As it turned out, the most enjoyable thing to come out of Saturday night’s trip to Venice was the video of the team arriving to the stadium via a boat ride.
Although I’m guessing the boat ride back home isn’t going to be as pleasant as it was when they made their way toward the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo as the sun was setting along the water.
That’s because Juventus’ trip to Venice ended with a tale that we’ve seen so many times before against teams in the bottom half of the table — dropped points. This time, not only did Juventus see Paulo Dybala go off injured (again), but then saw Alvaro Morata’s opener wiped out on a moment of complete lackadaisical play in defense, allowing Mattia Aramu to score a brilliant tying goal 10 minutes into the second half. Juve couldn’t muster any offense to pull ahead once again, meaning a 1-1 draw is all that could happen and throw some serious momentum-killing vibes our way.
Because that’s what this team does.
All of a week after moving up to fifth place in the standings and four days after finishing atop their Champions League group (albeit with some help), Juve’s dropping points against a team that entered the night a few points out of the relegation zone and blew a 3-0 lead the last time they stepped onto the field.
Welcome to Juventus in the year 2021. Or 2020. Or 2019.
Sure, Juventus were shorthanded coming in and then saw their best source of creativity and leading goal scorer this season head off the field after less than 12 minutes. But, this played out like so many times before — Juventus had a chance to win, was in the lead, couldn’t hold the lead and then couldn’t do enough to get back into the lead. The attack, one that has been under the microscope more than ever before this season, generated shots but couldn’t convert on anything to either extend the lead or get it back.
And because of that, it made some guy on the internet look pretty stupid.
Another goal, please.— Black & White & Read All Over (@JuventusNation) December 11, 2021
That was three minutes before Venezia tied things up. As you might imagine, the context of said tweet involved the team wearing yellow scoring another goal, not the team in those beautiful black kits tying the game. But, because we can’t have nice things after winning the Scudetto for nine straight seasons, said team in yellow did ... well, you know what they did.
On a night when Juventus could have, at least for a few hours, moved within four points of Atalanta in fourth place, they instead drop points and see Fiorentina jump over them and move into fifth place. This is just what Juventus is both right now and the season as a whole — consistently inconsistent and not good enough to run off a string of results to get the amount of points they completely recover from the terrible start to the season they had.
This kind of performance wasn’t anything new. It was just more of the same.
And if you aren’t tired of it by now, you might want to look back at the last few years and see just how often something like this has taken place and how many times Juve’s dropped points against a team in the bottom half of the table, let alone right about the drop zone.
At least there was a boat ride along the water in Venice. So there’s that, I guess.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- For once, I would just like Paulo Dybala to be healthy for, like, 10 or 15 games in a row so that the salary demands he is making actually seem reasonable for somebody so talented. But what use are said talents when you’re getting injured every four or six weeks?
- Venezia had been outscored 10-3 in its last three games — which, as you might have guessed, were all loses. How nice of Juventus to allow one of the relegation battlers to slow down that pace of goals allowed a little bit.
- Matias Soulé must have learned from one of Juve’s past free kick takers, because nothing is better than a little bit of late-game Wall Time with the potential of dropping points hanging over everything.
- In all seriousness, though, why Soulé wasn’t brought on so much earlier in the second half is beyond me. As much as you could understand why Max Allegri brought on Kaio Jorge for Dybala, his second-half subs or when they came didn’t exactly inspire much confidence.
- Translation: After Dybala went off, this definitely was not Max’s best day at the office. Juventus just didn’t have any sort of Plan B or a way to figure out how to get back in front after Venezia tied things up. Allegri took the foot off the gas and Juve paid for it.
- I’m willing to grade Kaio Jorge’s performance on a curve given two very obvious reasons — for one, there’s no way in hell he’s expecting to come on in the 12th minute; secondly, he played more Saturday night (54 minutes) than he had in all of his previous Serie A appearances combined (44 minutes). Hell, the kid nearly scored on his first touch, which obviously would have changed how we thought about his performance in this game. Either way, though, more Kaio Jorge means we can actually evaluate the kid — which is something we can’t really say was possible before this game.
- Adrien Rabiot ... lol.
- Manuel Locatelli giving Aramu space to shoot on his goal ... not good.
- Leonardo Bonucci kida-sorta not making an effort to block said shot by Aramu ... also not good.
- Never liked guys named Sergio Romero who prevent good things from happening.
- Say what you want about the opposition, but this felt like Alvaro Morata’s best game in weeks, if not months. He needed a game like this — badly.
- I love Matthijs de Ligt like he’s my son, but he should not be leading Juventus in key passes like he did against Venezia. He is a central defender, not a fullback, not a midfielder.
- Luca Pellegrini played well again. Keep them coming.
- Juventus’ crossing in this game was terrible. Simply terrible. Outside of Pellegrini’s assist to Morata for the opening goal, virtually anything hit the target it was intended for. Just a waste.
- Two games to go before the Christmas break. What are the odds that Juventus drops points one more time before the calendar year comes to an end? Guessing that after Saturday night’s result nobody is thinking that six points out of six is a lock by any means (or anything close to it).