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Manu’s Grab Bag: Juve get the holiday blues

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Let’s talk about how we are for sure not worried about Leo Bonucci.

Atalanta BC v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

I remember as a young lad, we would sometimes spend Christmas with some wealthy relatives of ours. And I do mean wealthy — stuffed African Lion in the living room kind of wealthy. Owns a Ferrari just because we can, even though we don’t use it and can’t really a handle a manual transmission kind of wealthy. Alas, F-you Money.

Despite that, I got along fine with them; my cousins were roughly the same age as myself and we liked most of the same stuff. They were slightly pretentious at times, but nothing that was truly awful. The only thing I remember hating was when the unwrapping of the gifts came along. Every time, these kids would get a bunch of stuff — video games, clothes, toys, you name it.

And they were never happy about it, not once. Sure, they did get the gaming console they asked for and like eight games, but not the exact eight games they wanted. Right, thanks for the brand new Real Madrid kit — of course they were Real Madrid fans — but why didn’t we get the alternate version, too?

As a kid, the natural reaction was to get jealous, but as we got older and I started to realize how bonkers the whole situation was, it started to become hilarious. It quickly became the best part of the day for me. I would be giddy, waiting to see what awesome stuff they were getting and how they would find some aspect of it to be nitpick-y as hell about it. At some point I even started to purposefully needle them about it.

“Oh man, you got the blue Rolex, instead of the gold Rolex? That sucks, might as well toss it, worthless trinket in my opinion. You’re correct about this one, mate. Nothing wrong about your perceptions about money, gifts, Christmas and general attitude towards life.”

Fun fact, they thought I was being serious until we were like, 17. They found out about a lot of stuff that year like sarcasm, irony and people with less money than the GDP of a small nation, it was a big year for them.

Given the time of year and how Juventus fans reacted to Wednesday’s 2-2 draw against Atalanta, I couldn’t help to be reminded of my cousins.

Here are some facts of the season: Juve leads Serie A by a significant margin, placed first in their Champions League group, got Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, has lost zero (0) times in Serie A and only twice (2) in all competitions, is comfortably ranked in the top 3 in every single ranking in the world and will most likely, at the very least, win another Serie A title this season.

Was this game a bit of a clunker? Sure. Did Juve need Ronaldo’s heroics to rescue a point in a game that would have been a great chance to rest the guy? Absolutely. But let’s all take a deep breath and remember that Juve, and any team if we are being serious, is bound to have a couple of these type of games a season.

Sure, the Rolex we got today is not the color we preferred, but it’s still a freakin Rolex, you feel me?

Let’s cook.

Panic button update on … Leo Bonucci

He is still settling in, right? Like, it’s only — checks calendar — the end of December? He’s played a bunch of games already, you say? Well I’m sure it’s a tough transition to go back to the same club you played for years, right? I’m sure he will definitely not miss his mark in a crucial moment against Atletico Madrid, no way, absolutely not. Dude is rock solid.

I’m 100 percent confident in him and would not in any way start Medhi Benatia or Daniele Rugani over him, no sir, not at all.

I’m staring at the panic button, can’t look away anymore, but still not close to pushing it… yet.

The “Still a kid” award

My other large adult son had a very disappointing game. This blog has been quick to sing the praises of Rodrigo Bentancur, but man, did the young gun show his age on this one. He still had bright moments of play, especially at the beginning with a dangerous shot and his usual good movement, but he cooled off immediately after that and got red carded early in the second half after getting his second booking of the day on a couple of rather careless tackles.

He’s still brimming with potential, but it’s clear Bentancur is still not quite an elite, day-in and day-out type of guy.

Still, rather incredibly, he had a better game than our next award winner.

The “Casper” memorial award

Shouts, my guy, Hunter.

I’m going to ask three questions.

Did you know Sami Khedira played 65 minutes on Wednesday? Top of your mind, did he do anything noteworthy on those 65 minutes, good or bad? Would I — or you, reader — been able to lace them up and have a similar impact in the game?

The answers in order:

  • Yes, but it somehow felt more and less than that, at the same time. If that’s even possible.
  • No
  • No, obviously, but I thought about it for a second and I bet you thought about it, too. And that seems indictment enough.

It’s amazing, honestly, to see a guy play for that amount of time and contribute nothing, I almost have to admire him for it. Khedira is clearly washed and Max Allegri still keeps trotting the guy out there to jog for a bit and “play.” Great job if you can get it. Keep cashing dem checks, Sami.

This week’s reminder that … Football is hard, you guys.

Brother, that was a heck of on an own goal for Atalanta defender Berat Djimisti, truly worthy of the Sunday League.

We get so used to professional football players doing incredible things on the pitch like playing pinpoint passes from 30 yards out, screaming shots that go right into the net and daring dribbles that leave defenders seeing double, that we forget that trying to make contact with a round object made of synthetic materials, with your lower extremities, careening at a high speed towards you is an objectively hard thing to do, a thing that the majority of people on earth lack the coordination, reflexes and physical ability to do it effectively.

What I’m saying is, I’ve been there, Berat.

I’ve been there.

Song of the week for … Juventus FC

You can’t always get what you want, by The Rolling Stones!

I bet the boys sure would have liked to have those three points, but they got what they needed.

And I sure would have liked the black Juventus kit for Christmas, but goddamn, did I for sure needed socks and formal wear. Shoutout, my mom, knowing better than me since 1993.

That’s it for today; the grab bag team wishes you all happy holidays and a happy new year!

Have a take? Question? Had a random thought and need to express it to someone? Write in to BWRAOmailbag@gmail.com to get featured.