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Manu’s Grab Bag: Back to Reality

We talk the rest of the season, another letdown and a much needed tear down.

AC MIlan v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The mirage was fun while it lasted.

Six goals in two games, back-to-back wins — there were signs that Juventus could start turning some sort of corner in the already-disappointing 2022-23 season. With all that being said, AC Milan was always going to be real test.

Beating Bologna and Maccabi Haifa is all fine and well, but the line between a pretender and a contender are the type of games that Juventus was slated to play on Saturday — and boy, does Juve know now where they stand, huh?

Not only did the Bianconeri lose, but they looked as bad as they’ve looked in … a few weeks? Either way, the 2-0 loss at the San Siro underlines how helpless the away side was in Milan. Outside of a bright 10-15 minutes early on in which the game was relatively even, it was all for the Rossoneri.

With their pretender status well established, Juventus is looking like a team that has nothing to play for in the month of October. Tough times all around.

Let’s cook.

LVP: Leo Bonucci

The leader in the Cooked Boys clubhouse.

He’s no longer an effective defender and his passing has fallen off a cliff as well. There’s just no reason other than seniority and the last remaining vibes of the BBC days for Bonucci to remain a regular starter this season.

I want Daniele Rugani to start over him, so that’s how dire things currently are.

It happened against Paris Saint-Germain and it happened against Milan’s dynamic attackers — Bonucci simply no longer has the speed and response time to compete against top-tier players.

The fact that he remains a first-choice center back is just one of the many egregious things that currently ail Juventus and the man who — still — leads the club.

Grab Bag MVP Season Leader: Dusan Vlahovic (7 Points)

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

As Brahim Diaz was running unimpeded after intercepting the ball to what would end up being the second goal of the day for Milan, I couldn’t help but to get some sense of déjà vu.

An aimless, poorly-struck pass right down the middle of the pitch that an opposing player intercepts for a score. This was the Dejan Kulusevski special under Andrea Pirlo, Arthur’s idea of building from the back and the double pivot recitals of Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot.

New coach, old coach, worse and better results. Juventus remains a mess for what feels like three or four years running.

Max Allegri deserves a lot of the blame and this team is a far cry from previous squads in terms of talent or depth, but they are still wildly underperforming and that has to reside on the coach who’s having a lot less success in his second go around with the club than I his first.

All that being said, there is no coach alive that could make Bonucci look better. Your scheme doesn’t matter when Juan Cuadrado looks like more and more of a liability as the days go by. When the only players you can bring in to make a change are Moise Kean or Weston McKennie. This is a team with maybe five players that are worth building around, and last time I checked to be a successful club you need a whole lot more than that.

(Fun exercise to do in the comments, just exactly which five players? Hint, one of them is Adrien Rabiot.)

(That was a joke, lighten up a bit.)

Tear it all down. It doesn’t really matter if we have to toil away in mid table for a couple of years or get to know a bunch of lovely Eastern European pitches in Europa League play — or Conference League! — and miss the bright lights of the Champions League.

This is an organization in dire need of a full rebuild, and until that happens, it doesn’t matter who takes the fall unless it's everyone, the problems will remain.

Bet on Youth

Juventus is currently 10 points off the Serie A lead, and despite the fact that we are in October those 10 points might as well be a 100. This team is not winning a league title, they’ll be lucky to qualify for any sort of European competition.

(I’m secretly pumped about the prospect of playing some low end continental competition, by the way. No expectative Juve is the most fun Juve.)

So, if we agree this is a lost season, and for whatever reason the board remains steadfast in keeping Allegri until he can oversee this train wreck in its entirety, why not make it a disaster with some panache?

Honestly, the most exciting thing that happened on Saturday’s game was seeing Matias Soule trot out for his obligatory 10-minute cameo and look livelier than Cuadrado has in all season. If you had to call out one positive thing that has gone right this season, wouldn’t that thing be Fabio Miretti’s come up?

Sure, they might make mistakes or have bad games, but that’s happening anyways and wouldn’t you rather at least see if any of the players with potential are actually worth a damn? I know this scenario has exactly as much of a chance as Juventus winning the treble this season. We are in for a ton more matches of the Washed Brigade and disappointing results, but with no easy fixes in the horizon and the idea of a trophy less season becoming more and more likely, this is all we have.

Parting Shot of the Week

With another midweek performance in a few days there really is not enough time available to soak into Juve’s most recent failure.

With a mildly above average performance they should beat Maccabi Haifa and give everyone the faintest of hopes that there is a chance they make it to the knockout rounds. Do not give in to that feeling, this team is going nowhere and they have showed that time and time again.

We used to play out the string because the title was all but sealed up only a few years ago. Now the string is about six months more of playing time with very little hope of finding success at the end of it.

Welcome to the new normal, Juventus fans.

See you Tuesday.