In a perfect world, playing your worst half of the season against a team sitting in 18th place that also happens to have the worst defense in the league is not how you would want to go about things. But, since this is 2020 and Juventus has basically thrown all kinds of logic out the window this season, anything close to a perfect world is non-existent at this point.
That means pulling a rabbit out of your hat against Torino.
Good thing the whole throwing-away-a-lead thing has happened a lot to Torino this season.
Just when it looked like Juventus was going to throw away more points against another one of Serie A’s least in-form sides, the Italian champions turn the tide quickly in their favor. And it made perfect sense that one of the game’s most frustrating players, Juan Cuadrado, set up both of Juve’s goals in Saturday’s 2-1 comeback win over Torino, setting up Weston McKennie’s header and then Leo Bonucci’s 89th-minute game-winning goal to allow the Bianconeri from recording yet another disappointing result.
Say, Andrea Pirlo knows a little something about that against Torino.
So to say that some of Juventus’ games against Torino in the recent past have been close calls is very much the truth. But, also the truth here is that Juventus was its own worst enemy Saturday night, with the level of their play — again — dropping down to the level of their competition, which is something that we’ve seen quite a bit these past few years.
Juventus couldn’t do much of anything right in the opening 45 minutes. Simple passes were going well wide of or completely overshooting their intended target. Juventus, with a pretty talented attack despite Alvaro Morata being suspended, didn’t record a shot on goal until two minutes before halftime. Crosses were finding the heads of Torino players without much difficulty. It was rough — really rough.
You wanted to see something, anything, that resembled some kind of fight.
Thankfully, they found it. Eventually.
Better late than never, I guess.
This team, man. The more they play, the harder they are to figure out. I’m just glad to be writing about a win after a subpar performance overall rather than what we saw last weekend (or a handful of other games so far this season).
The good thing is that we saw something that we didn’t really see against Benevento last weekend (besides a win, of course): Juventus actually found a sense of urgency. It took over 60 minutes to get here and a goal taken away by VAR to arrive, but that fighting spirit actually showed up. After how the first half went, you weren’t sure if it would, but it did.
And, thankfully, now Juventus heads to Spain to face Barcelona with a win as compared to the alternative — which wasn’t exactly going to inspire a whole lot of confidence no matter how you tried to spin it.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- The double sub by Pirlo to bring on McKennie and Alex Sandro proved to be the kick in the ass that Juventus needed. McKennie’s energy and ability to press the living hell out of Torino before and after his goal was pretty damn important in hindsight.
- Don’t mess with Texas!!! Or at least the part that now wears bianconero. Weston can stay.
- I really wanna know what Carlo Pinsoglio said to get a straight red because YOU KNOW HE SAID SOMETHING. I mean, any potential foul that was committed against a Juve player in the second half and you heard his high-pitched screaming from the bench.
- Leonardo Bonucci taketh away a goal (thanks to VAR), then Leonardo Bonucci giveth a game-winning goal. Bonucci gonna Bonucci.
- Bonucci’s defending — along with Rodrigo Bentancur, lest we forget — on the Torino goal was definitely suboptimal.
- How perfectly Juan Cuadrado is it that he’s playing pretty meh, then goes ahead to score what we thought was a really nice goal that was taken away by VAR inspection AND dish out both assists on the Juventus goals that counted. Johnny Square will frustrate and then make you love him again all within about 20 or 30 minutes. Juan gonna Juan.
- Wojciech Szczesny made one save against Torino, and holy smokes was it a really good one.
- There was a point during Juve’s late-game comeback that Paulo Dybala attempted a cross on the left wing with his much-favored left foot and it landed about 30 feet away from anybody in a Juventus jersey. I can’t help but feel like that cross just summed up his season to date. My man just can’t get much of anything going right now, and it sucks because we know just how good he can be when his form is the complete opposite of what it is right now.
- And yet, after typing that last point, I take a look at the final WhoScored stats from this game and Dybala led the team with five key passes, so whatever. What the hell do I know anyway.
- Who could have thought that putting in accurate crosses against the worst defense in the league would work out in Juventus’ advantage? Magic, I know. (If you would like to see this incredibly hot take in a much more sarcastic, all-caps version on Twitter, please click here.)
- Can we just have Dejan Kulusevski playing out on the wing and let him cook like he did so often last season? Is that too much to ask right now?
- I can’t remember who said it in the comments a week or so ago so forgive me, but the statement that’s along the lines of “Juventus aren’t supposed to win pretty, they’re just supposed to win” is ringing in my head a lot after this game. We wanted to see some grinta and some fight even though they were playing far from their best, and we got a little bit of that in this game. Torino had all the elements going for them of what Juve has struggled against this season — a lead that allows them to sit back and defend while also counterattacking — but Juventus eventually figured it out. Sure, it helped that Toro’s defense sucks, but same goes for Benevento and we all know how that turned out.
- In short, I’m glad this weekend didn’t end like last weekend.