The final friendly before the season opener always puts your favorite team’s manager in quite an interesting juxtaposition. He obviously wants his team to play well and show progress from the opening days of training to the current day, but he also wants to make sure that all of his biggest players are available to him for said season opener that’s just a handful of days away.
Another thing that’s more positive than negative: The overall performance is a lot more important than what the scoreboard actually says come the end of 90 minutes.
Juventus lost its final preseason friendly to Atlético Madrid 2-1 on Saturday night. That means that Juve won’t be winning the International Champions Cup this summer, which will surely be something that causes the Italian press to call for Maurizio Sarri to be on the hot seat going forward. (Sorry, I think I must have forgotten the sarcasm font for that last sentence.)
But what we did see what a Juventus side, whose starting lineup Saturday night probably looked a lot like what Maurizio Sarri will roll out against Parma two weeks from now, that was much-improved over their three early-summer friendlies that took them through Asia.
That’s what you wanted to see from Juventus — especially knowing that Sarri has historically taken a long time to completely install his tactical system.
The improvement and the opportunities created were both noticeable, which is good and a pleasant surprise knowing just how forgettable a lot of Juve’s past preseasons have been. In total, Juventus created 27 shots against Atlético Madrid on Saturday night, a number that obviously only saw Sami Khedira find the back of the net midway through the first half. But a lot of those chances, be it ones that were stopped by Jan Oblak or went flying high or wide, were resulting in a new-look Atléti defense being pinned back for a good portion of the match.
Basically, it was encouraging — and that’s what I’ll take from this one.
Oh, and that Joao Felix is good.
Holy crap he’s good.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Fashion news of the day: Juventus were the new third kits, which are very blue. They also wore the bottom half of the new third kit with the new pink and black warmup shirt, which makes for quite the interesting color contrast. Well done, adidas.
- Jan Oblak is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and it still seems like he’s still incredibly underrated. He’s good.
- Also good: Douglas Costa when he’s playing like he played Saturday night.
- Also good: Adrien Rabiot, who will be quite an addition to Juventus’ midfield.
- Also good: That assist on Joao Felix’s second goal that Matthijs de Ligt couldn’t do anything about no matter how much the announcers on ESPN (or the world feed) wanted to blame him.
- I know it was against the second stringers of Atlético Madrid, but seeing Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi cook the way they cooked brought a smile to my face. Then again, Dybala doing anything good after all of the drama surrounding him over the last couple of weeks would have brought a smile to my face because he is deserving of our admiration. And, if not for Oblak doing some serious Oblak things, Dybala would have had at least one goal to his name Saturday night.
- The viewpoint from a blog that we are friends with:
Why on earth would Juve consider selling Dybala?— Into the Calderón (@intothecalderon) August 10, 2019
I mean, they’ve got a point there, people. I’ve wondered the same thing. (We know why Juventus want to sell Dybala, but we also don’t know why the heck they would.)
- As you can see from the photo at the top of this article, Merih Demiral was not here for the B.S. that Diego Costa was trying to pull off. That is one very quick and effective way to put yourself in good standing with Juventus’ supporters. As you were, Merih. Do you.
- Seeing as Juventus has had Max Allegri as its manager for the previous five seasons, I’ve become conditioned to a very high-pitched voice screaming instructions from the sidelines. It’s obviously different now that Sarri is in charge, with a distinct and much deeper voice now being the one in charge. This was the first Juve friendly I was able to watch live this summer — cut me some slack because the other ones started at four in the morning here in Oregon — and I feel like this kind of bullet point is exactly what this part of the post-game thread is meant for.
- The ESPN (or the world feed) announcers kept saying that Giorgio Chiellini is going to be turning 38 years old in a few days. He will be turning 35.
- The ESPN (or the world feed) announcers kept saying that Juventus opens up the Serie A season against Parma next weekend. Juve opes up against Parma in two weeks.
- Still trying to figure out what, exactly, Mattia De Sciglio was doing on Joao Felix’s first goal.
- The next time you will be reading a post-game thread, the games will actually matter. Business is about to pick up, thank goodness.