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Manu’s Grab Bag: Missed Connection

A frustrating day for Juventus in southern Italy, as they draw with Lecce.

US Lecce v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

Well, that happened.

In a day defined by missed chances by Juventus, the final score of 1-1 was entirely not reflective of how the actual game went down. However, rather unfortunately for Juve, scoring chances missed where the goal is wide open is not a statistic that is taken into account for the result, so here we are.

Let’s get right to it.

Trending Up: Rodrigo Bentancur

If you want to make the case that Juventus could survive Miralem Pjanic’s expected injury absence, here is your best argument. Bentancur has been playing really well as of late, and when Pjanic left the game he deputized the position pretty competently.

The young Uruguayan has been used as a bit of a Swiss army knife of a midfielder this season, playing in every position in Maurizio Sarri’s midfield and doing a pretty damn good job at it. He might have to keep doing that with Pjanic out.

Trending Down: Federico Bernardeschi and Matthijs de Ligt

He was unlucky and, honestly, kind of not his fault? But de Ligt, again, cost Juventus a penalty that ended up being the deciding factor in the tie. There’s an old baseball saying that says that the ball will always find you, and lately the ball seems to be finding de Ligt constantly.

In this occasion it was a deflection that immediately struck de Ligt’s hand, there was nothing he could do in that spot, but the ball found him nevertheless. He continues to struggle in his adaptation to Italian football and despite not being completely at fault for this one, the narrative will continue to be he was once again a liability. It might be time to give Daniele Rugani or Merih Demiral a shot and allow de Ligt to have a bit of a break.

As for Bernardeschi ...

I, mean, you gotta score that, I don’t care, you have to score that chance. He didn’t have an awful game, but you gotta score those opportunities no matter what.

Fraud Check: Inter Milan

With Juventus dropping points, Inter had a golden opportunity to regain the lead in the Serie A standings with Parma visiting the San Siro. How did that go for them?

A tie coming from an egregiously wrong offside goal? Cool, cool. Inter once again showing that they are and forever will be frauds.

Panic Button Update: Miralem Pjanic injury

Forget the dropped points against a team that you should have beaten. Pjanic’s injury is the real concern for Juventus going forward. I have been quick to praise Pjanic in this space, and rightfully so — through three months of the season you could make the case he has been the best and most influential player for Juventus. So, seeing him being subbed off due to an injury was obviously not ideal.

There is still not an official report on the status of the injury so we don’t know if he will actually miss any games, but with a midweek fixture versus Genoa looming on Wednesday it sure seems like a possibility that Juventus will have to do without the Bosnian midfielder. That’s a scary proposition.

Panic Button Status:

Most Random Cristiano Ronaldo Advertisement of the Week

Another talking point of the game is how, in a game defined by Juventus’ lack of clinical finishing, Ronaldo was left in Turin to give him some rest. I think it’s fair to say that maybe Ronaldo would have buried one of the many chances left on the table for Juventus, but that is not what this space is for. This space is to highlight another random Ronaldo endorsement.

The things I always enjoy the most about this section is how Ronaldo endorses things that he very clearly does not use himself — and listen, there’s not really a problem with that. I bet you that all athletes endorse stuff purely for money, but you would think they would at least try to endorse something that you could think they use.

My point is that Ronaldo has a KFC endorsement and the man has less body fat than you would find in one single drumstick of that fine establishment.

You decide what’s more unbelievable, that Ronaldo actually ate that piece of chicken or that in the ad he scores of a free kick.

GIF I tried to submit to Danny instead of a column

Parting Shot of the Week

If you want to be nice about the game, Juventus was probably due for a clunker like this one. The team is in the midst of a brutal schedule with midweek fixtures galore and a game like this one was bound to happen.

Thankfully Inter went out and Intered their match against Parma and we can rest easy knowing Juventus is still leading the league. With yet another quick turnaround looming, there won’t be a lot of time for the Bianconeri to lick their wounds before having to play Genoa on Wednesday.

Hopefully by then they will have their kicking boots and we can avoid another frustrating outing such as this one.

See you all Wednesday.