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Juventus 1 - Atalanta 1: Initial reaction and random observations

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FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-ATALANTA Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

Even though Atalanta is technically a mid-table team right now, this was never going to be looked at as just another game against another mid-table side like Juventus has had so many times already this season. Atalanta have, despite drama away from the field that has to do with stuff on the field, looked better in recent weeks, adding to the importance of what definitely had the feeling of a big-time Serie A showdown at Allianz Stadium.

And here we are, a few minutes after the final whistle sounded, with the same result of so many Juve games this season.

Atalanta’s big trip to Turin on Wednesday night ended with a couple of pretty goals and a 1-1 final scoreline. Not to say that this was a bad game because it certainly wasn’t. This was a pretty entertaining game even if you had a rooting interest in it. It had a couple of pretty goals. It had a lot of close calls and some really positive moments even without some of the best players on the field having all that great of performances.

Yet, I can’t get it out of my head: Juventus, through 12 games played in Serie A this season, has as many draws as it does wins. Take out the forfeit win over Napoli and, again, Juventus is back to having more draws on the field than they have wins. It’s something we’ve seen them have this season as it has become so much of a week-to-week kind of situation.

Still undefeated, though, baby!

/extreme Nate Dogg voice

Hooooold up waiiiiiiiiiit!

Could Juventus have won this match? Well, obviously, yeah. When you’ve got arguably the best dude in the game taking a penalty kick and he subsequently misses said penalty kick, you’re going to look back on some things and wonder what could have happened. You’re go look at some of the saves that Pierluigi Gollini made — on top of the penalty save on Cristiano Ronaldo — and wonder what could have happened.

But, the thing is, Juventus could have also lost this match, too. Atalanta, especially in the second half, really looked like the Atalanta of old. (Totally a surprise since they brought on Papu Gomez, huh?) And when you look at which manager was the more aggressive one with his subs, it’s pretty easy to look at Gian Piero Gasperini as the one who didn’t wait around to make changes as Andrea Pirlo stuck with the team he had on the field until the last 10-15 minutes.

At a time where the top of the Serie A table is so compact and everything feels so even between the title challengers, dropping points on a consistent basis could see you fall behind the rest of the pack. It hasn’t completely cost Juve yet, but the more of these situations happen, the more Juve won’t be able to take advantage of Milan or Inter or Napoli dropping points. Milan dropped points over the weekend and Juve moved within striking distance and all of four points back. Now that is potentially going to be canceled out in a few hours.

Maybe in different years I’d feel different about getting a draw against such a talented and well-organized team like Atalanta. But I’m sitting here typing all of this out with the feeling like Juve needed to do better than yet another draw.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • That Alvaro Morata back-heel attempt ... yeah, I got nothin’ left to say, folks.
  • This had to be one of Ronaldo’s worst games in a Juve jersey, right? It’s not just because of the missed penalty kick, either. He just couldn’t get anything going, wasn’t consistently involved and had a good number of bad turnovers to his name. Who knows if he will get rest knowing there’s just two games to go before the holiday break, but he looks like somebody who could use a day off after playing so much the last few weeks.
  • Federico Chiesa through the first 25 minutes: Two touches.
  • Federico Chiesa’s third touch of the game? THAT goal.
  • Federico Chiesa finished with 20 touches before being subbed out in the second half.
  • Wojciech Szczesny, Juve’s goalkeeper, finished the game with 42 touches.
  • I would like to request that somebody in the BWRAO readership provide me with a gif of the reaction from our loyal and entertaining uncles on the bench, Gigi Buffon and Carlo Pinsoglio, after Chiea’s goal. The smiling, the laughing, the pure joy like a couple of kids. They’re fun even when they know they won’t play.
  • I know this isn’t breaking news at this point (especially with what we’ve already said about him this season), but watching Matthijs de Ligt defend is an absolute pleasure. You wanna know a big reason why Duvan Zapata was yanked so early on? Because de Ligt was preventing him from doing much of anything positive. Our big Dutch boy is good.
  • There was a point in this game where Cristian Romero, our old buddy and somebody who has no relation to our resident Romero here at BWRAO, was the Atalanta player who was pressing the highest up the field. This wasn’t a case where he was just staying up the field after a corner kick or anything. My man went on a run sprinting up the field and just kept going and going. It was certainly an amusing moment, but also kinda shows you how dedicated Atalanta’s players are to pressing the hell out of the opponent.
  • Rodrigo Bentancur completed nearly 97 percent of his passes — including credit for an assist on Chiesa’s impressive goal — and recorded a team-high seven tackles against Atalanta. That’ll do.
  • Say what you want about the result, but this game had a couple of goalkeepers playing really damn well. I mentioned the saves Gollini made already, but Szczesny was called into action about as much as he has been in any league game this season and he came through time and time again. There’s absolutely nothing he could have done on Atalanta’s goal. (Watch the replay of it because you see just how perfectly hit it was and how it just barely gets over Tek’s fingers.)
  • In the span of two weeks, how much has your opinion of Weston McKennie changed? I’m honestly curious because he’s playing about as well as any Juve player right now. He’s earning his minutes with the way he’s playing right now, and he’s repaying Pirlo with quality performance after quality performance. I feel pretty damn confident in saying he’s Juve’s best midfielder right now and it’s not really a doubt.
  • I still can’t get over that it took Chiesa over 25 minutes to get three touches on the ball and his third touch was that goal. It’s just so amusing yet so wonderful at the same time.
  • Juventus closes out 2020 with Parma and Fiorentina. If they don’t get six points out of six, then there’s gonna be some rioting going on in the comment section here.