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Juventus 0 - Monza 1: Initial reaction and random observations

Another wonderful Sunday afternoon spent watching Juventus.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-MONZA-JUVENTUS Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

Well, even you thought that things would get even the slightest bit better for Juventus while facing the team at the very bottom of the Serie A table, I guess the joke was on you then.

Because this was not it.

That was before Angel Di Maria got sent off. That was certainly the case in the immediate aftermath of Di Maria’s straight card that probably was a little too harsh. No matter if it was 11 men or 10 men on the field for Juventus on this sunny Sunday afternoon in Monza, things just looked about as crappy and uninspiring as they have been for weeks now. Facing the team that was bottom of the table that had the worst attack and the worst defense in Serie A, Juve couldn’t do much of anything right. The result was a 1-0 loss to Monza, handing the club owned by Mr. Bunga Bunga himself its first-ever win in Italy’s top flight and again sent Juve players over to the curva to be berated by whistles and likely a fair amount of obscenities.

Hell, not even the somewhat ironic Landucci Effect could save Juventus this time.

It just shows how far this club has fallen through the first month of the 2022-23 season. Juventus suffered its first league loss Sunday, and with how they have been playing it might be surprising that it took until the seventh league game for that to happen. The team that Max Allegri — who was up in the stands making his usual reactionary faces all game long — still technically manages has now won just two of its first nine games in all competitions.

At other clubs, a run like that would likely get you fired and there would be no second guessing of what is about to go down. But when it comes to Allegri’s status, you just don’t know because the Juventus front office just hasn’t given you any kind of signal that there is some sort of change coming in the near future. (Unless you subscribe to the vote of confidence that Maurizio Arrivabene gave Allegri before the game actually being the opposite like we’ve seen with managers prior.)

The thing about this certain game is that, despite all of those injuries (and there were a lot of them!), you were hoping for some sort of response following the debacle that was the midweek loss to Benfica. Like ... anything. Instead, outside of maybe a couple of players, everybody was just as bad as they were on Wednesday night. There was absolutely nothing of note going forward, there were moments in which Monza were absolutely dominating play — they finished with 60 percent of the possession! Monza! — and much of Juve’s starting lineup just looked checked out mentally.

I don’t know if that’s actually a fact. But, from a far, that’s how it looked.

This team looks worn out. They looked mentally fried. That’s bad to say about any team at any part of the season. But it’s especially bad to say about a team when they’re all of seven games into the new league campaign. And when you consider it’s about to be a hellish kind of schedule when they get back from the international break, it’s not like things are going to get easier at all.

What do I know, though, right? These things happen in football, I’m told.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • If you are like me and have your Juventus rooting interests going back to the season in Serie B then you remember seeing Rafaelle Palladino being one of the young names that Juventus turned to that year. Well, guess who felt a little older than he currently is when Palladino rolled out of the tunnel to take his spot as Monza’s manager for the first time.
  • Palladino doesn’t look like he’s aged a bit, by the way. What a stud.
  • A photo that just sums things up so damn well:
AC Monza v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Chris Ricco/Getty Images
  • This has to be the final nail in Max Allegri 2.0’s coffin, right? I mean, to drop points this season against the likes of Sampdoria, a clearly struggling Fiorentina, Salernitana and now Monza and do it in the manner in which Juventus has done it, that can’t be anything close to something that says “Yeah, this guy deserves to keep his job.” And that’s not even taking into account what has happened in the Champions League!
  • To sum it all up: Max gotta go. This team just looks mentally fried ... and it’s the middle of September.
  • File this under “Tweets from earlier this season that are still applicable”:
  • This was the ultimate “I’m a Juventus player on loan and I’m about show it to the club that loaned me out” kind of game from Nicolo Rovella. He was pretty damn good against Juventus, and that’s not just because Juve’s midfield was pretty dang bad in this game. He also celebrated Monza’s goal like he scored it himself — which, honestly, is totally fine with me because the kid has the kind of intensity that you wish more Juve players played with.
  • Rovella completed 95 passes against Juventus.
  • Juventus’ three starting midfielders — Fabio Miretti, Leandro Paredes and Weston McKennie competed 100 passes combined.
  • Juventus had two shots on goal.
  • Against Monza.
  • Which entered Sunday with the worst defense in Serie A.
  • You know things are bad when Mattia De Sciglio is completing a team-high total in key passes. Mattia De Sciglio, people — the direct opposite of an attacking fullback.
  • The second of those shots on goal was a header by Moise Kean from point-blank range. It was right at the keeper. Any other direction in the slightest bit to the left or right and he’s probably scoring a goal. That is basically Moise Kean’s return to Juventus in a nutshell. Along with all of the turnovers and bad first touches, of course.
  • I don’t care who’s available at this point, when you can’t do anything against a team that is off to one of the worst starts to a Serie A season in years, then you have to reevaluate what the hell you’re doing and consider all options. Like, what are we doing here.
  • Oh, I forgot — this is all part of Juve’s project. Forgive me, everybody.
  • Federico Gatti ball watching on Monza’s goal ... not great.
  • Dusan Vlahovic essentially being forced to hunt for penalties because nothing else is going right for him going forward ... not great, either.
  • Although, Vlahovic’s hold-up play on that great counterattack Juve had in the second half was really, really good. Juve’s decision making on the subsequent 3-on-2 opportunity was not very good at all.
  • This was a game in which the field mics were HOT and picking up so much of what fans sitting near them were saying the whole time. The “ALLEGRI!!! VAFFANCULLO!!!!!” right before halftime was the signature/chef’s kiss kind of moment and based on the BWRAO Twitter mentions, not only did a lot of people hear it but a lot of people were totally OK with it.
  • To all the folks who thought that things couldn’t get much worse than what happened against Benfica ... it did. Rock bottom might be here, but Juventus is proving that there’s still some room to go before it’s the true bottom.
  • Juventus played a 5-3-1 for much of the post-Di Maria sending off period of time. Yes, a 5-3-1 against Monza — a team that had scored three goals in its first six games of the season. Sometimes even the most dug in Allegri supporters can’t even explain those things.
  • Gotta love the subbing on in the final five minutes of Matias Soulé and Nicolo Fagioli — a classic kind of Juventus move that is bringing on the young kids to try and find some kind of late-game magic without them having any sort of rhythm going at all.
  • This is bad. I know that’s not any kind of special insight that you might be expecting from this blog, but that’s really all I feel like saying about everything going on. Juventus might have a new manager soon. They might not have a new manager soon. I have no idea what will happen. But who knows if a new manager can fix this at least in the short term because this team’s problems are just so deep at this point that it’s going to take a while to get fully out of whatever the hell this is.
  • All I know that i’s bad and that there’s no true end in sight might be the worst part of it all.