At his pre-match press conference on Friday, Max Allegri described his Juventus team as “wounded dogs,” an obvious reference to what happened three days earlier in the Champions League. And based on the final score, it was easy to understand why Mr. Allegri used that choice of words rather heaping unwarranted praise on them.
So, what did we get from those wounded dogs?
Well, a win, for one. And a good amount of time to work on Dybala Mask positioning on our faces.
The road to three points was anything but routine for Juventus in their first game against Benevento at the Stadio Ciro Vigorito. Juve saw Benevento, dead-last in Serie A and destined to return to Serie B in a couple of weeks, battle back to level the score twice thanks to some not-so-great defending. Yet there was Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa to score a couple of absolutely beautiful goals and help Juventus claim a 4-2 win over Benevento.
(Insert the “WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE DONE THAT ON TUESDAY NIGHT, PAULO?” reaction that somebody is likely having as they sit with their laptop open while sporting their pajamas.)
You can chalk it up to a Champions League hangover. You can chalk it up to simple personnel breakdowns at inopportune times. Call it whatever you want, really. But the fact that Juventus — AGAIN! — had to essentially scratch and claw its way to a win over a Benevento side that has now allowed 73 goals on the season is a little tough to comprehend.
You might not think that would be the case when you realize that Dybala had his THIRD hat trick of the season and Douglas Costa scored one of Juve’s best goals of the season, but it’s the truth. The fact is, entering the 70th minute, this was a 2-2 game with Benevento having more than just one or two chances to try and take what would have been a pretty shocking lead.
Luckily that never happened.
And Costa scored THAT goal.
And Juve are, for at least 24 hours or so, up seven points over Napoli.
Could have been worse. In terms of Juve’s actual performance, it could have been better. But they got the three points — and, at this point, that’s maybe the biggest thing of them all.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I love when Claudio Marchisio plays. Maybe it’s because it’s becoming less and less frequent these days, but I really do love it.
- And he was Captain Claudio on Saturday, which brings up lots of feelings.
- So here’s the gripe: Marchisio was easily one of Juve’s best players against Benevento. Then, with about a half-hour left in the game, there’s Marchisio being subbed off and back on the bench. I don’t really get it, and I’m not really in the mood to hear the “he doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs” argument seeing as he went the full 90 in his last start.
- Marchisio-to-MLS rumors incoming before the weekend is over. Book it.
- Here’s your reminder that Juventus paid all of €12 million for Wojciech Szczesny last summer. At some point before Woj’s Juventus career comes to an end I’ll be able to spell his name without having to look it up to make sure I got it right, too.
- I decided to watch Justice League when I got home from work last night and then Douglas Costa goes and scores a goal like that. That’s what you call science, kids.
- There was no debate about who was taking the penalty kicks today, my friends.
- Dybala has 20 goals on the season and that comes after basically being benched for more than just a couple of weeks and then missed a month due to injury. I guess what I’m trying to say is that even with the frustration with Dybala that a lot of us had just a couple of days ago is that he’s a special player capable of special things. And he’s still just 24 years old.
- As much as I love beautiful goals being scored — and Juventus most definitely had a couple of those on Saturday — seeing this team continue to make self-inflicted mistakes in defense is just like constantly being punched in the gut by one of your best friends. Alex Sandro shouldn’t be falling asleep at the back post when a cross is about to come his direction. Medhi Benatia shouldn’t have his back to the ball when he’s defending a corner that has already been delivered. It’s just ... yeah.
- Soooooo ... who’s ready for another game against Real Madrid on Wednesday?
- Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?