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Landmarks of Turin Awards: S.P.A.L. vs Juventus Edition

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That was ... woof.

Spal v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

These are the kinds of games that, according to most Juventus fans, Juventus win. These are the kinds of games that, according to most Juventus fans, Napoli (or Inter, or whomever) lose. These are the ugly kind of wins that make Juventus Juventus.

With a chance to go seven provisional points clear of the table, the Bianconeri blew it. The reason they blew it isn’t too easy to pin down. I actually thought Juventus played fairly well in the first half, although there were just one or two chances, and I fully expected S.P.A.L. to fold in the second half, or make some stupid decision leading to a red card or penalty, or Juventus to see a moment of brilliance from Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain or Douglas Costa.

There was no magic. Max Allegri’s men failed.

There was, instead, what appeared to be a lack of commitment to runs, motion, movement. The second half was disjointed, as if an inebriated high schooler were performing vital organ surgery on a patient.

And so, Juve fans, it’s time to face it: Juventus aren’t immune to blowing it. This was a terrible, no-good mistake, and it may well cost a Scudetto.

Aperitivi

A tantalizing collection of titillating tidbits.

  • Like I said, for me it’s difficult to put a finger on what exactly went wrong. It did seem like there was a palpable lack of energy, so maybe it’s just sheer fatigue — the absence of Juan Cuadrado, Federico Bernardeschi, and Marko Pjaca was bound to catch up with Juventus at some point. Maybe this was it.
  • My least favorite take after a game like this is the take of extremity: pull the plug! Fire Allegri! Juventus must change their logo or else!
  • That said, some of the infighting that occurs after poor match results is quite entertaining. Feel free to keep that up. And since we’re like 80 percent sure that Allegri reads BWRAO devotedly, even “ravenously” one might say, then be sure to unleash all your takes and fixes for this squad so that Mr. Coach Man can read them and we can win the Champions League and 402 Scudetti and we can all throw a BWRAO super-party in New York City with strobe lights and disco balls and then randomly the Juventus zebra is there and Bernardeschi shows up in a fedora. Yay!
  • My take: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Probably it was a combination of players being tired after lots of games, the attack being several players too thin, SPAL playing out of their minds, and Juve getting no luck.
  • If Giorgio Chiellini is hurt, that is bad. If you have any spare goats, doves, calves, etc. to sacrifice to the gods, please start now!
  • This is the kind of game that deserves no Giuseppe Garibaldi award, but if there was a man of the match for Juventus it may have been Mattia De Sciglio. The kid is like in Age of Empires when you build double walls and then upgrade them and you have keeps everywhere just mowing down attacks, and then he’s randomly gotten pretty good vision and cross-field missiles, so that’s cool.

Onto the awards:

Italian Teenager Gaggle Award

For the unit embodying the following descriptors: incoherent, waste of space, frustrating.

Pipita and La Joya were not very good. It’s true. But pretty much everybody wasn’t very good, but I think the two prized attackers deserve it the most, and poor Costa gets roped in here since this is a “unit” award, though he was virtually the only shred of danger. I think even the complaint against Costa that he was too predictable doesn’t totally hold water, as MDS isn’t really the offensive support that even — God help me — the Swiss Express is. I think it’s fine, and nothing to worry about, but MDS and the tiny little Brazilian with cheetah’s feet need to work on their chemistry.

But Pipita: Touch was off, my man. I feel like Higuain had a couple half-windows where he should’ve just fired at goal.

And Dybala: Not much there. The free kick was relatively close, but at this point we expect him to do a bit better than that.

Nietzsche’s Horse Award

For the player whose play demonstrated an insanity indicative of a serious decline in form.

For some time now, Miralem Pjanic has not been very good. At first I was sort of thinking, “Oh, it’s just because the competition is tough,” you know against Spurs and other non-Serie A basement dwellers.

But then we saw Claudio Marchisio’s effect in the Udinese game. And we just saw Pjanic against SPAL — not great, Bob. He looks really tentative in distribution. He looks borderline panicked against the press, even a SPAL press.

Juventus have two full weeks to think on this, and you can bet it won’t be a very fun two weeks for them.