The catch with how Max Allegri wants to play his football is that there are two very obvious things that you can’t keep thinking about even before kickoff: there’s a razor-thin margin for error, and because of that you’re left to wonder what happens if there’s a sudden change in how things are going if Juventus has a 1-0 lead.
For the most part this season, things haven’t really had to change from the standard deviation. Juve get the 1-0 lead, they hold steady defensively, maybe add a second goal and then we ride that to three points. There hasn’t really needed to be the last-minute craziness like we saw against Monza a couple of weeks ago to begin this string of Friday night fixtures.
On the third and final of three straight Fridays, the tying goal arrived much earlier than the first minute of stoppage time. The answer from Juventus, though? Nope, nowhere to be found.
Juve couldn’t convert another first-half lead into a 1-0 win at the Luigi Ferraris on this foggy Friday night. Instead, once Albert Gudmundsson found the back of the net all of three minutes into the second half to level things up at 1-all, Juventus couldn’t get back up and get the lead back, even in the same kind of fashion that happened against Monza. It resulted in Juventus pulling within a point of first-place Inter, but failing to leapfrog the current league leaders with a win for the first time during this run of Friday fixtures.
To put it simply, Juve just weren’t good enough.
And when that happens, one mistake could end up hurting you greatly.
What do you know? That’s what happened with Genoa taking advantage of just some brutal team defending on Gudmundsson’s goal.
The response wasn’t there. It simply wasn’t there. A flawed team that one could argue is potentially punching above its weight so far this season simply couldn’t find much of anything to do after the score was tied at 1-1. That’s the simplest way to put it. Juventus, for as good as they’ve been defensively this season, still struggle to score goals, and will do so no matter the tactics that Allegri uses or the midfield that is being played.
This wasn’t Juventus sitting back and having no answer on the counterattack, either. Juve had more possession in the second half compared to the first, with Genoa being the ones sitting deep and trying to protect the point they suddenly found themselves in possession of. The problem was that Juventus couldn’t muster much going forward despite all of that possession that they had. (To be exact, it was 62% in the second half.) Let’s be honest: It’s not like Juve created much of anything in the second half. Just look at their xG after the break of ... 0.44 — and that’s with Bremer nearly scoring a goal with his groin right before stoppage time arrived. And other than that, Juve put just one other shot on goal.
The fact is, Allegri’s way of playing is sustainable until it isn’t. It’s a fine line, and this is going to play the way of eking out potential wins much more often than they’re going to cruise by teams that are sitting just above the relegation zone.
Juve had avoided games like this one pretty much all season long. But on this Friday night, they got bit in the ass by simply being unable to generate enough goals other than the one they scored from the penalty spot. That, my friends, is something that isn’t new — at all.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- If you’re truly wanting to get a second goal, maybe bring on somebody like Kenan Yildiz earlier than the 87th minute? I dunno, Max. Just an idea from a guy on the internet.
- “Here’s your three minutes plus stoppages, Kenan, go get ‘em!”
- Reminds me of the days when Sebastian Giovinco would be brought on right before stoppage time of a game like this one with the hopes of him suddenly turning the tide back in Juve’s favor. Ah, memories...
- One more Yildiz-related note: How that wasn’t a red card on Ruslan Malinovskyi, I really have absolutely no freaking idea. That’s studs up, leg clearly well off the turf and right into Yildiz’s shin and ankle. Red card 100% of the time. Serie A refereeing incompetence strikes again.
- Oh, and this wasn’t ruled a hand ball. Got it.
- Definitely didn’t have bad thoughts run through my head as I saw Malinovskyi tee up a long-range effort on his left foot just a couple of minutes into the game. Nope, wasn’t me. I would never do that based on what he’s done against Juve in the past.
- Filip Kostic was 0-for-7 his cross. Yikes.
- There were so many misplaced and bad passes. So many bad touches — that free kick late in which Federico Chiesa got the ball from Samuel Iling-Junior and then totally cooked his first touch right into the path of a Genoa player ... woof! It was just bad times all around.
- All four of Juventus’ subs didn’t really add much of anything.
- Here’s some breaking news: Iling-Junior still looks pretty uncomfortable as a midfielder. But when you basically have no other natural midfielders on the bench other than Hans Nicolussi Caviglia — who is, at this point, essentially Manuel Locatelli’s backup and only that — and Joseph Nonge, then you’re going to have to improvise a little. I just wish it worked out well and that Iling-Junior’s playing time actually came at a position he is meant to play.
- That non-existent depth was because Adrien Rabiot was unavailable due to injury. That gave Fabio Miretti to start his first game in weeks. Things didn’t go well for Miretti. That was a rough one and those same old problems that are just hanging around Miretti’s game were very much there for everybody to see against Genoa.
- As much as Genoa’s goal had some nice moments of individual talent, it was just bad defending from pretty much everybody in a jersey with black and white stripes. There were multiple failed clearances, multiple missed tackles and just a cavalcade of errors.
- Dusan Vlahovic took three shots against Genoa, according to WhoScored. The only one that I really rememer is the one where Koni De Winter had a handful of Vlahovic’s jersey and he slipped right as his right foot was making contact with the ball. Good times.
- De Winter looks cool with the mask on, by the way. Good to see him getting play time.
- Speaking of former Juventus center backs who moved to Genoa on loan with an option to buy: Every single Genoa free kick basically went to Radu Dragusin at the back post before he tried to send a header back across the face of goal. Maybe not every one, but it felt like it!
- That was Chiesa’s first penalty kick attempt since the 2019-20 season. He’s now 2-for-3 against league opposition.
- Judging by Chiea’s reaction to the goal, maybe the pointing at Vlahovic was either for the pass that led to the penalty of Juve’s No. 9 deferring the PK attempt based on winning the penalty. I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see where Juventus’ PK attempts go after Chiesa was successful from the spot.
- Gudmundsson rocks “Albert” on the back of his jersey and that’s cool. He’s also much older than you think he is when just looking at his very young-looking face. Who knew!
- I repeat, one of Juventus’ best scoring chances was thanks to Bremer’s groin and the only reason it wasn’t a goal was due to a great save being made. If this is what we’re saying about your scoring chances on the day, then maybe it’s not exactly a good thing.
- So now we have to root for Lazio to do something good against Inter on Sunday night. Judging by how Lazio have played this season, that’s not exactly the best thing in the world. Also, rooting for Lazio in general just seems like not the best thing there is. So yeah, here’s to hoping Lazio does something good, but I’m not exactly planning on it. I’ll choose to be pleasantly surprised if something good actually does happen.