Not even the return of everybody’s favorite grumpy Croatian, a Cristiano Ronaldo double or Sami Khedira’s best game in months could get Juventus out of the sudden rut they find themselves in.
Not even being up by two goals twice could do it, either.
Juventus let Parma hang around. And because of it, here we are.
What looked like a return to winning ways for much of Parma’s visit to Turin on Saturday night was hardly the end result that those in attendance at Allianz Stadium saw on the scoreboard when the final whistle sounded. Parma, the same side that gave Juventus some issues when the two faced each other at the Tardini in the first day of September, clawed back from 2-0 and 3-1 down to absolutely steal a 3-3 draw against the currently-wobbling Serie A leaders.
Sure, the lead between Juventus and Napoli is now nine points instead of 11, which on the face of it isn’t the worst thing in the world.
But the way Juve are playing right now — not just the last couple of weeks but the last couple of months — what the lead atop the Serie A table is shouldn’t be the main issue. It’s the fact that this team has issues — serious ones at that — right now and not all of them can really be blamed on injuries.
Just look at how many goals this Juve team has allowed the last six days.
- 2-1 win over Lazio
- 3-0 loss to Atalanta
- 3-3 draw against Parma
Seven goals allowed in three games that span over less than a week.
That ain’t the Juventus that I know. That ain’t the Juventus that I love.
The worst part of it is, it’s not like Juve’s makeshift central defense partnership of Daniele Rugani and Martin Caceres was all that terrible, either.
Some bad marking by a couple of midfielders, a deflection off Rugani’s leg and Mario Mandzukic’s pretty questionable decision in an attempt to get himself and his team out of a jam by the corner flag got us all here.
That’s not going to fly against better teams in Serie A.
It’s definitely not going to fly against a team of Atletico Madrid’s caliber when the two teams meet in the Champions League later this month.
Not even a Ronaldo brace could save Juventus this night.
It wasn’t the attack that was the problem. Juventus improved their production in that area compared to the loss to Atalanta in the Coppa Italia a couple of days ago. But, like we’ve seen Juve do in the last few weeks, months and years, a lackadaisical mindset when trying to close out a game came back to burn them again.
And now that this team and its manager is under the microscope as much as its ever been in years, it’s the kind of deal that will get see even more heat thrown their way.
It makes Max Allegri’s recent rage even the more warranted. It will only continue to be that way until this team shows that it can fix the issues that have been ever-present not just this season but in the last few title-winning campaigns.
When that will actually happen, though, remains to be seen.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- If you want to keep your sanity, don’t check the BWRAO mentions on Twitter. Just throwing that out there.
- And I mean it. This was actually a relatively good game for Khedira ... outside of his ability to track back and do his marking on Parma’s first goal, that is.
- VAR did a good thing! That wasn’t a penalty at the end of the first half. And they went to VAR, saw that it was a foul by Caceres rather than a foul on him and correctly overturned it. Good job, VAR!
- Mattia Perin will get one of the worst WhoScored ratings on the Juventus team and he deserves none of it.
- In case you were wondering about Juventus’ injury situation, it didn’t get any better on Saturday. Now we are going to be sweating just how bad Federico Bernardeschis apparent rib injury is. (Based on how he was trying to breath coming off the field, it doesn’t look great.)
- Juventus had 76 percent of the possession in the first half, a nice 69 percent of the possession at the final whistle and didn’t win. Good times.
- Right before Mandzukic’s questionable decision making right by the corner flag, Caceres made a simply fantastic 1-on-1 tackle that looked destined to be something that tested Perin. It’s just a shame that it won’t be remembered as something that wrapped up a Juve win.
- Juventus’ website ran the headline “THIS JUVE SIDE NEVER GIVES UP!” after the comeback win over Lazio. That headline has not aged well.
- This game can be so, so stupid sometimes and I don’t know what else to say other than that.