With the scored tied at 1-all, Juventus manager Max Allegri used three substitution windows. One by they went by, with four players coming on. Even though Juve needed a goal to try and get all three points against Fiorentina, there was one notable person not brought into the fray at the place he used to call home.
The guy who leads Serie A in goals this season.
This wasn’t just about Allegri leaving Dusan Vlahovic on the bench for the full 90-plus minutes of Juventus’ 1-1 draw with Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi on Saturday afternoon, but it spoke to the overlying problem that is currently going on with this team. It’s not that they aren’t talented, it’s that the guy calling the shots is very much satisfied with playing the way he has so far this season, the way he played last season and for much of the final season of his first stint with Juve. It’s about being risk averse and overly conservative to the point where what Juventus is not doing is becoming the biggest talking point of them all compared to what they are actually doing on the field.
And, let me tell you this: After Arek Milik’s stomach goal within the first 10 minutes, there really wasn’t much that Juventus did at all.
Just how bad was it? Juventus’ last shot attempted came in the 28th minute.
Remember, these games don’t last just 45 minutes. There’s another 45 minutes after that.
So, you do the math and add in stoppage time and it tells you that Juventus went the final 65 minutes without attempting a single shot. And, on top of that, the lone shot Juve put on target was Milik’s goal, which means Juve went over 80 minutes without putting anything on frame.
Man, I sure would have loved to be the Fiorentina keeper on this day because you would have been absolutely stealing a paycheck. It wasn’t because Fiorentina are some kind of grand defensive team, either. They pressed like hell and gave Juve all kinds of fits trying to build out of the back, but that was also a symptom of how Allegri had his team playing after they went up a goal.
And they played that way for 80-something minutes, folks.
0 - Juventus have not even made a shot in the second half: for the Bianconeri this is the fifth time since 2004/05 in Serie A, since the data is available - on three occasions it happened against Fiorentina. Blocked.#FiorentinaJuve pic.twitter.com/D0IRY4zMKj— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 3, 2022
In theory, a draw at a place like the Franchi against Vincenzo Italiano’s much-improved Fiorentina of the last season-plus isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Where it gets bad is when you consider Fiorentina had gone weeks without scoring a goal and Juventus approached this game like they were a mid-table side trying to scratch a point across the board against a big club.
This isn’t new. This isn’t some kind of one-off. This is who Allegri is. His team has gotten early goals and, unlike what we saw last weekend against Roma, they then just go into a shell and try to hang on for dear life. If anything, the performance against Roma — or at least the first half of that one — looks like the one-off performance rather than the norm.
If it wasn’t for Mattia Perin’s heroics in goal, we would be talking about a loss. A much, much deserved loss.
Through five games, Juventus has yet to lose a game. Hey, that’s cool. But we sit here again thinking about points dropped rather than three points earned. It doesn’t matter how close things are at the top of the league table right now, these types of things add up, and Juventus is already sitting on three draws through the first five games of the 2022-23 season.
And with his team needing a goal in the dying minutes of a winnable game, Allegri left his bulldozer of a striker who has started the season in really good form on the bench.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Max Allegri said in his post-game press conference that he is happy with this result. Of course he is. That’s just so on brand I don’t even know what else to say.
- Yep, sure am glad I woke up at six in the morning to watch that kind of performance.
- That’s the kind of performance that really gets you fired up for Juventus playing in Europe in a matter of days. That trip to Paris sure is looking fun, isn’t it?
- It says a lot about the state of Allegri’s Juventus when we’re all pretty much sitting there hoping that a 19-year-old kid can come off the bench and change the game. We all adore Fabio Miretti, but the fact that he’s our best hope to change things for the better is just something we shouldn’t be pinning our hopes to.
- Let me try to give some sort of visual representation of when Juve got the ball in their own third of the field as Fiorentina pressed: werfpwfndnfnf;asfd;asndan;ane;qe;jqwbe;
- Juan Cuadrado is very much looking like a 34-year-old dude who shouldn’t be a full-time starter anymore. It’s been a rough opening to the season for Johnny. (And his poor form goes back longer than that.)
- Juventus’ three starting midfielders on this day — Weston McKennie, Manuel Locatelli and the man on his debut, Leandro Paredes — were not very good. Just so many bad passes and bad decisions. A totally forgettable performance.
- I can cut Paredes some slack since he’s been around for about four days, but to see Locatelli and McKennie struggle again
- Seriously, Weston, you have to shoot the ball when you have that kind of chance. Don’t pass it. Don’t be unselfish. Be selfish as hell and put something on frame. A goal there and Juve’s able to take the bite out of the Franchi crowd early.
- Instead, McKennie’s pass that should have been a shot ended up being a Filip Kostic shot that goes out for a corner. Said corner gets cleared out easily, Angel Di Maria misreads the flight and bounce of the ball and then Fiorentina go on a lightning-quick counter to score the equalizer. That’s how fast things can change. And that’s why playing the way Juve does under Allegri just kills you every single time.
- Juventus got outshot 17-4. Let that sink in for a second.
- At least Juve’s one shot on goal was a funny one because at first glance I thought Arek Milik had scored his goal with his penis.
- If only we could joke about that more. The funny things just can’t be enjoyed anymore.
- We sat on the season preview podcast episode talking about things we wanted to see from this team. I said that I hoped that Allegri would, even a little bit, open things up and allow this team to take advantage of the likes of Vlahovic and Di Maria and others. I think it’s safe to say that at this point Allegri is going to be this hard-headed dude who is happy with these kinds of performances and results. There’s no changing this old dog.
- That’s the most frustrating part, isn’t it? Nobody else is playing like this in Serie A these days. You either evolve or get lost in the dust. And Allegri’s trying to win in a way that just doesn’t get it done anymore. He doesn’t have the BBC defense anymore. He doesn’t have the MVP midfield anymore. He’s now managing a team in which his star striker is lucky to get 30 touches a game. It shouldn’t be like this.
- Allegri Mania has died. RIP Allegri Mania.