We should have known it would be a weird — and probably disappointing — day when the announcer on the world feed continued to say that Juventus’ manager was named Massimo Allegri.
Maybe it was the new buzzcut.
Massimo, Massimiliano, whatever the first name may be. This was the final day of a guy with the last name of Allegri patrolling the sidelines for Juventus both this season and the foreseeable future. The end product was what we’ve seen a lot of from Juventus since they clinched the Scudetto five weeks ago — not much to write home about. This time, in front of a crowd at the Luigi Ferraris that was ready to celebrate one last Fabio Quagliarella goal, Juve’s post-Scudetto slump reached its apex on the final day of the 2018-19 season, as a pair of late Sampdoria goals handed the eight-time defending Serie A champions a 2-0 loss on Sunday night.
And with that, it’s a wrap.
A season that started with such lofty goals has come to an end.
But since I referenced it, let’s just go ahead and check back on what Juventus has done since clinching the Scudetto against Fiorentina last month:
- 1-1 draw against Inter
- 1-1 draw against Torino
- 2-0 loss to Roma
- 1-1 draw against Atalanta
- 2-0 loss to Sampdoria
So, to recap: Five games played, zero wins, three draws, two losses, outscored 7-3 in the process. And, to add to that, Juventus didn’t record a clean sheet in any of its last 10 games in all competitions. Not exactly finishing the season on a high note, now was that?
You can’t really blame Juventus for checking out in the slightest bit, though. All of these games have come after the Champions League elimination at the hands of Ajax, and at that point Juventus’ lead in Serie A was hanging out around the 20-point mark over Napoli. There have been injuries all over the place, with some of the starting lineups Allegri has rolled out there a clear mix between players who are clear-cut starters and ones that are much more suited for bench roles.
Sunday was no different. Allegri had as many goalkeepers called up as he did strikers, with two of his three subs made ending up being players from Juventus’ Under-23 team rather than names that people are the country and Europe will know the second they step up to the touchline to come on the field.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the final game of the season had this kind of performance. It’s basically been a month full of meh, and this was the cherry on top of it regardless of who the opposition has been and who’s been playing.
It’s not like Allegri’s tenure at Juventus is going to be remembered for these last five games, either. Five years of very good work is not going to be outweighed by a five-game stretch where the club had pretty much nothing to play for other than pride.
So, I guess as much as the last month might not have inspired a whole lot, we’ve got to take the context with it. I would have loved to see Allegri get a win in his final home game last weekend and his final game overall as Juve’s manager just so that this whole limping to the finish line thing wouldn’t have been such a talking point come the final whistle Sunday.
But, as Claudio Zuliani said come the end of the loss to Samp, it’s off to the Land of Transfer Rumors we go. And, to double down, managerial rumors, too. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- It’s Max Allegri, not Massimo Allegri. Thank you.
- Max’s haircut looks good. Shame he waited until now to bust it. (At least he’ll look good for the beach when he goes there in the next couple of days. So there’s that.)
- That free kick from Gianluca Caprari. Woof.
- Poor Carlo Pinsoglio. His first-ever start at the club he grew up at and the first goal he allows is a scuffed shot that catches him diving the wrong way as he expected it to go to his left and then sees Caprari hit a picture-perfect free kick into the top corner. Nothing he could do on either goal, really.
- Man oh man if Quagliarella had successfully connected on those handful of acrobatic scoring chances he had ...
- Juan Cuadrado definitely Juan Cuadrado’d, and that meant a lot of bad turnovers, lots of questionable decisions and moments where the play just seemed to come to a stop with the ball at his feet. Cuadrado will always be a frustrating player, and it remains to be seen just how he will fit into Juventus’ plans when a new manager is named in the coming weeks.
- This game was a frustrating end to what has certainly been a frustrating season for Paulo Dybala, who finishes the 2018-19 campaign with all of five league goals to his name. Obviously there’s a whole lot of uncertainty when it comes to Dybala’s future as well, with the new manager potentially being the tipping point in whether Juve’s No. 10 stays or is sold for what is almost certainly going to be a big amount of money.
- I would like Dybala to stay because a new manager with new ideas could very be the thing that gets Dybala back to looking like the one who was so worthy of getting the No. 10 shirt to begin with.
- Moise Kean registered three shots total, but nothing all too dangerous on goal that tested the Sampdoria goal. His best chance was one that was questionably called offside, too, so there’s that. There’s also this: In 90 minutes, Kean touched the ball all of 22 times. That’s ... not very good and something that continues to be the thing that is a common thread in a lot of Kean’s appearances in recent weeks. It’s hard for him to show off all that talent he has when he does even have the ball at his feet.
- Just for comparison, Manolo Portanova, who Allegri brought on in the 57th minute for an injured Emre Can, touched the ball 23 times.
- That’s a wrap, folks. I hope you’re all ready for loads of manager rumors because that’s what the next week or two will be regardless of who actually ends up getting the job.