At some point of the first half, there was a cat on the field at Allianz Stadium.
I bring that up because I would rather talk about a random ginger cat appearance rather than the game that actually took place over the course of the previous two hours.
John Elkann, all up in his dad jeans, certainly picked a good time to visit the stadium.
Juventus didn’t just fall out of the top four Sunday night. They did so in absolutely spectacular fashion. The recent struggles were only magnified that much more, and that’s saying something with how bad Juventus has been of late. It started with an absolutely terrible moment of goalkeeper from Wojciech Szczesny and only went down from there for the rest of his teammates, as Juventus got absolutely throttled by Milan in the second half and handed a 3-0 beatdown on their home field.
It was, despite Inter Milan clinching the Scudetto last weekend, the officially official feeling that this run is over and that even a team that had previously lost two of its last three games could come in and hand Juventus an absolute beating like Milan did.
Seriously. A 3-0 loss in a game you NEEDED to win to have a chance at Champions League football next season (even before there’s a UEFA punishment handed down for all the Super League stuff that has taken place over the last two weeks).
Juventus needed to answer the bell or however you want to describe.
Instead, they let Milan waltz right in, weather an early spell of Juve playing relatively OK and then roll right on by the former Italian champions after getting up 1-0.
This was a display that should be trashed all the way around — from Andrea Pirlo to the midfield, from Fabio Paratici to Giorgio Chiellini, from the ineffective midfield to the strikers who barely put anything on frame. This was bad, really bad. And the fact that they put forward this kind of display against a direct rival for a top four spot just shows how for off and likely checked out that they seem to be in the final month of the season.
Juventus outshot Milan 16-10. They had more possession than Milan. They had more corners than Milan, too — especially in the first half. If you want to add up all of the goalkeeping mistakes that should have been taken advantage of, Gigio Donnarumma had more than Szczesny in this game. Yet, when you look at the final score, it is Donnarumma and Milan that got the shutout — something I did not think was going to be possible with how shaky he was in the opening 30-35 minutes.
So here we are, folks. Looking at Juventus dropping points again and now officially out of the top four with three games remaining. And those three games aren’t cakewalks. Or at least the next two certainly aren’t as Bologna hangs around mid-table and has pretty much secured its spot in Serie A for next season already. So much of this could have been avoidable, so much of this could have been prevented if Juventus just played up to its potential.
Yet, this is what happens when you’re a team that’s a complete mess and with a manager who currently doesn’t have answer as to how to fix it. This could have been a game where Juventus showed that it’s not just sitting dead in the water in the final three weeks of the season.
Instead, they’re a sinking ship with absolutely no signs of plugging even a few of the holes that are currently taking on water. This is bad, and it’s not getting better unless something drastically changes over the next two weeks. Boy, that sounds fun to watch, doesn’t it?
Anyways, here’s the cat. Happy Sunday, everybody.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- We will have a quiz before the Sassuolo game to see how everybody has studied up on the Europa League anthem. Bonus points if you’re able to make your fellow BWRAO community members actually interested in Juventus playing in the Europa League next season.
- This was one of the few games this season where Pirlo had his full squad available to him. In a game that cried out for some kind of spark from the bench, he made one change in 75 minutes. I know I’ve defended Pirlo a lot this season, but that’s just inexcusable. Say what you want about the form of the players he had to turn to, but something needed to change and simply bringing on Dejan Kulusevski before the final 15 minutes wasn’t it.
- Paulo Dybala played 15 minutes.
- In a game that screamed out for changes, Kulusevski and Dybala were the only two subs to come off the bench. That just doesn’t seem right, but it’s the truth.
- Not to beat a dead horse, but the fact that Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur continue to be the central midfield pairing is beyond me. It just doesn’t add up.
- How on earth Arthur didn’t even see one single minute is this game is confusing.
- There was a point in the first half where Wojciech Szczesny had 2 1⁄2 times the amount of touches as Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Morata. That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.
- I know I have defended Szczesny a lot this season as well, but Gigi Buffon needs to start against Sassuolo. Just give Szczesny the next game or two off because he clearly looks like a keeper that is pressing a little too much or is in his head and overthinking things more than he should. Maybe the simple fact of having Buffon and his calming presence back there would snap at least a few things into place.
- Juan Cuadrado finished with six key passes. His WhoScored rating is 6.66. That can’t be a coincidence knowing how this game finished up.
- Cuadrado also attempted 19 crosses. So much for balance with Chiesa back.
- The amount of crosses Cuadrado successfully completed: 3. That’s ... not good.
- The amount of crosses attempted by Juventus players not named Juan Cuadrado: 8. That’s ... not good.
- It’s usually pretty bad when Dybala, who came on in the 79th minute, finishes with the team lead in shots, right? And it’s usually pretty bad when Giorgio Chiellini, a defender, has the second-highest total for attempted shots, right? Anyways, that fits the billing for this game.
- Man oh man has that midseason hip injury zapped Weston McKennie of the really good form that he was in. Those good days seem so long ago. (For the whole team, too.)
- I’m guessing any side effects I have from my second COVID-19 vaccine shot on Monday will be more enjoyable than sitting through any sort of highlights from this game. Just a hunch.
- I’ll leave you all with the Tweet of the Day sent to the BWRAO account ...