Leave it to Juventus to give us a truly maddening result in their final game of 2020 that pretty much encapsulates what 2020 has been like for just about all of us.
What a wonderful way to go into the holiday break, huh?
Juventus didn’t just lose 3-0 on Tuesday night to a Fiorentina side that hadn’t previously won a game since the final days of October, they did it in rather spectacular fashion. Once the snowball started going downhill, it was impossible to stop — and that was before Juan Cuadrado was sent off for a tackle (and VAR decision) that we should have known would be a sign for how things were going to go for the rest of the night.
This was bad.
It was really bad.
Juventus’ play out of the gate was bad. The refereeing was beyond bad for large portions of this game — not just because of how, right or wrong, the call against Cuadrado changed the game and forced Juventus to chase things more than they already were. This team lacked the energy that it had the last time it took the field. Every single thing that could have gone wrong did go wrong — and the ass-kicking Juve just got was the deserved result for it.
For all the good and happy thoughts that we had THREE DAYS AGO when Juventus absolutely thumped Parma, this was the opposite of that in every sense. Juve, outside of Cristiano Ronaldo and Matthijs de Ligt and maybe a couple of other players, struggled to do much of anything right. The three former Fiorentina players that Juventus trotted out — especially the two in the starting lineup — did next to nothing of note, with far more bad than good. The man wearing Juve’s captain’s armband was maybe the worst of them all.
Basically, this was a Juventus team that couldn’t do anything right, and the kind of result that came from it was the encapsulation of the first half of the season’s showings against teams like Fiorentina. They’ve dropped points time and time again against teams they had no business dropping points against. There were draws against relegation sides. There were wins eked out against teams in the bottom half of the table. And, now this.
I don’t care that Juve had more shots, more possession and more scoring chances than Fiorentina did in this game. I really don’t. Not after that kind of showing, not after that kind of effort where you can only count on one hand who actually played anything close to a solid game.
Fact is, against a team that hadn’t won in two months, Juventus proved to be the team that looked like it hadn’t won in two months. Based solely on this game, you’d have no idea their best game of the season was just a couple of days before.
Good thing the holiday break is here because there’s a lot for Andrea Pirlo to figure out.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- That was stupid.
- That was a waste of two hours. I would like to request those two hours back even though I know that’s not humanly possible. Good thing I went to the liquor store last night.
- Leonardo Bonucci’s defending against Fiorentina ... yeah, I got nothing.
- That had to be one of Bonucci’s worst games in a Juventus shirt, right? It just had to be. His passing was awful. His decision making was awful. His tackling was awful. He was completely terrible in every aspect of the game and it showed with Matthijs de Ligt virtually having to do everything defensively. And, even with how good de Ligt is, that’s just not possible.
- I really hope that de Ligt was subbed out in the final moments of that game just because he looked absolutely exhausted — and he had every right to be — and not as a result of some injury that will have us sweating him missing any amount of time. He needs a rest in the worst possible way with how much he’s been asked to play since coming back from injury, and hopefully that’s not a rest because he’s injured again.
- Say what you want about Juve’s defending on Fiorentina’s first goal — and it was really bad! — but that was an absolutely beautiful passes from Franck Ribery on the counterattack. He threaded that through exactly where it needed to be.
- There was a point in the second half where Federico Chiesa was 1 on 6 against the Fiorentina defense and he honestly put his head down to try and make something happen. He, then, proceeded to turn the ball over with a bad touch and I really just laughed to myself because that was the only possible outcome.
- Federico Bernardeschi came on to start the second half, didn’t do much of anything and he was still better than Chiesa. Rough day for the Fedes formerly of Fiorentina.
- Rodrigo Bentancur had one of his best games in months against Parma. He then had that kind of game against Fiorentina. Who knows if he’s simply tired or what, but I expect better from somebody like him who really has a chance to make an impact these days.
- Alex Sandro’s involvement in the sequence that ended in an own goal: get the ball thrown over his head on a throw-in, coast back on defense and let the man with the ball get solid positioning to attempt a cross, then knock the ball into the back of the net for the own goal.
- Pavel Nedved walked out after another one of the terrible refereeing calls and I wish I could have been right alongside of him. It was that kind of night that warranted an early exit.
- I’m just going to go ahead and blame this all on Alvaro Morata going with a buzzcut out of nowhere. That was a tough decision to go with after having such good form with his usual cut. Leave the buzzcuts to the Italian defenders on the team, my man.
- With Tuesday’s other bit of news, Juventus could very well be 10 points behind Milan at the holiday break. If you thought Tuesday was an absolutely stupid day and should be banished from the history books for the rest of time, I totally agree with you and wish I could do that. And if you’re thinking the post-holiday break schedule is going to be a little bit of a respite as compared to what we just saw over the last four weeks, you might want to go look things up and get back to me. It’s going to be crazy again ... and that’s even before the first Napoli game of the season gets rescheduled.
- Who knew that the highlight of this game was going to be when Aaron Ramsey kicked a water bottle after being subbed off following the Cuadrado red card. Minor — extremely minor — victories, I guess.
- Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the locker room after THAT game.