There are very few times over the course of any given Juventus season where the actual game being played is really at the bottom of my interest level. Juventus’ season finale against Roma on Saturday night had those kinds of feelings.
How did Juventus reward me (and probably lots of other people) for feeling that way? By jumping out to a 1-0 lead after just a couple of minutes, of course. A “TAKE THAT!” kind of moment regardless of how things ended up.
Then, the rest of the game happened.
And, well, my disinterest in the actual result was pretty much confirmed.
Those happy feelings were pretty much dashed as this Serie A finale went on. Not that Juventus’ 3-1 loss to Roma made me angry at all like it might have if it were to take place in February, March or, because this is 2020, just a few weeks ago. Juve’s approach to this game pretty much mirrored their last game — which also resulted in an unimpressive performance and a loss to a lesser team — and that was rather expected at this point of the 2019-20 Serie A season that has turned into a 12-month marathon.
Juventus had nothing to play for and the starting lineup reflected that.
Roma, also, had nothing to play for and the starting lineup reflected that.
By the time the final whistle sounded, the squad Juve had on the field had a very preseason friendly kind of vibe with the amount of Under-23 players and backups that were there. You know, the kind of situation where the No. 3 goalkeeper is in goal and there are just as many players with numbers in the 30s and 40s as players who had played a thousand minutes this season.
The objective of this game was easy to figure out: Get through it healthy and then celebrate the lifting of a ninth straight Scudetto. It was nothing more than that, really. Would it have been nice to see Juventus win the Serie A finale? Well, yeah, I like when Juve win. But I also know that Juventus has bigger objectives around the corner, and running out players that have played heavy post-lockdown minutes would have been counterproductive.
Juventus has a Champions League game on Friday night. It’s incredibly important, and it will determine whether we get to hear about European football beyond next week. That was the main thing Maurizio Sarri planned for all along entering this final weekend, and the hope is that it pays off when Lyon comes to Turin in a few days.
In the end, Juventus lost a second straight game that didn’t mean much of anything at all. Because of it, this will go down as a “title race” that was decided by all of one point, although it will be remembered more for how Juve limped to the finish line and the other contenders couldn’t take advantage of it more than anything else.
At least Juve got to lift a trophy at the end of this day. That’s pretty much what this first day of August in the dumbest of years 2020 had in common with 2019, 2018 and the previous six years before that.
Juventus lose at home for the first time this season. Roma win at the Allianz for the first time ever. One of those out of context tweets for you— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) August 1, 2020
Indeed. But if there ever was a game for Roma to snag that first-ever win over Juventus at the Allianz, it was this one simply because Juventus had no reason to play the A team. (You know, if the A team was actually healthy and all available for selection.)
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Simone Muratore!
- Gianluca Frabrotta!
- Luca Zanimacchia!
- Giacomo Vriani!
- Try and say Zanimacchia and Juventus Women playmaker Annahita Zamanian three times fast and you’ve got yourself a classic tongue twister with a heavy calcio flavor. Plus it’s a pretty good spelling test if you want to take it that far.
- Zanimacchia, Juve’s starting right winger on Saturday night, led the team in tacjkles.
- Frabrotta, Juve’s starting left back on Saturday night, wasn’t too far behind him.
- Simone Muratore had 96 touches and completed over 92 percent of his passes. I think that will play quite alright at Atalanta next season.
- Who knows what will happen with these youngsters who all got their first Serie A starts in this game, but it was nice to see them hold their own no matter what kind of lineup Roma trotted out there.
- Prayer circle for Adrien Rabiot just in case he was subbed off due to that studs-on-ankle tackle in the first half rather than just for some rest in the second half. Bet you didn’t expect that to happen — hoping Rabiot wasn’t injured, duh — when January and February arrived.
- To see Merih Demiral make his comeback from ACL surgery against the same team that he got hurt against was the kind of feel-good full circle moment that we all wanted in this game that had no kind of true meaning behind it. It sucked that Roma scored about two seconds after Demiral came on and that the shot actually deflected off his leg a little, but just the fact that he’s out there again is a great sign. We all thought his season was over in January, but the three-month shutdown has allowed him to get back on the field before the 2020-21 campaign began. That’s gotta feel pretty good for him.
- During these post-lockdown games Carlo Pinsoglio has been one of Juve’s most entertaining players without actually playing. You can hear him screaming from the bench every game, he’s constantly seen cracking jokes with Gigi Buffon on the bench and don’t even get me start on some of the reaction shots after goals that we’ve seen of him. That’s why it was good to see him get a few minutes in the second half. The guy deserves it.
- Plus, when you hear Pinsoglio screaming at the top of his lungs for the Juve defense to clear the ball when it’s at the top of the box AND the stadium is empty, it is an easy way to drown out the annoying announcers on your stream.
- Gonzalo Higuian and Aaron Ramsey led Juventus in shots against Roma. They each had ... two. Not exactly a night when Juve’s offense was firing on all cylinders.
- Danilo led Juventus in touches against Roma because sure why not.
- But hey, Juventus got to lift a trophy for the ninth time in as many years as Allianz Stadium has existed. I’d say that’s a pretty good run, folks.