On the surface of it, there wasn’t a whole lot of improvement from Juventus last game to the one they played Saturday night. Ritiro was not the cure-all that some probably hoped it would be in terms of improving the team’s overall performance level. (But when is it ever?)
Yet, no matter how much the squad is struggling to do much of anything right, there’s always one good thing to remember.
Juventus has Dusan Vlahovic. Their opponent doesn’t.
It was Vlahovic who decided the first Derby della Mole of the 2022-23 season and gave Juventus some much-needed respite from the current state of things at the club. Torino, for whatever reason, lost track of the best goal-scoring threat that Juventus has, allowing the big Serbian to roam free at the back post and score the ultimate poacher’s goal at the back post off a flick from Danilo. It gave Juventus the lead and ultimately a 1-0 win over their cross-town rivals at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, the Bianconeri’s first away win of the season in all competitions.
Let me remind you that this game was played on the 15th day of October. Juventus’ season began on exactly two months earlier on Aug. 15, 2022.
Recording your first away win of the season this far into said season is just a sign of how bad Juventus has been so far this season. Saying it’s been a struggle has been an understatement, and it’s not like Juve has been facing the likes of AC Milan every time they play away from the Allianz Stadium.
For much of this night, it looked pretty much the status quo of what we’ve become accustomed to under Max Allegri. The attack was stagnant, the passing was bad and the defense was leaving opportunities for Torino to try and exploit for what felt like much of the time they had the ball. It was a slog — especially in the first half — and pretty much resembled what Juve had done just a few nights earlier against Maccabi Haifa.
Thankfully, on one of the last scoring chances of the night, Vlahovic was able to strike.
Seeing Vlahovic explode with joy was pretty much the opposite of expressions that we had seen from him in the 70 or so minutes prior. The frustration that we’ve seen for so much of this season was ever-present, with #DusanFace becoming more and more frequent as the minutes ticked away.
That all changed with his goal. And for one post-game team talk, Juve could have some sort of happiness behind it. That hasn’t been happening much at all lately, so you’ll take it where you can get it, right? I know I will simply because Juve now has many league wins as they do draws. (It’s the small victories, folks.)
Basically, a few hundred words into this, my main point is this: When in doubt, get the ball to Dusan. It might not always result in goals, but it does a good portion of the time. That is what Juve paid for, and that is what Juve needs to help make happen more often.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- After everything that’s gone on this season and all the reported drama going on behind the scenes, this moment after the final whistle brought a smile to my face:
- I know one win over a struggling Torino side won’t fix everything in an instant, but sometimes you just gotta appreciate little things like this when the times are tough. Maybe this is the win that starts some sort of streak — who knows. But, for right now, the players are at least on the outside showing the willingness to rally together a little bit.
- Congrats to those who watched because you just saw Juventus scored its second away goal of the Serie A season.
- It came in Turin. In a stadium Juve used to call their home stadium. This season, man.
- That is a very fitting kind of goal for Dusan Vlahovic to score on David Trezeguet’s birthday.
- Dusan Vlahovic, playing a very different kind of role that he did at Fiorentina and for a manager who is very much holding him back, is currently tied for the league lead in goals.
- So it seems like Bremer is going to be out for a little bit. Just what we wanted to hear knowing what Juve have to try and do before the World Cup break.
- For the final 40 minutes or so, Juventus played with one natural center back in a three-man defense. And, over that span, they didn’t allow a goal. Sometimes, I don’t understand how these things happen, but they just happen.
- I’m guessing Juve playing a Torino team that has scored eight goals in in their first 10 Serie A matches had a little something to do with that. Might have to investigate further.
- It took Juventus nearly 35 minutes to record an actual shot. And it was right then and there they forced a triple save within a minute from Vanja Milinkovic-Savic. This game makes no sense sometimes.
- Also, Vanja, since you seem pretty established in Turin now, if you want to tell your brother to move a little closer to you during the next transfer window or two, I’m all for it. Thanks, buddy! I really do appreciate it!
- Just when you think Moise Kean can’t look completely out of form, he goes and misses the kind of chance he had early in the second half to make things look even worse. Moise Kean as a teenager oozing of swagger finishes that easy three years ago. The Kean we see now? Well, what happened there is pretty predictable at this point. Guy is just a shell of his former self and it’s just a damn shame considering how he burst onto the scene.
- The match announcer definitely dropped a “That was a good shift for Kean” and I may or may not have tilted my head to the side like a confused dog and said a few cuss words along the lines of “ducking bullpit” immediately after.
- Filip Kostic had five key passes against Torino. The rest of Juventus had six.
- Hell, Team Serbia on Juventus had seven key passes against Torino. Not Team Serbia had four.
- I am rooting very hard for Weston McKennie to get out of this early-season funk he is in because he really is a good player and shows it when things are going well. Things aren’t going well for him right now, though, and that is very easy to see.
- I am still trying to figure out how Juan Cuadrado was able to play 90 minutes in this game simply because of the injury it looked like he picked up in the second half.
- Related: Cuadrado Washed Watch continues. That was a tough game for Johnny.
- Max Allegri only made three subs in this game and one of them was because of injury. The other might have been because Vlahovic got hit in the onions late in the second half. So does that mean only one of the three was actually by choice? We might need to investigate further.
- Another unused sub game for Fabio Miretti coming out of the international break. I dunno what has suddenly caused this because know that ankle injury wasn’t as serious as we might have thought, but this is just weird to suddenly pull the plug on a player who was doing quite well before the break. Max gonna Max, I guess.
- First game out of ritiro and one win. Max Allegri was right. Suck it, haterz.
- With everything going on, this remains true: TORINO ERA E RESTA BIANCONERA. That does have a nice little ring to it, folks.