Right before I started writing this lede sentence, I opened up our photo tool and saw a picture of Leonardo Bonucci congratulating Alvaro Morata after scoring a goal. It would be a goal for only about a minute or so because, well, you know how the VAR machine is working against Morata and Juventus these days.
I mention that because, a lot like a good number of Juve’s games these days, we’re left to ask ourselves, “Well, what if Morata was just a fraction or two onside rather than a fraction or two offside?” That is going to be a big talking point because you rarely see a player get not one, not two but three goals wiped off the scoreboard as a result of VAR.
Yet, with all of that being said, I want to say this: Juventus, outside of the three goals that Morata saw taken away due to offside, didn’t have a shot on goal in Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona in Turin. As much as we can play the “What if” game, we also have to face the facts that Juventus didn’t do a whole hell of a lot outside of those three scoring chances against a team that happens to have Lionel Messi on it.
And, to add some salt in the wound, it’s not like Barcelona were completely dominant, either.
Think about it this way: Barcelona, a team very much a work in progress under Ronald Koeman, left the door open for Juventus to at least get a draw in this game. We know this because, if not for Morata being offside three times, Juventus is at the very least tied at some point in this game. Barcelona didn’t dominate Juventus by any means. Wojciech Szczesny wasn’t making save after save after save outside of the moment where he was scrambling like a madman while still on the ground in the first half.
Barcelona outshot Juve by a 13-10 margin, which is nowhere near the kind of performance where you said one side was far and away better than the other. And, in my book, that means this result was a little bit of luck going against Juventus again, but it’s more about Juve being bad than it was Barca being really good.
It’s crazy to even think with how poor Juve were that they even had a shot to get at least a point in this game. Yet they did ... if they were able to muster any kind of offense and stay onside.
It’s tough, man. Real tough.
And as much as it has only been six games and Andrea Pirlo is working under the kind of circumstances that is far from ideal whether it’s the truncated schedule or the injuries or Cristiano Ronaldo still being out due to COVID-19, you also want to see a little bit of progress, right? I mean, even somebody who’s a somewhat patient person isn’t happy after this kind of performance.
If only Alvaro Morata had been onside just once.
Or three times.
Dammit. Dammit all to hell.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- This was not a great game for Dejan Kulusevski.
- This was not a great game for Federico Chiesa.
- This was not a great game for Paulo Dybala.
- OK, I’ll stop there because I could legitimately list another six or seven players and I don’t think y’all need to be reading that over and over again.
- Is it just me or was Dybala dropping far too deep way too many times during the course of this game? That’s always been a thing with him, especially when he’s tried to get himself going during the course of a game. But, as we saw with Maurizio Sarri last season, the closer Dybala is to goal, the more dangerous of a player he can be. I mean, Dybala led the team in shots and I really don’t remember any of them, to be honest.
- I know this is breaking news to anybody, but since we don’t see him much against Juventus I will just say this: It is still amazing to see Messi, with three or four defenders around him and trying to go in for a tackle, keep the ball so close to his feet without really missing a beat at all. His control is absurd, and he’s simply a magician.
- Federico Bernardeschi ... I got nothing left to say.
- A sign of how different the two benches were in this game: Koeman could turn to somebody like Ansu Fati. The only real attacking option — and use that lightly knowing what kind of form he’s in right now — Pirlo had was Bernardeschi. Yeah ... that’s all I got for you.
- This was the kind of game that proved Merih Demiral is capable of doing some really good things but is still very much the kind of defender that needs a whole lot more sculpting and teaching up to be anything close to the same level as Matthijs de Ligt.
- Also, I miss Matthijs de Ligt.
- Unless de Ligt and Giorgio Chiellini come back before next week’s Champions League fixture against Ferencvaros, Juventus will have one natural center back available. And that is a center back in Leonardo Bonucci who is very much not 100 percent healthy right now.
- DANILO HAD EIGHT TACKLES?!
- Frenkie de Jong played in the center of Barca’s defense in the second half and Juventus still failed to put a shot on goal in the game. That’s ... not great.
- Like, seriously, test out Neto. TEST HIM. Just once.
- A sign of just how stupid this game proved to be: Messi led Barcelona in tackles.
- Man oh man do I want to see a pissed off Juventus against Spezia this weekend. I have no idea if it will happen, but that’s what I want. This team has us frustrated, so I can’t imagine how they’re feeling. Thus the reason why I want them to come out pissed off and win with room to spare.
- In conclusion: STAY ONSIDE, JUVENTUS PLAYERS.