There was no team in the world that was happier about having an International break than Juventus.
After having back-to-back devastating losses in both the Champions League and domestically, the Bianconeri were a team in free fall. Sure, having to listen to every single media member that covers football — including us! — talk smack about them for two weeks probably wasn’t awesome, but if Sunday’s game against Bologna was any indication, rest for the team was probably a good thing.
After — literally — failing to record a win in a whole-ass month, Juventus had a composed, professional and mostly complete performance as they beat Bologna in Turin 3-0 in a game that was as drama-free as you’d like.
It’s not like beating Bologna — a team one point above the relegation zone — suddenly puts this team on track to the treble and all is forgiven, but there was only one thing that it was in their control and that was to win, which they did. That’s not nothing.
MVP: Arek Milik
Look, nobody was excited OK? Nobody. I was in that comment section, and not one of you was “Hell yeah, we just got a guy who was sort of fine in the French league! Scudetto, here we go!”
Milik was viewed as a decent backup — that was his ceiling this summer.
It was about time for Juventus to have a player overachieve for a change, and that’s exactly what the Polish international has done. Not only has he been prolific as a goal scorer — for this team’s standards anyway — but it’s been his adaptability that has been the biggest surprise.
Paulo Dybala he is not, but he has done a pretty good job of being a serviceable distributor in the final third as well as a shockingly adept partner to Dusan Vlahovic. His goal to make it 3-0 was a thing of beauty and killed the game off for all intents and purposes.
I’ve never been happier to be so wrong about a guy. You do you, Arek.
Runner Up: Dusan Vlahovic - Bounced back from his subpar performances with a goal and an all around much more involved performance for Juventus. Less throwing his hands in the air in frustration on this one, which is a good thing for everyone’s sake.
Grab Bag MVP Season Leader: Dusan Vlahovic (7 Points)
Winner: Max Allegri
Max is probably the man who spent those two aforementioned weeks with his ears buzzing from all the #AllegriOut tweets.
Say what you will about the guy, but after the board backed him as the coach moving forward, the only thing that was in his hands was to try and turn this thing around and while Sunday’s victory is not nearly enough to suddenly have confidence in the man, this was as good of a bounce back game as we could have expected.
(“Backed” seems generous considering the reports that one of the few reasons he’s still in charge of Juventus is the financial situation of the club.)
The team played mistake-free football and cashed in on their offensive opportunities. There were no stretches of the game in which the rival made them sweat and on the aggregate, there were no real weak links when the game was over with.
Bologna is not a good team, but Monza wasn’t, either. Juventus has to beat these teams on a regular basis, and they did on Sunday. It’s one step at a time, and considering the gauntlet Juve have to face in the next week, this might be for naught if things go poorly in those games. But all they can do right now is beat the team they have in front of them.
So far, so good.
Like I said, Bologna is not a good team, but Marko Arnautovic is a pretty good striker. The big Austrian player has six goals in Serie A and was an object of desire for many clubs around the world — including Juventus! — looking to sharpen their offensive weapons in the last transfer window.
However, against Juventus he was completely erased from the game by Bremer, who did his very best Giorgio Chiellini impersonation to take a dangerous striker completely out of it in order to help the Bianconeri get the W.
Similarly to the rest of the team, Bremer’s season has been of up and downs, with some impressive performances sandwiched between shaky outings.
(Especially in European competition.)
But Sunday was Bremer at his best as he provided a decent sample of why Juventus did not hesitate to pull the trigger and pay the big bucks to acquire him from Torino in the summer.
Kit Matchup from Hell
I’m not a super traditionalist in any respect. I didn’t hate Maurizio Sarri because he didn’t wear suits nor do I think that wearing the No. 10 holds any special meaning anymore.
I’m fine with the stadium having a corporate name and with Juventus having more kits than potential trophies to win in a year. It happens, football is big business now and there is nothing you or I can do to stop that from continuing to happen.
With that being said, asking for the home team to wear their home colors should not be too much to ask, no?
One quick glance at the TV and if I asked you to name the two teams just by uniforms alone Juventus vs Bologna would not have been your first guess,
I don’t even particularly hate the color scheme and pattern of Juve’s third kit. It’s supposed to be a star pattern looked through a kaleidoscope which is at least creative. Plus the color is different than what Juve has ever worn, I kind of dig it in general.
But when you have two clubs with so much history and color ways that represent so much of that identity, you should do everything you can to represent that. Bologna has a bit of an out as they were the away side, but Juve have no excuse.
(Their bright canary yellow kits are pretty atrocious though. Shame considering how well navy and burgundy work together.)
Use the third kit playing away in Europe, push all the merchandise in the world when playing against recently promoted clubs at their place. But when you play at home, do us the favor of at least looking recognizable. Least you could do.
Parting Shot of the Week
We’ve seen Juventus have decent wins or decent games, only to throw it all away immediately afterwards, so you’ll have to excuse me if I don't have my hopes all the way up because they beat a bad team like they should.
Sure, the three goals were nice, but it’s not going to be until we see them string together a few performances like this one that we can start talking ourselves into any sort of comeback.
Hey, what do you know! Three extremely crucial games coming up, Juventus! If you wanted to string together those hypothetical performances no better moment than in the next week when you play for your Champions League life and face the reigning champ.
See you Wednesday.