It took all of about 30 seconds to figure out what kind of match this would be.
Hell, you probably knew what it was going to be like this time last week during the international break, and that was before we knew who exactly was going to be available and who was going to be left behind in Turin. Juve were always going to sit back and defend, hoping to replicate the same kind of magic that happened the first time these two sides played one another a couple of months ago.
And, well, the hope of Juve getting a result was pretty much completely out the window once Chelsea’s intent was visible and the first goal — grumble grumble VAR grumble grumble — hit the back of the net.
Juventus didn’t just lose at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. Max Allegri and Juve got absolutely throttled by the reigning champions of Europe, as Chelsea showed just how damn good of a side it can be when everything is going right. The 4-0 scoreline could have been a lot worse if not for some heroics and world-class-level in goal by Wojciech Szczesny on both sides of halftime, but the damage was already done at that point.
This was Chelsea looking like a dominant force even without its big summer purchase not playing a single second Tuesday night. And this was Juventus looking absolutely lost from the very beginning, with players being played out of position and absolutely no ability to counter what Chelsea was doing outside of a couple moments before things got completely out of hand.
This was bad.
This was very, very bad.
And it’s discouraging that this is the kind of performance that was put forward when Juve had the chance to finish atop of Group H even though they are now very much the second-best team in the group. Rather than putting forward the kind of effort that allowed Juve to upset Chelsea in Turin even when they were so shorthanded, Allegri’s squad did this — and it wasn’t pretty at all.
Juve couldn’t connect passes for much of the night. Juve couldn’t defend consistently in a match where they were clearly set out to defend for large stretches of time. And, because of Chelsea having so much of the ball and a lot of the outlet passes going astray, Juventus just couldn’t get anything going forward to relieve some of the pressure at the other end of the field.
As much as the first meeting with Chelsea was the defense bending and not breaking against an out-of-sync opponent, this was Juventus looking terrible in every single aspect, with only a couple of players actually having decent nights.
The final shot count, 21-8 in favor of Chelsea, is pretty much indicative of just that.
Juventus weren’t just beaten Tuesday night. Allegri’s squad was absolutely Hulk-smashed into the turf at Stamford Bridge and reminded — this time by a European opponent — just how far off they are from being a contender both domestically and in the Champions League.
There’s not much else to say about that, right? This was a loss with Chelsea so far and away the better side from the opening whistle to the final whistle. Juve had to play a perfect kind of game to get the result and keep their recent run of success in England going. Instead, they absolutely faceplanted on the big stage and now head home with the tail tucked between their collective legs.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Well, that sucked.
- Yeah, that sucked a lot.
- Seriously, Juve just got their ass kicked on a night when Romelu Lukaku, one of the best strikers in the world, didn’t even play. That’s how bad this performance was.
- The one lineup choice I have issue with: Allegri going with four central midfielders when the midfield is very much still the biggest weakness on this team. Now that the end of November is approaching, it’s becoming pretty clear that Allegri trusts a certain group of players a whole lot more than he does other players in big games. Would I have liked to see the kind of lineup Allegri used against Lazio after Danilo got hurt? Yeah, probably. But this was the kind of lineup that was so incredibly boom or bust and ... well, you saw what happened out there.
- I mean, playing a formation that needs wingers and you’ve got one of the two wingers in your starting lineup playing as a fullback just doesn’t seem like it’s a recipe for success.
- A photo you would expect to see between two players from the opposite team, not two players who get paid by the same employer. This was bad.
- Thiago Silva making a goal line clearance like that at the age of 37 years old is just crazy. Guessing he gutted it out through some pain the rest of the night, too, which might be just as impressive.
- This game was a microcosm of Rodrigo Bentancur’s Juve career over the course of the last 18 months. Long are the days when he was impressing in every position Maurizio Sarri played him in. Now he’s looking as lost and ineffective as ever, and it’s a wonder why Allegri would play him in such an important game like this one.
- Adrien Rabiot was really bad.
- Alex Sandro was really bad, too.
- Hell, even Matthijs de Ligt looked totally human in this one, and he’s usually one of the players who comes to the rescue to prevent bad things from happening.
- But hey, at least Leonardo Bonucci and Jorginho got some jokes off before kickoff, right? (That’s total sarcasm and that’s all I’m gonna say on that.)
- When Federico Chiesa doesn’t even record a single shot despite playing so many minutes, that’s usually a pretty good indicator that your attack was non-existent all night long.
- Chelsea’s defenders almost have scored almost as many goals in all competitions this season as Juve has as a team in Serie A. That’s ... not good!
- I’ll fawn over Chelsea’s defense just one more time with something they mentioned on the Paramount+ broadcast: Since Thomas Tuchel took over, Chelsea’s allowed less than 0.5 goals per game. That’s now, with Tuesday’s win, an even better mark over the span of 50 games. That’s just wild.
- Like pretty much every other outfield player for Juventus, Weston McKennie had some rough moments in this match. But, unlike some of his Juve teammates, you can actually say that Weston had a pretty solid night against one of Europe’s most in-form sides.
Feel bad for Weston McKennie— Chris Smith (@CJSmith91) November 23, 2021
88% pass comp, 4 tackles, 5 recoveries, 4 interceptions, came close with an effort near the end
But given no help by a terrible Juventus team. Had to expend too much energy defending. Misery compounded by that mistake at the end#UCL #CHEJUV #USMNT
- So much of the fallout from this game is going to involve people saying something along the lines of “Juventus need to learn from this going forward.” I have one question to counter that: If Juve hasn’t learned by now, when is it actually going to sink in? We’ve been seeing this week-to-week or even game-to-game situation for now three managers and essentially 2 1⁄2 seasons. If it hasn’t happened already, we need to realize that’s just who this team is until MAJOR changes happen. Those almost certainly aren’t going to happen in January, so we are just going to have to live with this up and down team, I guess.
- It took all of one night in London for Juventus to see its goal differential in the Champions League this season to go from a pretty good standing at plus-7 to now at plus-3. Chelsea now has quite the margin in its corner at plus-9. Sheesh.
- Honestly, I just feel like writing “sheesh” for the rest of this post because of what I just watched.
- With that being said, pass the bourbon, please.