Against a team that hasn’t won in 2 1⁄2 months, that has allowed 52 goals in 27 games and is easily one of the worst defenses in Serie A, Juventus were the ones who played like a team that had absolutely nothing to play for.
Except for the fact that they most certainly did.
An absolutely tepid and unproductive effort in the attacking third as well as an absolutely boneheaded pass attempt from one side of the penalty area to the other by Arthur allowed Benevento to not only grab a shock lead over the nine-time defending Italian champions, but become the latest shoot-yourself-in-the-foot moment for a Juventus team that has a résumé full of them this season. The mistake at the back proved to be the mistake that led to the go-ahead goal that eventually led to Juventus dropping points AGAIN to Benevento, this time seeing Pippo Inzaghi and Co. grabbing a 1-0 win at the Allianz Stadium.
So, with all of that being said, let me just ask this question: What the hell is going on here, and why in any way did Arthur think that this was going to be a successful outcome?
I just ... I got nothin’, you guys.
Juventus’ failures Sunday afternoon were more than just this five-second window of time, but man, it just encapsulates so much of how this team only continues to kill itself and how the self-inflicted wounds only get magnified when you play as badly as they did.
Folks will compliment Benevento for how they played, how they defended and how they were able to never allow Juventus to get into any kind of groove whatsoever. That’s fine. Do whatever you want. But this was about Juventus doing absolutely nothing well, or anything close to well against a team that had ONE WIN to its name in the current calendar year. (And it’s not like we’re still in January or anything.)
It didn’t matter how much possession Juve had. It didn’t matter how many shots they may or may not have created. (And they outshot Benevento 21-7, by the way.) Juventus, again, played down to the level of their opposition, let said opposition get a goal on one of its rare scoring opportunities and then can do nothing to turn a 1-0 scoreline around because they’ve dug themselves too deep of a hole.
Again, this was Benevento, a team that hadn’t won since Jan. 6 and had one of the worst defensive records in the league. This wasn’t a plucky mid-table team where dropping points could have happened and it wouldn’t have been a complete disaster.
This was just that.
Juventus never showed up and played like it.
This result was deserved, and we’ve seen it play out way too many times before the last six months.
I’ll just say this: They better be glad that fans weren’t in the stands for this one because the whistles would have rained down on the Juve players and management like no other after this performance, this game and this kind of season. Just when this team looks like it has a chance to do something of note and take advantage of situations presented to them — in this case all of the weirdness happening with the Milan clubs right now — stuff like Sunday’s game play out. Welcome to Juventus in 2021.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I wonder what the folks at Amazon are thinking after filming this latest crapfest.
- They panned to Giorgio Chiellini sitting on the bench in the final couple of minutes of the second half and he really had one of those dry and sarcastic smiles on his face that really told you nothing about the situation was actually funny. At this point, all you can do is just laugh hysterically because this season has just turned into such a dumb, dumb sequence of events.
- The announcers hyped the Cristiano Ronaldo free kicks.
- Cristiano Ronaldo then blasted the free kicks into the wall.
- Dropping four of six points against Benevento this season. What a perfect representation of just how bad Juve’s been against the bottom third of the table. And they’ve played like it, too. There has been nothing unlucky.
- The announcers on the world feed being used on ESPN+ thought that Federico Chiesa should have just jumped over the defender as he tumbled to the ground. I want to ask you something: Does this look like a situation where Chiesa could have jumped as somebody fell directly on his feet ... that are used to jump?
- Some of the passes this team played on top of the terrible Arthur decision that led to Juve going behind on the scoreboard ... whoa boy. It was bad.
- Juventus had nearly 75 percent of the possession and it really didn’t matter. At no point in this game did they really look like they were all that dangerous on a consistent level. There were a few shots here, a few shots there, but absolutely nothing screamed out this team was going to actually doing something that resulted in goals being scored.
- But, in typical Juventus fashion, there was a late-game scramble and some sense of urgency after they fell behind. So, if you wanted to find something utterly predictable, then that’s it.
- I think Dejan Kulusevski just needs a break for his own good. He’s too much in his head right now, and the decisive thinking on the fly we saw from him the first couple of months of the season just ain’t around right now.
- Yet, somehow, Kulusevski and another player who wasn’t very good against Benevento, Federico Bernardeschi, led the team in key passes. So there’s that. Stupid stats.
- There was a point in the second half where Bernardeschi sent a cross in from the left wing, it found nobody and came out to a teammate on the right wing. Said teammate, who think was Federico Chiesa but I can’t 100 percent remember off the top of my head so please forgive me, then sent a cross back in ... and it found nobody, only rolling toward the left corner flag and nobody else. That was a perfect description of this game.
- I think Adrien Rabiot was in the starting lineup. I’m not sure of this because he really did nothing at all of note.
- I woke up early on a Saturday morning to watch the Juventus women play well against Fiorentina and get a win.
- I woke up early on a Sunday morning to watch the Juventus men play absolutely horribly against Benevento and get handed a 1-0 loss.
- So, when in doubt, roll with the Juve women because they won’t disappoint you.
- This is the end of me making it about me. I’ve really got nothing else to say after this game. There really isn’t anything else to say about this game because we’ve been saying the same kind of thing for months now. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it’s the case. It’s an endless cycle of Juventus playing extremely poorly against bad teams and there’s really nothing we can do about it now. Oh well.