal? Asking for a friend.
- A couple minutes before Genoa’s equalizer, Krzysztof Piatek nearly got on the scoresheet once again with a pretty wide-open header. I’ll let you try and guess who was marking him.
- Sometimes there are goals where all you can do is nod your head and basically accept what happened. Then there are those like the one Genoa scored where you really only have yourself to blame for what just happened. Juventus allowed a bad goal Saturday night — and they are the only ones to blame for it taking place.
- Based on his subs, you can’t say that Max Allegri didn’t go for it. Three attacking players subbed on, one midfielder taken off. The result just didn’t result in a goal.
- Douglas Costa came on in the second half for Juan Cuadrado and went on to look like a guy who hadn’t played in a month. Funny how that works.
- Paulo Dybala came on in the second half for Blaise Matuidi — a very attack-minded kind of move based on how the game had suddenly turned — and came close to proving to be the kind of spark Juventus needed. The key word here is “almost” because both of his scoring chances went just wide.
- That being said, could Moise Kean been a useful second-half sub? Asking for a friend.
- Just throwing it out there, but I’m totally okay with Joao Cancelo being Juventus’ starting right back for the next, oh, seven or eight years. What a signing he has been. (Yes, I know he was one of the players to fall asleep on Genoa’s goal, but good lord was Cancelo awesome in the first half.)
- Miralem Pjanic had more key passes in the first half than Genoa had as an entire team.
- Can we get Federico Bernardeschi some more starts? With how well he’s played this season, you’d think his last start against Serie A opposition would be a lot more recent than on Sept. 23 against Frosinone.
- Juventus’ crossing was so good in the first half and then absolutely went to hell in the second half. Not exactly what you want to do when that was your main way of putting pressure on Genoa’s backline during your best run of play earlier in the game.
- But hey, at least we got to laugh at Manchester United again today, right? So there’s that. (Tuesday should — hopefully — be fun.)