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Juventus 1 - Hellas Verona 2: Initial reaction and random observations

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For the second time in four days, Hellas Verona made a Serie A title contender look terrible.

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

A 35-year-old striker scored the game-winning goal at the Bentigodi on Saturday night.

It wasn’t the one that is thrown around as the greatest to ever play the game.

Giampaolo Pazzini — hey, ‘member him?! — sent the incredibly impressive crowd at the Bentigodi into absolute oblivion just before stoppage time. For good reason, too. Pazzini’s game-winner from the penalty spot after some absolutely 2018-level marking from Leonardo Bonucci resulted in a VAR-centric hand ball call in the box that gave Hellas Verona the 2-1 win over Juventus and made the Serie A title race about as wide open as it has been all season long.

Oh, and here’s another reminder: Juventus, in very Juventus fashion, continues to be Juventus’ own worst enemy.

I say that because you look at the two goals that Hellas Verona scored after Cristiano Ronaldo made it 1-0 midway through the second half — his club-record 10 straight league game with a goal, by the way — and they had Juventus shooting itself in the foot written all over them.

Basically, another game, another day where self-inflicted mistakes caused Juventus to not just cough up a goal, but cough up three points and potentially the breathing room that is currently there at the top of the Serie A standings.

The problem is, you might expect those kinds of mistakes and sluggish periods of time the first month or two of the Maurizio Sarri experience. We’re now almost to the middle of February and those same issues that we saw during Juventus’ November full of awful performances are still around. At some point, you want things to turn for the better for more than one or two games. Instead, Juventus’ form continues to not only leave a whole hell of a lot to be desired, but also remained as inconsistent as its been from the very beginning of when things started to turn for the worse.

We’ve been preaching patience because Sarri teams need patience and take time to truly develop. But we’re getting closer and closer to being six months into this thing now. At what point does the patience run out and this team starts to truly need to get its act together before its too late?

Say what you want about Hellas Verona — and, yes, they deserve credit for continuing what was a very impressive week against both Lazio and now Juventus — but this is also a Bianconeri team that is allowed multiple goals to an opponent again, lost to a team they had no business to again and now, with Inter playing Sunday night, could see their lead at the top of the Serie A standings go by the wayside again.

We knew what we were going to get from Max Allegri’s Juventus. That might not have been something that is incredibly impressive, but we knew what we were getting much more often than not.

It’s Feb. 8 and I still don’t know what this Sarri team is really. Is it better than last season’s Juventus? Is it worse? Is there anything really all that different when it comes to what the end product will be?

This team has some serious soul searching to do with a huge three or four weeks coming up on the schedule. And if they continue to play like they have over the course of the last couple of weeks, there will be more than just disappointment in the Champions League to talk about around these parts.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • I don’t really know what else to say.
  • I don’t really know what my son Bentancur was doing right before Hellas Verona’s first goal.
  • I don’t really know what Miralem Pjanic was doing right before Hellas Verona’s first goal.
  • Honestly, I don’t really know what has happened to Pjanic. He started the season out so damn well and yet here we are with yet another disappointing individual performance.
  • Hellas Verona absolutely took it to Juventus. They were better in the first half. They were better overall. They were the one team at the Bentigodi that actually deserved to win.
  • Giampaolo Pazzini, man.
  • I remember the days where Pazzini was the golden transfer target that never truly materialized. All these years later and he’s still killing Juventus.
  • Hellas Verona now has 11 wins all time against Juventus. All 11 of them have come in Verona. Basically, don’t play Hellas in Verona ever again. Is that possible?
  • Who from Juventus actually had a good game?
  • That assist from Bentancur on Ronaldo’s goal was a peach, though.
  • Hellas Verona outshot Juventus 16-15.
  • One Juventus player — Ronaldo — had a pass success rate of over 90 percent. OK, so I guess we can say that Ronaldo actually had a good game. There’s one, but I’m not really sure there’s anybody all that deserving to be the second.
  • I’m quite happy that the narrative won’t center around a potential Wojciech Szczesny error. So thank you very much for that one, VAR.
  • Just for the record: I still don’t like you all that much, VAR.
  • Of course Douglas Costa gets injured in a game like this one turned out to be. Because the second-half meltdown and the dropping of all three points on the road against a mid-table side — although Hellas Verona is now in sixth! — wasn’t enough, right? Just look at the kind of reaction Costa had as he walked off the field and you can tell that he’s growing pretty tired of his body failing him every couple of weeks, too.
  • I can’t remember the last time Leonardo Bonucci got a WhoScored rating that was under 6, but here we are.
  • Give them all terrible WhoScored ratings for all I care. That kind of result deserves it, and every bit of criticism for how they played on Saturday night will be warranted.