As we head toward the end of September, it seems like Juventus’ players and its first-year manager are going through the same song and dance whenever they take the field.
There is some good.
There is some bad.
And, when it comes to how the game turns out, it’s simply a matter of one not completely outweighing the other by a wide margin.
Just as it was over the weekend against Hellas Verona, Juventus had to work its way out of a 1-0 hole against another one of Serie A’s newly-promoted sides, Brescia, on Tuesday night. And, just as was the case three days earlier, Juventus proved to have just enough quality to make up for falling behind, this time within the first six minutes, to claim a second consecutive 2-1 win in what was an overall less-than-stellar showing by Sarri’s squad.
Also of note: A free kick that slams off the opposing team’s wall actually worked in Juventus’ favor for once. It’s almost like they drew it up that way. (They didn’t, so pick up on the sarcasm, please.)
Of course, having players like Miralem Pjanic who can strike the ball like that with the utmost of ease always helps.
Now as we enter the first real grind of the season where fixtures are coming at us quick and with only a couple of days rest in between, Juve are basically doing what the Juve has old done as they learn their new manager’s system — grind out results, suffer a good amount along the way and then usually end usually end up with three points at the sound of the final whistle. That’s how it was against Parma, that’s how it was against Hellas Verona, that’s how it was again against Brescia.
Obviously falling behind six minutes into a game — and a lot of it by your own doing — is far from what you would call “ideal.” Same goes with creating 20 shots and only actually scoring one goal — and a pretty great individual effort, too — isn’t all that great, either.
But, just like Sarri has been saying for the past couple of weeks, these are the kinds of matches that hopefully prove to be learning experiences for this club as they continue to find the right kind of groove with their new manager.
The results — as well as overall team performances — may look a lot like the ones we saw for a good portion of last season with Max Allegri. There is sure a lot of tense moments with one-goal leads going on against teams that aren’t exactly what you would call the cream of the crop of opposition Juventus will face this season. Yet, as they go along, the hope is that the bring pockets of play that we’ve seen over the last five weeks become more and more a regular thing, not just a little here and a little there.
And hey, Juventus won a game. That’s better than how the first 5 1⁄2 minutes went Tuesday night.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Yeah, I’m going to need Fabio Paratici to start making some contacts with Brescia when it comes to potentially signing Sandro Tonalli.
- I don’t care what his pass success percentage was, Tonalli is going to be a star.
- I don’t know about you guys, but I’m glad that Wojciech Szczesny got his noticeable mistake or two for the season out of his system in September rather than some season-defining match in March, April or May.
- That said, the save he made with about 15 minutes to go was fantastic.
- Adrien Rabiot made his first start of his Juventus career Tuesday night. And for a guy who has barely played any kind of competitive minutes over the course of the last year, he looked exactly like a guy who has barely played any kind of competitive minutes over the course of the last year. He’ll get there, it’s just going to take some time for him to simply get his legs back under him. (It was definitely good for him to go the full 90, too.)
- Aaron Ramsey played in a more advanced role Tuesday night, serving as the ‘1’ in Sarri’s 4-3-1-2 formation that was used for the first time this season. Even though Juve were clearly lacking any kind of width against a Brescia side that dropped a lot of numbers back and kept things incredibly narrow in its own 4-3-1-2 setup, you could see again, just like over the weekend against Hellas Verona, what Ramsey’s inclusion in this midfield will mean.
- Something that might be not totally talked about: Alex Sandro has started the season playing some pretty good football. It might not be the Best Left Back in the World Alex Sandro, but with so much instability on the right side of defense, having Sandro be a steadying presence really is important.
- Juan Cuadrado, better right back than Danilo? Discuss.
- Very happy to see that the Ex Effect took the night off when it came to Alessandro Matri, who is still incredibly handsome a couple of weeks after turning 35 years old.
- To see Paulo Dybala both in the starting lineup in back-to-back games as well as play pretty well once again brings a smile to my face. Dybala deserved a goal for the way he played today. He might have had a goal if he had a little more confidence in the ability to put something on goal with his right foot. But that’s Dybala, and we all know how dependent on that left foot of his he is.
- What also brings a smile to my face? Claudio Marchisio live tweeting Juve matches.