In years past, Max Allegri has talked about his infinity for 1-0 wins. He embraces the chance to see his team defend a slim lead, almost welcoming the heart-stopping pressure that comes with your team both winning and trying to hang onto the lead as the match goes on.
The problem with it, though, is that one mistake and your opponent is right back in it.
And that’s what we saw from Juventus on Sunday night.
Juventus continued the theme of the 2021-22 season with AC Milan’s visit to Allianz Stadium — the points will be dropped no matter how well things have gone before that. This time, Juventus led virtually start to finish after Alvaro Morata’s fourth-minute goal put his team in front. The problem was, though, Juventus was unable to add on, with chances wasted and a lead sticking at 1-0. Milan, like has been want to do this season by any Juve opponent, made the Old Lady pay for her sins of the night, stealing a point in a 1-1 draw and sending Juve even further down the table than they already were entering the weekend.
Let me put it to you this way ...
Milan had all of one shot on goal before Ante Rebic tied the game. ONE SHOT. They were settling for 30-yard piledrivers that were nowhere near the target because nothing was working for them. And then they get the game-tying goal. Because Juventus let them hang around and didn’t see the game out rather than adding on to their lead when they had the chance(s) to.
That’s just how this season is going. Maybe it was hopeful to think that Juve would finish this out no matter how well they were playing. I don’t know. At this point, trying to figure just what this team actually is on a game-to-game basis can be as hard as picking that night’s lottery numbers. You just don’t know, and we will continue to not know anything about this team other than it unofficially loves to throw away points as long as this trend continues.
It’s tiring. It’s annoying. It’s all of the above, really. You don’t want to see Allegri sit on a 1-0 lead, but then you see him sit on a 1-0 lead and said 1-0 lead gets thrown away, and you can’t help but wonder why he wants to keep sitting on 1-0 leads when this team can’t defend 1-0 leads to save its life right now. (Take a shot for every time I wrote “1-0 lead” in that last sentence, by the way. Don’t thank me later, though, because your head might be in a toilet.)
This is now four straight games in which Juventus has dropped points to begin the new season. Through those four games, Juve has all of two points to their name, with eight points currently between the teams at the top of the table and where Juve find themselves in the table.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that’s 18th place, just barely ahead of known Serie A juggernauts Cagliari and Salernitana.
LMAO, Juve in the relegation zone.— Sergio - 2021 ALL COPPA CHAMPS - Romero (@manuc_bwrao) September 19, 2021
In normal times, a 1-1 draw with Milan wouldn’t be all that bad of a result. Even though I’d be mad about it, I wouldn’t spell doom because no matter who they’re missing Stefano Pioli’s side is still a good team. But these aren’t normal times. This isn’t a normal kind of situation because of how Juve’s started the season. This is the kind of situation where allowing a late goal with 15 minutes to go gives you that sinking feeling again because you know it shouldn’t be like this. Yet it is. And because of it, Juventus had to win this game no matter how Max Allegri tried to play it down the day before at his pre-match press conference.
Juventus needed to win this game. Juventus should have won this game. But they didn’t, and it’s because of the same old problems that both Allegri and the squad as a whole just can’t shake.
We should be talking about how great Morata’s goal was. We should be talking about Paulo Dybala having one of his best games in 2021. We should be talking about so many good things that Juventus did before Milan tied the game. Instead, we’re here — again.
I don’t like being here. It’s tiresome to do this again. Yet, we have to do this again because Juventus threw away points in a game they were winning and should have won.
Good times, good times. (Except they’re not good times.)
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- When this game kicked off, Juve was in the relegation zone. Seriously. Nineteenth place. The only team below them was Salernitana. (This was typed within the opening five minutes not knowing the end result.)
- That counterattack for Morata’s goal. To be able to do that and take all of two passes to get it to Morata — especially the poke forward by Paulo Dybala — was just fantastic work. Perfect execution with a chip to finish it all off. You love to see it.
- Manuel Locatelli’s passing range is beautiful and you need to be reminded of this every single time I write one of posts. You’re welcome in advance.
- It was good to see that Rodrigo Bentancur’s first half got a lot better than it started. When you unintentionally take out one of your own teammates, that’s not exactly setting a bar high for how things are going to go for you. But hey, credit to Bentancur for going nowhere but up and having another solid game, especially in the first half.
- You want a sign of how much Milan were struggling up front without Zlatan and Olivier Giroud before they actually scored a goal? Ante Rebic, said goal scorer, had all of 20 touches within the first 60 minutes of this game. So much of Milan’s attacks during that time involved crosses being sent into the box that were either easily collected by Wojciech Szczesny or just go out for a goal kick because they had no end target.
- Through the first 69 minutes, Milan had all of one shot on target — and it was right at Szczesny. That’s nice.
- The marking by Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot on Milan’s goal — not nice at all.
- Like, you literally see Szczesny telling Rabiot to mark the area in the box where Rebic ended up making contact with the ball. And, he didn’t. Again, self-inflicted wounds and Juventus go together like peanut butter and jelly, and it’s going to continue to go that way unless something changes in a major, major way.
- I’ll say it here just like I did on Tuesday: Wojciech Szczesny had a good game and that’s important because the more good games he has consecutively will hopefully put the mess of a 2021 he’s had further and further in the rear view mirror.
- Sometimes equaling records from the early 1960s is a good thing. Juventus not winning their first four games of the season since 1961 is not a good thing.
- I really wanted to dedicate a good portion of this space to talk about just how well Paulo Dybala did play. But now I’m grumpy because of Juventus not winning again and here we are. Dybala was good — REALLY good at times — and that’s the player that Juve’s going to need lead this attack because lord knows more goals are going to have to be scored with this defense.
- At least Federico Chiesa is back, so there’s that.
- Alvaro Morata has now scored three goals in three games. As a dude who’s known as an incredibly streaky striker, that’s hopefully a good sign of things to come.
- Honestly, I’ve got nothing left to say. There’s a glass of bourbon with my name on it waiting for me.