There will be a point when, in this season of stupidity and complete unpredictability that has been disrupted by a global health pandemic, Juventus will secure the Serie A title. There will have to be something extremely serious and completely historic for Juve to throw the Scudetto away at this point. And because of that, the champagne is likely already on ice.
It will just be chilling a few days longer than we expected.
There was no Scudetto party at the Friuli on Thursday night, as the up-and-down post-lockdown form of Juventus showed its face once again. Not only did the eight-time defending champions fail to make it nine in a row with a win against Udinese, but Juve coughed up yet another second-half lead, with Seko Fofana’s stoppage-time goal being the difference in Thursday night’s 2-1 loss in Udine.
Basically, it was another game where the shortcomings of this team was on display following Matthijs de Ligt’s thunderbolt in the first half. Not that we want to see that kind of stuff keep happening, but it keeps happening.
And just like when Juventus blew a second-half against AC Milan at the San Siro a couple of weeks ago, the shot of Giorgio Chiellini pretty said it all. Chiellini was speaking for all of us: The same kind of thing keeps happening, and it is becoming very tiresome even in a season where Juventus will almost certainly be celebrating their latest Scudetto.
A team that had 60 percent of the possession and outshot Udinese 21-11 didn’t seem to really have true control of this game. Juventus, as much Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala are playing really well right now, could generate a whole lot of genuine scoring chances despite those 20 shots. (For whatever it’s worth, only five of those 21 shots were actually on target.)
So, now we update the “run” that Juve is on since recording blowout wins over Genoa and Torino:
- Five games played
- One win
- Two losses
- Two draws
- Five points out of a possible 15 earned
- Eleven goals allowed
Not sure about you guys, but that is not really a Juventus team that is charging toward the finish line. Nor is it the kind of situation that, in a “normal season” would still find itself comfortably ahead in the standings and on the cusp of winning the Serie A title. And now you understand, with the way Juventus has coughed up points right and left the last three weeks, why our old buddy Antonio Conte is so grumpy about the lost opportunity that Inter Milan hasn’t been able to take advantage of lately.
So we wait again for Juventus to clinch their ninth consecutive Scudetto. Maybe it will happen before Juve actually take the field again. (They need Atalanta to lose to Milan and Inter to fail to win against Genoa.) Maybe it will happen on Sunday with a win against Sampdoria.
Either way, Juventus isn’t running away with this like the standings might suggest — and Thursday night’s loss to Udinese was just another example of just how inconsistent this team has been since the restart (and much of the season before that).
18 - #Juventus have dropped 18 points from winning position in Serie A this season: their negative record in the last nine campaigns in the competition. Distraction.#UdineseJuventus pic.twitter.com/ovRnZMxsWG— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) July 23, 2020
Not great, Bob.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Another benefit of empty stadiums: The sound of Matthijs de Ligt shouting out orders and organizing the Juventus defense without Leonardo Bonucci around gives me life.
- Speaking of de Ligt, you got a really good glimpse at how much that injured shoulder of his is taped and wrapped up these days with the blue jerseys. Poor guy.
- They showed Gigi Buffon and Carlo Pinsoglio on the bench right before kickoff and it made me smile because they are seemingly the life of the party almost every time they appear on camera. If only we could hear everything they said to each other during these games without any fans in the crowd.
- Aaron Ramsey got a yellow card 35 seconds into the game.
- Another Ramsey note: Instead of continuing the run of play and trying to score a goal after that Ramsey “tackle” in the box, a couple of Udinese players decided the better thing to do was to run to the ref and argue the call. That’s top quality field awareness right there.
- Danilo touched the ball ... 103 TIMES?!
- Alex Sandro’s defending lately ... yikes.
- The combined defensive effort of Alex Sandro and Danilo on Udinese’s first goal ... yikes.
- There was a point right before Danilo was subbed off that he tried to win the ball off a thrown-in by poking the ball away from the man who was shielding him, which led to a Udinese move forward into the field third. Danilo pretty much just coasted back on defense while de Ligt hauled ass to cover for him and I think that sums things up rather well when it comes to the defensive abilities of both of those players.
- Adrien Rabiot continues to be consistently good and I’m all here for it.
- Here’s a photo of one of the few spectators that was allowed into the Friuli to watch Thursday night’s game. You might know who he is ...
- There was a point while writing this post-game thread where I just wanted to delete everything and then use that picture of Dybala about 20 times. Publish it.
- I mean, if you just look at the final scores from the last five Juventus games and forget what year it actually is you might think that this team was in the shape it was in before the current Scudetto run started. This is just ... yeah. I guess it’s very fitting of 2020 since 2020 is pretty much the dumbest year we’ve ever seen.
- Juventus Conspiracy Theory Corner: The players just wanna clinch the title in Turin so that they can just call up their wives or girlfriends and get a ride home after drinking a whole bunch of champagne. Think about it. It could be a thing.