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Manu’s Grab Bag: Bad Breaks

We talk bad ref calls, bad matchups and Juve dropping points.

Federico Chiesa of Juventus FC looks on during the Serie A... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Well ... it was bound to happen at some point.

After dancing on a knife’s edge and getting wins for the last few games, Juventus finally dropped points with a 1-1 draw against Genoa on Friday night. And given that Inter Milan subsequently beat Lazio on Sunday, Juve are now more than just one slip from the league leaders off of first place.

It was a bummer of a way to end their three-game stretch of Friday fixtures on the schedule. Despite the not so great result, the game does extend Juve’s unbeaten streak to 11. Also, give Genoa their flowers because they played a pretty good game that extended their own streak of good results against top four competition.

Let’s cook.

Offensive Player of the Week: Federico Chiesa

After a run of games that were not all that great, this was Fede Chiesa back to doing what Fede Chiesa does.

He scored his attempt from the penalty with aplomb — and, to be honest, should be shooting PKs for the team the rest of the way this season — and was a general menace on the offensive side the whole game. He was, arguably, the only guy bringing a spark to the proceedings of the game from the Bianconeri.

He has failed to make the most out of his time on the pitch in the last few games, so it was encouraging to see him back doing his thing even if the result was not the greatest for the team.

The breaks are gone

We talked before about how recently all the little breaks in the game were going Juventus’ way. Unfortunately, that trend stopped on Friday night.

First went the refereeing breaks with two objectively awful calls going against Juve and one especially that could have won them the game. Luca Bani blocked a cross from Andrea Cambiaso — who played a pretty good game, by the way — very much with his his arm in what should have been a clear-cut PK that could have changed the tide of the game permanently.

Despite that call being called a PK in pretty much every single Serie A game for the last few years, VAR decided not to review the play and the game was resumed. This was probably the decision that more could have changed the game and especially in the moment it came. Juve the last few weeks get that call. Against Genoa they did not.

Later on, Ruslan Malinovskyi had a rough — and by “rough” I mean “borderline criminal” — tackle on Kenan Yildiz — who really should have gotten more minutes — late in the second half that should have by all accounts gotten the Ukrainian international sent off. Once again, VAR did not send it up to review and Malinovskyi played the final few minutes despite that tackle being an absolute clear cut, slam dunk, red card.

Obviously, given how little Juventus was producing late in the second half, it is arguable whether or not Malinovskyi being sent off would have made a difference. Still, defending with one man less would have been another break that Juve could have gotten that they didn't.

And this is isn’t about blaming the draw on refs - -they very much deserved to drop points — but these are exactly those calls that turn games around and that teams that end up lifting silverware at the end of the year get.


After about four years of doing nothing but fitness boxing — which is essentially just punch a heavy bag until you get tired — I had a sparring session this week. And, dear reader, things did not go all that great.

Most of it had to do with me being extremely rusty. It is not the same thing to just lay on a heavy bag with no punches coming at you than facing an actual real life human being. But it definitely did not help that I got paired with a guy who’s 6-foot-4 with crazy long arms that was just an extremely bad matchup for me.

(For reference, I’m 5-foot-10 on a good day with below average reach which has always impacted my ability to compete at boxing at a higher level)

After five rounds of eating jabs and barely getting anything in, the fight got mercifully stopped and no one really blamed me all that much for it. They understood I had little chance considering all the factors.

I felt similarly when it came to the Genoa match.

This was exactly the type of game that Juventus has struggled all throughout the Max Allegri 2.0 era. A team that is very willing to cede possession is a team that Juventus will struggle with — and Genoa is exactly that type of team.

Despite owning over 60% of possession in the second half, Juve did almost nothing with it — and that was by design. Genoa are a team that loves to give you possession and are you going to do anything with it. Which is almost exactly Juve’s playing style in almost every single match.

Similarly to the Inter game, when styles conflict it is always going to be hard for Juve to get results. If you add not getting calls into the mix, this game was always a prime candidate for the Bianconeri dropping points.

Parting Shot of the Week

With Inter continuing their insane start to the season — give the frauds their credit ... 16 games with one loss deserves it — Juve has now fallen back to four points off the top of the table, which puts an end to their streak of being in first place at least for a few hours the last few weekends.

The race to the Scudetto continues on and it is kind of telling that a draw away at a tough team is being considered an extremely bad result given their recent run of games and the renewed expectations of this team. That being said, if you want to win the title this type of games are the ones that they need to be getting three points more often than one.

Hopefully they get back to it shortly.

See you Saturday.