And in their return from the final international break of the season, Juventus went out and looked a whole hell of a lot like the team that went into the international break.
Translation: Everything sucks. And so does this Juventus team.
Just as it was before the international break against Benevento, Juventus was its own worst enemy in Saturday’s Derby della Mole against city rival Torino. And just like against Benevento two weeks ago, Juve’s self-inflicted wounds played a major role in how things ended up going. This time, though, all of the stupidity came after Juventus went ahead thanks to Federico Chiesa’s latest thing of beauty. And if it wasn’t for a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal, Juventus would have suffered its second straight loss to one of the worst teams in Serie A rather than salvaging a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.
Maybe it was naive of me to think that things might turn out OK after Chiesa’s goal since things were looking rather well.
But for every Chiesa goal these days Juventus has a very bad attempted pass to a teammate that totally missed its intended target, this time with Dejan Kulusevski’s backpass to Matthis de Ligt (maybe?) leading to Torino taking the lead all of 13 seconds into the second half.
Yep, good times.
It’s just more of the same from Juventus at the moment. No matter the opponent, no matter the situation that is in front of them when it comes to the Serie A standings, this team is just coming up short and needing way too many late-game heroics from the likes of Ronaldo or Chiesa to even ensure that they come away with the bare minimum. And unfortunately, the bare minimum these days is getting one point rather than grinding out wins even and winning ugly like, say, a decent portion of last season.
It’s disappointing that Juventus couldn’t keep the good times going after Chiesa’s opener, but it’s also pretty damn predictable at this point knowing how they’ve played for much of the season and especially the last few months. In years past, they could overcome the mistakes because they were simply better than everybody else and were just an absolute machine. This season, though, the mistakes are just so much more magnified because they continue to drop points and fail to overcome adversity on a consistent basis.
That’s not good, but it’s nothing new. Saturday night was another reminder of just how far off the lead Juventus truly is under Andrea Pirlo’s watch, and now they’re level on points with Napoli entering Wednesday’s showdown at the Allianz.
So as we once again cope with Juventus dropping points against a team that is hanging out around the relegation zone — and, boy, am I sick of typing that this season — it’s hard to not think about how often this has happened. And, as a result, just how much its impacted where Juventus currently sits in the standings.
Juventus Serie A win rate by season— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 3, 2021
️ 17/18: 78.9%
️ 18/19: 73.7%
️ 19/20: 68.4%
️ 20/21: 57.1%
More dropped points by the Serie A champions in this evening's Turin Derby, which ends 2-2 pic.twitter.com/MhkuQ1CdA0
That’s ... bad. That’s really, really bad. And for a club coming off a two-week break where a good number of their players didn’t actually go out on international duty, the fact that they showed absolutely no signs of improvement outside of the opening 25 minutes is pretty telling.
This team is struggling to do much of anything right on a consistent basis these days and the results show it. This, again, was definitely two points dropped than one point earned.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I was having a lot more fun during this game in the minutes following Federico Chiesa going on an awesome run, telling Alvaro Morata to not touch a damn thing and then nutmegging the opposing keeper. Good times, good times.
- I was really looking forward to making Fred Church puns during Easter weekend if Juventus did end up winning. Thanks for ruining all of my fun, guys.
- Not Wojciech Szczesny’s best game in a Juventus jersey.
- That first bullet point was written before his two fantastic saves to late in the second half to ensure that Juventus didn’t drop all of the points against Torino. Just some of the points.
- Not Alex Sandro’s best game in a Juventus jersey.
- Not Dejan Kulusevski’s best game in a Juventus jersey.
- There seems to be a trend growing here. Let’s talk about something else.
- Was Cristiano Ronaldo all that great outside of his late game-tying goal? I don’t know. But it’s never a bad thing when you need a goal to at least get one point and you’ve got that guy in the box. At least VAR worked out to be our friend for a few minutes in this game.
- I don’t think the Danilo-as-a-midfielder experiment went as well as it did the first couple of times Pirlo tried it out this season. To be fair, what do you expect from a guy who is not actually a midfielder?
- Federico Bernardeschi trying to draw a penalty in the dying moments ... yeah, that definitely deserved a yellow card.
- Also a deserved card? Juan Cuadrado’s late tackle that only got a yellow. That really could have been a red, and if it was I wouldn’t have objected to it at all. That was a really bad tackle that could have resulted in even more doom and gloom around here.
- Cuadrado attempted 22 crosses in this game. Twenty-two!
- At this rate, is it fair to say that Sandro is falling into the category of “He’s bound to be sold a year too late rather than a year too early”? The guy has been a consistent contributor on a title-winning team for half a decade now, but he’s certainly not at the level he was a few years ago. If Juve are to potentially fetch a decent transfer fee for him over the summer, it will be more on reputation rather than how he’s actually played during the 2020-21 season (and the couple of seasons before that).
- You know what would have been nice to see in this game? Juventus actually have options off the bench other than Bernardeschi, Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. Juve was in desperate need in some kind of jolt of energy and what we got was ... Ramsey.
- On Friday, Andrea Pirlo said that Juventus’ approach is to win all of their remaining games. Well, maybe that is going to kick in against Napoli because they certainly didn’t approach this game to win even though they were actually winning at one point. So it goes.