There was a point about midway through the first half Wednesday night where, because there are no fans in stadiums, you could hear what I would assume are police cars racing past Sardegna Arena. It was crystal clear, and the sirens were blaring about as much as you would think a siren could sound knowing that Italy is slowly but surely coming out of its post-coronavirus lockdown.
Whatever the heck those sirens were responding to, it was likely a whole lot more interesting than what we saw from Juventus on the other side of those stadium walls.
Juventus looked very much like a team that had won the league title just a few days earlier. By that I mean it was about as low energy and low energy gets no matter how heavily Maurizio Sarri’s starting lineup was and how many changes he had made from the weekend when Juve clinched the title against Sampdoria. The end result was a predictable dead rubber loss, as Cagliari got their first win over Juventus in over a decade as they handed the newly minted nine-time Italian champions a 2-0 defeat in a game where the Bianconeri looked about as flat as they have post-lockdown.
Not that a whole lot should actually be taken out of this game other than the fact that somebody like Simone Muratore made their first Serie A start or that we got to see a few other kids from Juve’s Under-23 team get some run off the bench because Sarri rested nearly an entire starting lineup’s worth of players.
Other than that, this was forgettable.
Sure, does it suck to see Juve lose to Cagliari? Well, yeah, especially since they gave them a pretty good shellacking when the two teams met in Turin back in January. (Of course, January feels about 10 years ago the way 2020 is going, so if you don’t totally remember it’s understandable.)
Does it suck to see Juventus take shot after shot after shot and have absolutely nothing to show for it? Of course. Even with a heavily rotated squad, you would like to think that a front line that has Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain could score at least something against a Cagliari defense that has allowed over 50 goals this season.
Instead, there wasn’t really anything to celebrate Wednesday night.
Unless you were here for the Muratore/Bricklayer jokes — which, if you were, is totally OK and I will totally endorse that going forward.
It’s just one of those days where Juventus just so happens to outshoot their opponent 33-10, get shut out and we’re just left to throw our hands up and pretty much just move on.
Juventus won the title over the weekend. They played like they won the title over the weekend a couple of days later. It could very much be the same way against Roma this coming weekend. (Game was moved up to Saturday, by the way, so update your viewing schedules now, please.)
So, as a follow up to the Twitter question we answered on this week’s Old Lady Speaks podcast about Juventus maybe improving their form over the course of the next week before playing Lyon on Aug. 7, I think we might have gotten our definitive answer.
And, well, it’s probably one that you didn’t want to hear.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Ronaldo is very much a volume shooter. He hit double digits again with his shot total. The amount of those shots that actually were on target? Well, let’s just say it’s two more shots on target that any of us put on target Wednesday night.
- Not that I’m saying Ronaldo is the reason Juventus lost because he isn’t. It’s just the simple fact that he keeps hammering shots from outside the box and they get blocked. Maybe he’s trying to force the issue because he knows he might be Juve’s only chance to score goals during a performance like that, but it’s interesting to see how he resorts to that against teams that have just packed it in.
- Gigi Buffon attempted seven passes in Wednesday’s game. Seven!
- Federico Bernardeschi made five key passes, according to WhoScored and, honestly, I don’t really remember all but one of them. Is that bad?
- At least Matthijs de Ligt got some rest.
- At least Paulo Dybala was at home icing his thigh.
- Miralem Pjanic’s yellow card means he will be out for the Serie A finale against Roma. It also means Pjanic’s Serie A career with Juventus is now officially over. I hope, at the very least, he can rest up for any kind of European run that Juve may have in August as a result.
- Juve ... European run ... after these performances lately? Ha, I’m funny.
- If I gave you three chances to spell “Luca Zanimacchia” correctly without looking it up, could you do it? Be honest.
- Juventus has now allowed 40 goals this season. They still won the Scudetto! No team has done that since the 1960s. That sure says something. I don’t really know quite what yet, but it says something.
- There’s a very really possibility that Juventus, the team that just won their ninth straight Serie A title, could finish the season on 83 points and “only” be one point ahead of the second-place finisher depending on what happens between Inter Milan and Atalanta on Saturday night. That sure is something I wasn’t expecting a few weeks back.
- Hell, after all of their post-lockdown struggles, Lazio could finish with over 80 points and just be a few points behind Juventus in the league standings. This freakin’ season, man. It makes no sense at all.
- That’s all you really need from this game, right? Yeah, I thought so.