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Takes on Takes: Derby d’Italia Edition

Hot takes were made for the Derby d’Italia...

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images


I’d like to think we can all be rational here. We can be totally unbiased, thoroughly understand where everyone is coming from, shake hands, and move on. Now, with all that being said…

Matias Vecino definitely deserved to be sent off. Miralem Pjanic definitely deserved to be sent off. Luciano Spalletti is an idiot for taking off Mauro Icardi and putting on Davide Santon (and Borja Valero for that matter).

We’re all in agreement? Fantastic.

Vecino’s stomp on Mario Mandzukic was incredibly dangerous, and the large gash on Mario’s ankle was all the evidence any ref needed for sending him off. Also, Mario is such a goddamn warrior for playing as long as he did after that. He (obviously) wasn’t the most effective, but that kind of fighting spirit is why Juve have been on this ridiculous run.

Miralem Pjanic 1,000 percent should’ve gotten a second yellow for his tackle on Rafinha, and fans/pundits absolutely have a right to call BS on it. He was walking a tight rope before that challenge, and that should’ve been the final straw. I’ll talk more about Miralem in a little bit, but he should be counting his blessings. Side note — people do realize that even if he gets sent off there, the game is still 1-1 with 10 a side? It wasn’t a mortal lock that Juve would’ve dropped points, but I digress…

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

As for Spalletti’s substitutions, what on earth was he thinking? Taking off your captain and (by far) your best player in the biggest match of the year is idiotic. I get that you have a lead, but why not take off Antonio Candreva or Ivan Perisic? Santon wasn’t good enough to play at Newcastle, and you’re going to bring him on against Juve’s frontline? And if you’re totally packing it in, than why bring on Borja Valero? I know Inter doesn’t have to the deepest team in Serie A (what a shame), but you have to do better if you’re Spalletti.

“Do Juve know they’re playing Inter with a title potentially on the line? Can someone please go onto the field and tell them?”

Result aside, I can’t believe how listless of a performance this was from Juve…(re-watches highlights from SPAL and Crotone matches)…actually, I totally can believe it.

Juve slept walk through another game, this time a man up in one of the biggest matches of the year against a bitter rival. They thankfully woke up just in time, but this has been a growing problem over the second half of the season. I believe this team has become a victim of their own success, and to some degree you can understand. After losing in heartbreaking fashion in the one competition that arguably means the most to the team its supporters, I’m sure morale has been low around the squad. However, it by no means justifies the kind of performances they’ve been putting on the pitch lately. A lot of these guys are champions, and just because they’ve already won a few Serie A titles doesn’t mean you can just assume you’ll win it again.

After the loss to Napoli, I read piece after piece about how this was possibly the end of an era, and time had finally caught up to Juve. While these views might have been a bit exaggerated, they are not entirely off base. This team does need a healthy amount of turnover over the next couple of years. The squad definitely needs to get younger, that’s a given. Not just for fresher legs and more skill, but for more desire. Getting players who haven’t necessarily enjoyed the success that this Juve team has had should be a top priority. The hunger and drive that those players are bound to have could become contagious throughout the squad. I never thought this would be an issue, but if it’s like this after six titles, I doubt the seventh will wake everyone up.

The main goal for Juve will continue to be that elusive Champions League title, but just flipping the switch on when it comes to that competition isn’t good enough anymore. The level of play among the big boys in Serie A is improving, and Juve can’t get complacent.

“Areas that need improvement: Midfield, midfield, midfield, then also maybe midfield”

Juve played a majority of this game against 10 men. For those keeping track at home, that is one less player then what Juve had on the field.

It has become so incredibly frustrating watching the middle of the park with this team. For a long time, I was a big defender of Pjanic. For all the technical quality he has, he has been a no-show too many times in big games for me to think the problem is just who he’s playing with. Sami Khedira has shown glimpses of his old self this season, but not enough that he should be starting for a team with aspirations like Juve have. Blaise Matuidi is a solid midfielder, but again, not one that should be starting in every big game. This team has so much attacking talent and skill, it’s a shame nobody can get them the ball consistently. Keeping possession against inferior teams shouldn’t be this much of a struggle.

We were incredibly spoiled with the Pirlo/Pogba/Vidal/fully-healthy Marchisio quartet a few years ago. Having that much midfield talent at the same time is almost impossible to recreate in this transfer market, but it just has to be better than it is now. Beppe, get to work.

“Mad Max is my favorite type of Max”

His post-match interviews after this one? Electric. Simply electric. Not entirely sure I agree with/understand that basketball analogy he made, but whatever.

Running onto the pitch —and getting sent off — to remind everyone the job wasn’t done yet? Classic perfectionist move, can never be too happy.

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

One thing I didn’t love, though, was that little back and forth with him and Paulo Dybala. Totally get trying to calm everyone down, but it’s becoming increasingly clear he doesn’t have a great relationship with Paulo. I really hope at the end of the year that Max, Beppe, and Paulo sit down and work this thing out. I believe the team needs to be built around Dybala going forward, and Max has to find a formation that brings the best out of him. He’s far too talented to just be another player in/out of the starting XI. We saw earlier in the year what he is capable of when he’s THE guy.

“We have Dybala and Higuain, so we’ve got a shot”

To continue that point, the above take is the same from earlier this season after the win against Tottenham at Wembley. It rang true again on Saturday.

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Actually, I’d like to make a slight adjustment...

“We have Dybala, Higuain, and Douglas Costa, so we’ve got a shot”

The Flash has been the MVP the last few weeks. If Juve manage to finish the job and make it seven in a row, the whole team can thank Costa for carrying them through April.

I’ll stop here, only because if I talk about Alex Sandro and the rest of the defense I’ll get mad online. For now, I’m just going to keep laughing at my desk at that picture of Icardi crying…never gets old.