Based on how this season has gone, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise anymore for Juventus to play poorly for an extended period of any given match and cause us to have halftime thoughts that are “Here we go again...” more than anything else. That’s probably what most of us thought even before we saw Simone Verdi fake out Gigi Buffon and successfully convert a penalty kick midway through the first half.
And then Max Allegri decided to make a substitution at halftime.
That sub goes by the name of Douglas Costa.
That sub, Douglas Costa, then proceeded to turn the game completely in Juventus’ favor.
There were probably still some of those “Here we go again...” thoughts, but they were ones that involved Costa absolutely tearing apart the opponent’s defense and racking up assist after assist after assist.
After nearly getting the assist on his first touch of the game, Costa inspired Juve to their second straight comeback win, setting up both Sami Khedira and Paulo Dybala with absolutely beautiful pieces of skill to bail Juventus out in a 3-1 comeback win at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
No, it shouldn’t have come to the point where Costa is having to be the savior once again. That kind of first-half performance is something that we’ve seen all too often from this team this season.
And really, let’s be honest for a second here: Bologna entered the game with 11 wins on the season. Only one of those wins came against a team that is in the top half of the table, so it’s not like Bologna has been overly upset-heavy with their victories this season, essentially being the prototype middle table side that is just kinda there and not making a whole bunch of noise at any given point of the season.
You see the final stats and you would have thought Juve completely dominated Bologna. Juve outshot the opposition 15-6. They had two-thirds of the possession. Buffon only had to make two saves.
But then you remember one of those saves was a fantastic stop at the near post. Or that Juve had 64 percent of the possession in the first half and had pretty much nothing to show for it. It’s this kind of stuff where a bad first half is continually requiring either comeback attempt after comeback attempt or just drab games in general.
Basically what I’m trying to say is this: Thank goodness for Douglas Costa because he could very well have turned this weekend into one where Juventus celebrate another Scudetto being officially secured.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Okay, let’s play the blame game on what led up to Bologna’s goal: It’s more Gigi Buffon than Daniele Rugani. That pass, I expect better from Buffon every single time.
- Controversial opinion: Juventus ramping things up to score three goals after falling behind 1-0 is something I’m getting quite tired of. I’d much rather Juve come out firing and score a few goals THEN progressively scale things down rather than playing like crap for an entire half before showing some kind of urgency. It’s become way too common this season. Way, way, way too common.
- So, as the second half started, Juventus had a right winger playing right back, a natural central midfielder playing left back and a left back playing as a central-ish midfielder after playing the first half as a left winger. Sometimes you just gotta throw your hands up in the air and wonder what the hell is going on.
- With all of that being said, holy crap Douglas Costa is so freakin’ fun to watch right now.
- Fill in the blank, folks: If Douglas Costa scores that rabona, I __________.
- So who the hell is going to play right back against Roma?
- Were you surprised Claudio Marchisio was starting? Because as you could tell from when the game time thread went live, I was expecting Rodrigo Bentancur to fill in for Miralem Pjanic rather than Marchisio. Not that I’m complaining because my affinity for Claudio is pretty well estasblished at this point, but it’s definitely a pleasant surprise whenever Marchisio is in the starting lineup — and playing a full 90! — these days.
- I like games where Paulo Dybala scores goals. I don’t necessarily like games where it seems like Dybala goes an absolute half without doing much of anything at all. It was never going to be easy for Dybala with how many players Bologna were dropping behind the ball. Space to operate was most certainly going to be at a premium. But then you fire up WhoScored see Dybala had three key passes and completed 87.5 percent of his passes and reconsider your original thought that Dybala didn’t do that much outside of his goal.
- Good to see that Federico Bernardeschi got his customary seven minutes of playing time again. How he’s used next season is definitely going to be quite interesting.
- Over to you, Napoli.
- Or, according to some folks who have Serie A broadcasting rights in the United States, Juventus have already won the Scudetto.