Sunday was a big day for Juventus. It started with them rolling out their new kits — which, regardless of what you actually think of them, is going to send people to the club website to drop some money on the new merch. The Juve store in Rome was flush with the new gear, and the social media accounts made you well aware of the fact that that the Italian capital was just that much more flush with black and white.
It was all in anticipation of Juventus’ visit to the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma, a side that was looking to keep its somewhat-fading Champions League hopes alive with a win over their bitter rivals from Turin.
And as bad as some of us think Juve’s new kits are, their performance in the final 15 minutes against Roma pretty much resembled that.
Goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Edin Dzeko not only made Juventus’ defense look pretty bad in the process, but also gave Roma’s European hopes a major boost with a 2-0 win over the eight-time Italian champions. It was, as we’ve pretty much come to expect from this Juve team over the last couple of months, the kind of performance
Case in point: It’s the 87th minute, Roma’s got their 1-0 lead in hand and are dropping players back to defend their slim advantage. Max Allegri has finally thrown on his last two subs, Alex Sandro and Joao Cancelo. Instead of showing a major sense of urgency, Juve are just calmly passing the ball around in Roma’s half of the field. There’s no real danger to it. Just back and forth from right wing to left wing, nothing that’s testing and putting Roma’s defense under pressure, nothing of true consequence.
The only true cross to come out of it proved to be one where Juventus got called for offside.
And so it goes.
Yes, it’s true that Juventus should have scored if it wasn’t for the exploits of Antonio Mirante — yes, another one of Gigi Buffon’s talented backups — in goal Sunday night. But, when you look at the end product of what this game was, it’s pretty much the same thing that we’ve been saying for weeks before, during and after Juve plays. One team played like it had a whole lot riding on the result while the other team had nothing truly to play for at all outside of pride.
In those three games since Juve clinched the Scudetto, they’ve claimed all of two of a possible nine points.
That’s not good.
Neither has Juve’s end product been.
But we should have expected that — both by how they’ve played for much of the season and knowing that there’s no Champions League action to keep them in check.
Good on Roma for taking advantage of it, though. They played the wait-and-strike game perfectly — and got rewarded for it 100 percent.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Cristiano Ronaldo mocked Alessandro Florenzi for being short and then Juventus went on to give the game right to Roma. I don’t wanna say that’s what kicked Roma into gear, but sometimes karma just comes back to bite you in the ass.
- This game just reinforced the same thought I’ve had for the better part of the last decade: Never retire, Giorgio Chiellini. Please play forever because I have no idea how Juventus’ defense is going to survive without you.
- He didn’t have all that great of a game, but it was very difficult to not think of Nico Zaniolo in a Juventus uniform whenever his name was called out on the broadcast. (You know what to do, Mr. Paratici.)
- The Leonardo Spinazzola-Alessandro Florenzi battle was a fun one — especially since neither of them are all that strong on the defensive end. Both of them looked gassed at the
- I don’t know about you, but Florenzi’s goal — mostly the whole chip and then little hop over the on-rushing keeper — reminded me of this one from Claudio Marchisio against Fiorentina. That goal was 10 years ago. TEN YEARS. MAN. (Miss you, Claudio. So, so much.)
- Juan Cuadrado missed a glorious scoring chance in the first half — one of Antonio Mirante’s handful of fantastic saves — and then was barely heard from again the rest of the night. Another frustrating Cuadrado game, that’s for sure.
- Isn’t it funny where Paulo Dybala is played as more of a natural striker and he’s actually involved in things rather than being stuck out on the wing all game long? That’s crazy, I know.
- You think this game was screaming out for somebody like Moise Kean in the second half? Stupid, stupid fever. (Please get better, Moise.)
- Just in case Juventus needed any more players injured, it looked like the reason why Miralem Pjanic was replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur in the second half was because of ... an injury. Shocking, right?
- People will be mad, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal being ruled out was the right call. Good job, VAR — even if you took away a goal from my favorite team.
- In conclusion, after the “Let’s wait and see what they look like on the players in an actual game” test, these new kits aren’t very good.