There were a lot of things that were disappointing about Max Allegri’s return season to Juventus, but one of the biggest ones was the simple fact that his team couldn’t get it done against the best sides in Italy. It didn’t matter if it was the two Milan sides or Napoli, the common thread was Allegri and Juventus couldn’t get the job done against the three teams that finished ahead of them in the Serie A table.
And, guess what?
The same thing is starting to happen again this season.
Sure, Milan technically started the day outside of the top 4 in Serie A, but the fact still remains that in one of the bigger fixtures of the 2022-23 season, Juventus again fell flat on their face and didn’t do much to deserve any sort of result in a 2-0 loss at the San Siro on Saturday night. It was the kind of night where there was what feels like the mandatory refereeing controversy, but there was also the simple level of performance from Juventus that didn’t match the level of their opponent, with the reigning Serie A champions very much outclassing Allegri’s side in just about every single way.
The shot creation in attack wasn’t there.
The defending on the counterattack wasn’t there.
The ability to keep ahold of the ball for more than a few passes wasn’t there.
Basically, once Juventus fell behind 1-0 right before halftime arrived — on a sequence which will certainly have a whole lot of folks talking about some things — it was even more of an uphill battle than it already felt like.
The wins over Bologna and Maccabi Haifa this was not.
That’s what happens when you put this Juventus side against a decent opponent. And even though Milan is dealing with a ton of injuries and just got smacked in the Champions League midweek while Juve were celebrating a 3-1 win over Maccabi, there was no doubt who the better side was Saturday night at San Siro — and it certainly wasn’t the one that Allegri was screaming at for 90-plus minutes.
But the thing is, none of this is surprising anymore. This is what Juventus under Allegri is all about. It’s not about big wins in big games or fighting until the end to somehow snatch three points away from the opponent when you least expect them to. Juve has become just another team with just a bunch of dudes who are not performing up to the level they have in the past. And when you look at how they’re being set up by their manager, there’s no favors being done. Allegri isn’t setting his team up to win and putting his players in positions to win.
This night, this stupid and extremely frustrating night, was just another example of that.
This team can’t build off the wins they get and any small step forward or two is followed up by what we saw from Juventus against Milan. It’s that simple. What had a bright start Saturday night was replaced with what we’ve seen for much of the season to date. That’s not going to get it done against the best sides in Italy, and it’s most certainly not going to be the thing that gets Juventus in contention for a Champions League spot later this season.
Based on certain things that might happen Sunday, Juve could very well be sitting in ninth or 10th place. And you know what? That’s exactly what they deserve with how they’ve played so far this season. This is the kind of result that reminds you how far Juventus has fallen and how far they still have to go to try and even get back into the top 4.
If this is what a short-handed Milan side playing with their backup keeper — who didn’t have much of anything to do, by the way — did to Juventus, I seriously fear what an in-form team like Napoli or Paris Saint-Germain will do to them.
Welcome back to reality, everybody. I hope you enjoyed the last two wins because this is the kind of performance that makes you forget about them pretty damn quick.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Foul. That’s a damn foul.
- Dusan Vlahovic and Olivier Giroud both had 18 touches in the first half and it felt like one guy was involved and the other really only had a couple of actually promising moments. I think you know who is who in this case.
- There’s going to be a lot of heat on Vlahovic for not having much of an impact in a big game. And I get it. It’s understandable when your big striker who you paid a ton of money for doesn’t even attempt a single shot. But suddenly the BWRAO mentions on Twitter is filled with “Dusan’s a flop” takes and I’m just not here for it. This is a dude who for 10 months has been limited in what he can do because he’s got a manager that wants to force Vlahovic to play his style rather than take advantage of his unique skillset. At some point, you gotta look at the cause of why players are playing the way they are rather than simply blaming the player and only the player.
- In case you’re wondering, Vlahovic had two goals and an assist the last time he played against Milan when he was with Fiorentina.
- Rafael Leão gives me heartburn every time he goes on a run down the wing or into the box. Dude has so much pace and is so dangerous whenever he has the ball at his feet.
- Leão running at Juan Cuadrado gave me even more heartburn.
- Same goes for pretty much anybody running at Leonardo Bonucci these days. He is very much what you expect a 35-year-old defender to be at this point in his career. Good thing he’s got another thing left on his contract, right?
- Juventus just looks old, man.
- And it’s against a team that has a player like Leão when you realize just how much more athletic some of these star players for other teams are compared to Juventus.
- Milan’s second goal was just a comedy of errors from Juventus from start to finish. Bad turnover, bad defending on the counter, bad everything.
- There are so many players on this Juventus roster that needs Allegri to leave just so they don’t have to play with the stress everything whenever they take the field. Whether it’s Vlahovic or Manuel Locatelli, there are a lot of players who you gotta believe will improve with the snap of your fingers whenever Allegri does leave.
- Let’s just hope they don’t leave before Allegri does, you know?
- Is Fabio Miretti the only Juventus sub that inspires confidence in you these days? Because whenever Allegri goes to his bench and brings somebody not named Miretti on, it’s just a like-for-like switch that doesn’t inspire any kind of confidence.
- Welcome to Juventus in 2022. Same as late-2021, but also might be even worse.
- I should have stayed in bed. That sounds like a much better idea than watching Juventus right now. Stupid responsibilities and all that.