Toward the middle of the Juventus-Bologna game thread, I posted three options as to what kind of Juventus we could possibly see on Sunday afternoon.
Here’s a quick refresher:
- Juventus could look exactly like the team that struggled in the second half against Atlético Madrid and risk their unbeaten run in Serie A this season.
- Juventus could look extremely angry and score a ton of goals before halftime to put relegation-threatened Bologna away before halftime.
- Juventus could just go through the motions, put out a completely uninspiring effort in a 1-0 win.
If you had what was behind Door No. 3, then you win a big old congratulations in the BWRAO comment section, boy and girls.
There was no glitz or glam to this game, my friends. There was no kind of sense of urgency or substance that told you Juventus was even all that invested in their trip to Bologna. Instead, Juventus put forth one of those efforts where pretty much one moment of competence up front proved to be the deciding factor in a win and a draw. That came courtesy of Paulo Dybala, who came off the bench to score in his second straight Serie A fixture to give Juventus the 1-0 win over Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
Combine Dybala’s game-winning goal with Mattia Perin’s game-clinching save right at the beginning of stoppage time and you have the only two memorable things that Juventus players did on Sunday afternoon.
This was a bad performance. It was a very, very bad performance. It’s not going out on a limb by any means to say that Juventus were the second-best team on the field, and for a good portion of the time it wasn’t very close at all. Juve looked every bit of the club that was completely rattled by its midweek result and hadn’t fully recovered both physically and mentally for their return to league play.
Passes were going high, wide and completely away from their intended targets. A Juve attack that fielded two of its usual front three couldn’t even muster a double-digit shot total. And, even though Perin was forced into three saves, Juventus’ defense was certainly much busier than they were when the two teams met in the Coppa Italia a month and a half ago.
So what does all of this mean?
I really have no idea.
Juventus’ focus, right now at least, is most certainly still on the Champions League. It was the topic of conversation that dominated Max Allegri’s press conference on Saturday afternoon. It was certainly what dominated the conversation on this corner of the internet ever since Wednesday’s result came down.
I guess you could say that Juventus was technically on the Dall’Ara field on Sunday, but their minds were obviously elsewhere. Maybe it’s a good thing they have an entire week in between this game and the trip to Naples next weekend.
Lord knows Juventus just need a break to try and hit the reset button a little bit.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Not exactly the nicest way to get to 69 points on the season, but hey, there ya go.
- I usually rock with Juventus no matter how poorly they are playing at any given time, but I have to admit that there were definitely plenty of “Shut the laptop down and go back to bed” thoughts going through my head after that first half.
- The Federico Bernardeschi as a mezalla experiment — not great!
- Don’t know where Cristiano Ronaldo’s mind was on Sunday, but it definitely was not in Bologna. That was about as ineffective as
- Any regular reader of this site knows how much of a fan I am of Rodrigo Bentancur, but I really have no idea how he was rated close to an 8 by WhoScored. I know he contributed a lot defensively — and the team-high six interceptions are proof of that — but his passing was about as inconsistent as we’ve seen in a while and it’s not exactly like he was the creative hub of the midfield Juventus needed with Miralem Pjanic starting on the bench.
- Was Riccardo Orsolini’s main task after coming on to try and run over every single Juventus player he was going in on a tackle on? Because it sure did seem like it.
- People were mad that Allegri brought on Giorgio Chiellini in the final minutes. But really, with how Juve were basically asking for Bologna to get a game-tying goal in the dying minutes of that one based on how poorly they were playing, it only seemed like the logical move. Juve have much, much bigger issues than Chiellini coming on for a couple minutes to help out defensively.
- This team looks so tired — both in their legs and in their heads. They need a break.
- And yet, the Serie A lead is up to 16 (!!) points. For at least a couple of hours. It’s still February, by the way.