There was a moment late in the second half where Florence’s former favorite son, Federico Bernardeschi, got the ball at the top of the box, spun around to get the ball on his preferred left foot and quickly attempted to try and score from distance.
The shot had no power on it, giving Fiorentina goalkeeper Bartłomiej Drągowski little to no difficulty as he made the save on the weak dribbling shot that was right at him.
In a nutshell, that single five-second moment in time summed up Juventus’ afternoon at the Artemio Franchi perfectly.
Maurizio Sarri might have made his debut on the Juventus sidelines Saturday afternoon, but Sarri Ball never kicked things into gear at all in Juve’s scoreless draw against Fiorentina, giving La Viola their first point of the new season. Clearly second best on the afternoon, Juve’s day was marked more by the players they saw leave the field due to injury — Douglas Costa, Miralem Pjanic and Danilo — rather than what they actually did on the field, with Fiorentina far and away the better side even though the visitors were the ones with the majority of the possession for much of the day.
Basically, the recap...
- Juventus injuries: 3
- Drągowski saves: 4 — and none of them were all that difficult
It was about as forgettable of an effort as we’ve seen from Juventus this season. For as much as the second-half meltdown against Napoli was about Juve being terrible, there was also the legitimate possibility of them coming back because they were still proving to be creating chances going forward in a wide-open final 25 minutes. And even though that comeback did eventually come thanks to a stoppage-time own goal,
Juve were far from dangerous against Fiorentina.
If anything, Juventus’ inability to find any kind of rhythm would have been the main sticking point of this game if not for the fact that we now head into a Champions League group stage opener not knowing about the status of key players like Costa and Pjanic as well as the legitimate chance that Juan Cuadrado is your starting right back against Atlético Madrid on Wednesday night.
Good times, right?
Outside of one Blaise Matuidi chance that forced a good save out of Drągowski in the first half, all of the better offense was down on Wojciech Szczesny’s end of the field. Juve were about as toothless in attack as they’ve been this early season. And, because of it, stealing three points with a late-game winner never truly materialized. (Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s overhead kick that actually hit off his shin included.)
So, with how poorly Juve played, I guess I’ll take the point.
It could have been worse, I guess. You know, with the whole possibility of being the team that played a part in Fiorentina ending their lengthy winless streak that is now inching closer to 20 straight games and dates back to the middle of last season.
But, that wasn’t the case, thankfully.
Now we hope that there’s improvement made in quick fashion where a team like Atlético Madrid very much capable of making Juve pay for the kind of mistakes that they made Saturday in Florence.
Oh, and waiting for injury reports. Those always end up with happy thoughts, right?
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- The debut of Sarri on the touchline gave us the answer to one of our preseason questions — what the man would wear during games. He, in maybe a surprise, got the OK from the club to go without the suit, but also showed he’s #TeamUntucked when it comes to his long-sleeved polo shirt.
- Of course Douglas Costa, easily one of Juventus’ best players the first two weeks of the season, gets hurt less than five minutes out of the international break. Now we all wait the latest Juve medical update involving a muscle injury. (But seeing as he could barely do anything other than walk after pulling his hamstring, I’m guessing he won’t be taking part in the Atlético Madrid fixture at the very least.)
- Of course Miralem Pjanic, easily one of Juventus’ best players the first two weeks of the season, gets hurt all of two or three minutes before halftime. Good times, good times.
- It’s the 33rd minute or so and Matthijs de Ligt goes into a tackle about as hard and perfectly timed as one can, subsequently sending Federico Chiesa flying a couple of feet short of the advertising on the far sideline. The whole thing was a work of art.
- It is very nice to know that Juventus has sold off a right back with noticeable defensive inefficiencies in Joao Cancelo for a right back with equal or more defensive inefficiencies in Danilo. This is going to be a thing we mention a lot this season, isn’t it?
- While Juventus was rather crap going forward in the big picture of things, Rodrigo Bentancur played a couple of passes to teammates in the attacking third that we didn’t really see him do all that much last season. If more direct forward passes with pinpoint accuracy is a bigger part of his game this season, then that’s going to be fun to watch.
- Franck Ribery chasing Ronaldo down on the counterattack and snatching the ball right from under him. We all thought that was possible, didn’t we?
- The de Ligt-Leonardo Bonucci partnership: Still a work in progress.
- Fiorentina had more corner kicks (10) than Juventus had total shots (8). Yep, that kind of day.
- He didn’t have a ton to do in the second half, but Juventus wouldn’t be taking a point back with them to Turin if not for the work Szczesny did in the first half. (And yes, I do remember some of that interesting passing at the back that involved Juve’s No. 1, so there.)
- It’s hard for Gonzalo Higuain to recreate the fine performances he had in the first two league games of the season when he gets 31 total touches over the course of 90-plus minutes.
- In conclusion, that game sucked and I hope Wednesday is a lot better. Or, at least there aren’t as many injuries to worry and write about. That sure would be nice.