The fallout from Juventus’ 4-0 loss to Chelsea on Tuesday night has been very much expected, very much deserved and very much disheartening considering how the majority of the 2021-22 season has gone up to this point. It wasn’t just a regression to the mean, but more of crashing down to the surface like a water balloon being dropped from the top of a 10-story office building.
The fall was hard. It was not pretty. And, a lot like when the sidewalk wins, you knew pretty quickly who was going to come out on the better end of things.
Anything regarding Juventus at the moment isn’t exactly positive. That’s the nature of what comes out of a loss like Juve just suffered. But, as we know, the show always goes on. Whether the show is a good one is something we won’t know until showtime arrives, but it always goes on regardless of the last outing being good, bad or just completely awful like Tuesday night’s trip to London was.
The catch is, it’s not like Juve’s next opponent is a relegation battler that only has a handful of points to its name so far this season. Instead, the team that is making the trip to Turin this weekend just so happens to be a team that has given Juve plenty of problems over the last couple of years as the downward trend has taken place. That team, Atalanta, is also one of Juventus’ direct rivals for a top four spot. And when you look at the standings entering the weekend, it’s Atalanta and not Juventus that is actually sitting in one of those top four spots that ensures Champions League football for next season.
Sounds like a good situation, doesn’t it?
As we await to see just what Juve we will get entering another big game, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the team’s form is very much replicating that of last season. We don’t know which Juventus we’re going to get from week to week. You can extend that further to a game-by-game basis — and you wouldn’t be wrong whatsoever. Juventus looked pretty damn solid against Lazio last weekend and then we all know what happened next against Chelsea. One game rather good, the next one pretty much on the opposite end of the spectrum. It is very much the same kind of thing last season under Andrea Pirlo, and we’re seeing it now under Max Allegri.
This makes contending for a title not possible. And it makes finishing in the top four a task that, unless something seriously changes, becomes a season-long grind rather than something you don’t even worry about because of Juve’s comfortably in the top four with room to spare.
This is the world Juventus lives in now.
And it’s the world that they will continue to be in unless something suddenly changes. (Which, based on the sample size of this season as well as last season, doesn’t seem all that likely to happen.)
For all we know, Angry Juventus could show its face Saturday night and take it to an Atalanta side that itself is coming off a tough Champions League result midweek. (Not a 4-0 loss to the defending Champions League winners, but a result that surely had a few in Bergamo wishing was different.) Atalanta enters Saturday’s matchup unbeaten in its last seven games in all competitions, and has been scoring for fun in some of those outings.
Not exactly what Juve’s done.
We know Juve’s defense will be put to the test considering just how explosive Atalanta’s attack can be. That’s not exactly a reassuring thing to think about knowing what happened the last time took the field, but it’s just the reality of the situation.
But what we also know is this: Four points separates Juventus and Atalanta in the standings, and a result from Allegri’s side will either keep things right where they are or bring the Bianconeri closer to actually cracking the top four. Sometimes that seems like no big thing, other times it feels like an uphill climb that Juve won’t be able to manage.
Right now, with what we saw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, that’s more Door No. 2 rather than Door No. 1 — which, if you’re keeping track at home, is not a good thing.
- Giorgio Chiellini and Federico Bernardeschi returned to training on Thursday — which, regardless of their availability and complete match fitness, is a small step in the right direction.
- Mattia De Sciglio is still out injured.
- Aaron Ramsey is still out injured.
- Danilo is out injured and will be for the next two months.
- Regarding Paulo Dybala, Allegri said “he is in good condition and I think he may start tomorrow.”
- As you might expect, Allegri said he doesn’t know what his starting lineup is going to look like just yet.
JUVENTUS PLAYER TO WATCH
Juventus’ attack has been ... struggling lately.
Allegri spoke Friday about how his team needs to be clinical against Atalanta, which makes sense seeing as the soon-to-be visitors to Allianz Stadium are one of the most explosive teams in Serie A.
So as much as I could pick the guy who wears No. 10 seeing as he’s expected to return to the starting lineup, let’s go with the Spaniard who will line up alongside of him.
This time 12 months ago, Alvaro Morata was on fire. He was scoring goals, and doing so in pretty important games, too. It didn’t matter if it was in Serie A or in the Champions League, Morata was in red-hot form and enjoying the first few months of his return to Juvenuts quite a bit.
This season has not been anything close to that.
Morata, a streaky striker who runs as hot and cold as anybody out there, is definitely in a rut when it comes to his goal-scoring form. Since Juve’s 1-1 draw with Milan two months ago, Morata has scored just two goals for club and country, a span of 13 games. That one goal in a Juventus jersey came in Juve’s 4-2 win over Zenit St. Petersburg right before the November international break, with Morata’s form becoming more and more of a thing considering Dybala has missed so much time this season due to injury.
- Morata’s goal per 90 minutes last season: 0.49
- Morata’s goal per 90 minutes this season: 0.23
That’s ... not good.
But that only tells part of the story. Whether it’s Juve’s more conservative approach or just Morata misfiring, this has become about the opposite of a first half to the season as we saw from him last year. Juve needs a lot of things to start going their way to get this thing at least somewhat back on track over the next few weeks.
It can start with scoring a few more goals than they have — which is, as you might guess, one of the main things that Morata is on this team to try and do.
When: Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.
Where: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy.
Official kickoff time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 5 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 12 p.m. Eastern Time; 9 a.m. Pacific Time.
HOW TO WATCH
Television: BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom).
Online/mobile: Paramount+ (United States); BTSport.com, BT Sport App (United Kingdom); DAZN (Italy).
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.