The calendar is telling us that it’s the first day of September, and it’s safe to say that Juventus’ current crop of performances are telling us exactly that.
Once again, Juventus barely got out of first gear as they picked up another three points to open up the 2018-19 season. This time, a 2-1 win against Parma thanks to goals from Mario Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi allowed Juve to keep their perfect start to the season alive.
Well, the record is perfect.
The performances ... not so much.
In a season where patience and perspective seems to be relatively useless ideas or concepts because of the moves that were made over the summer, the first international break arrives with the first few showings not exactly blowing the socks off a lot of people’s feet.
Even with somebody like Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting lineup, Juve’s end product has looked a lot like it did for much of last season — get wins but rarely impress in terms of how the team actually plays. This isn’t some newfound thing for those of us who have followed this team in recent years. For as successful as Allegri has been, it’s not like there’s loads of examples of Juve blowing the doors off the opposition and absolutely rolling to three points.
There may be two very important but new parts to this squad — yes, I’m considering Leonardo Bonucci new.
For all we know, Max Allegri will have this team cookin’ when we come out of the international break two weeks from Sunday. He has things to correct, obviously, and it’s not just the fact that Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa have started on the bench against Lazio and Parma the last two Saturdays. With the attacking talent this team has and no matter what kind of combinations Allegri uses up front, barely putting any of the 24 total shots attempted on goal against Parma and really testing Luigi Sepe is something that’s going to stick with me more than anything.
There were chances. And the 24 shots taken shows that there was plenty of them, too.
But when it came down to the final product, there wasn’t much there outside of Mandzukic and Matuidi finding the back of the net.
No team is a finished product this early in September, let alone ones that are managed by somebody like Allegri who has been known to really get his teams going when the holidays arrive. And there’s no denying that there is plenty of room for this Juventus team to grow into.
The thing that still remains to be seen is, coming out of the international break, just how much they start to show us knowing that the schedule is about to get a lot busier in two weeks.
So, to recap: Juve grind out another win. Ronaldo still doesn’t have a goal. One of these things you’ll hear plenty about over the international break. The other, not so much.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Have you heard that Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t scored a goal through his first three games with Juventus? I know, it’s a shame they haven’t talked about this more often because it really is a big deal. (It’s not a big deal.)
- Mario Mandzukic’s assist on Matuidi’s game-winning goal — so pretty.
- Based on the BWRAO Twitter mentions after the game, people want Max Allegri fired. I guess some people want 12 points in three games.
- That Parma goalkeeper kit that Luigi Sepe was sporting looked awfully familiar...
- I respect Leonardo Bonucci for wanting to get back in the good graces of Juve supporters, but some of his marking — or clear lack of it — on the defensive end has resulted in two goals against opposition that don’t exactly light up the scoreboard. Of the things that Juve need to clean up coming out of the international break, that continued defensive breakdowns are certainly some of the most important to correct.
- Paulo Dybala marked his 100th appearance in Serie A for Juventus by touching the ball 14 times after he came on for Sami Khedira in the second half. Oh well.
- The Juan Cuadrado Experiment at right back went a lot better at the end of last season than it did against Parma. His performance, while praised by the announcers on my feed, wasn’t necessarily reassuring for the guy who’s writing this post.
- If you were hoping that Juve wouldn’t shut up shop after Matuidi’s goal put them up once again, you should probably go back and
- People want Allegri fired. I am amused.
- No, seriously, this is a thing.
- Alex Sandro attempted 11 crosses and didn’t land one of them, according to WhoScored. That’s something that probably needs to be improved upon.
- This international break is going to be insufferable for a number of reasons. Sassuolo coming over to Turin on Sept. 16 can’t come soon enough.