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Juventus 2 - Monza 1: Initial reaction and random observations

Totally routine and relaxing win. Nothing to see here!

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-MONZA-JUVENTUS Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

As we entered the 14th round of Serie A action, there were just two teams who had yet to suffer a home defeat so far this season. One, as we know, is Juventus, who just picked up a draw over league leaders Inter in a top-of-the-table matchup that could have been more than just a point going both ways.

The other team, you ask? Well, it’s Monza.

Well, guess who has finally has a home loss to their name after Friday night’s rainy edition late-game madness? Well, that’s also Monza.

It looked like we were all set for the latest chapter of “Max Allegri’s Corto Muso Chronicles” with another 1-0 win, all hell broke loose in second-half stoppage time at the U-Power Stadium. Just when we thought Monza equalizing was going to leave us collectively pounding our heads on the table for Max Allegri trying to grind out another 1-0 win and having it backfire just like so many times the last couple of years, there was one last unexpected turn. It was Federico Gatti, a man who has already scored one game-winning goal this season in the Derby della Mole, blasting home the winner in the 94th minute to give Juve a 2-1 win over Monza just when you thought Juve were headed toward their second straight draw in less than a week.

The man sent Juventus into first place for the next 48 hours, with Inter set to face Napoli in Naples on Sunday night. Even if it’s just for a couple of days, Juventus keeping the heat on Inter was the main objective when going to a stadium that had a completely disastrous performance a season ago. That’s what Juve did. Maybe not in the kind of way that would have been preferred, but three points are headed back to Turin with Gatti and his likely ongoing celebrations.

Never in doubt, right?

Ha, right.

Just what we all thought when we saw that sorta-cross/sorta-shot from Valentin Carboni go past Wojciech Szczesny on Monza’s first shot on goal all of three minutes earlier to tie things up.

But hey, here we are, folks. Juventus looked to be on their way to a win ... until they weren’t. They suddenly looked to be on their way to dropping points to a Monza side they failed to beat last season ... until they weren’t. Now, they’re sitting in first place for a couple of days while they wait for Inter to make the trip to southern Italy and face Napoli.

The funny (or ironic?) thing about Juventus winning in this kind of fashion is that they probably shouldn’t have been in this situation to begin with. Does the goal from Adrien Rabiot right after Dusan Vlahovic missed a penalty and then the following shot on goal on the rebound? Nah, probably not. Does Gatti’s winner deep into stoppage time cancel out how he missed a difficult attempt right in front of goal that should’ve been scored? Nah, probably not, either. But when it comes to Juventus’ first half, it should’ve been, if the finishing had been a lot better to open the game, a 2-0 lead (at minimum) and things looking pretty good even though the possession numbers weren’t all that flattering.

Yet, as we know, Juve just don’t operate that way. This Juve don’t operate that way.

Allegri had this team defending more and more as the second half went on. Monza, with the changes that Raffaele Palladino made, were able to generate a little more going forward even though those efforts weren’t actually being put on goal. The goal that tied it was maybe not totally intended to be a goal, but it was something that Juve kinda-sorta let happen with how deep they were playing and not putting much pressure on the ball to begin with. (Gatti, by the way, wasn’t exactly great at defending at the back post or even attempting to block or clear the ball.)

Thankfully, Gatti was a little more alert on the sequence that ended up winning the game rather than the one that saw Monza tying things up. It took a couple of whacks at the ball, but he got it on his second attempt to put Juve back in front just as we were starting to prepare the discourse for Allegri’s second-half tactics costing Juventus the win.

And then those celebrations .... ahhhhhhh, they were wonderful. This team, man. Sometimes they confuse you, sometimes they frustrate you, but they’re certainly taking on a certain vibe that they ain’t gonna go down without a fight.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • Pre-game thought No. 1: Good to see Max stick with Hans and show some faith in the youngster (even though he’s not really super young age-wise) rather than rush Manuel Locatelli back. This is not the kind of injury in which you can try and force the issue.
  • Pre-game thought No. 2: Alex Sandrooooooooooooooo! /headdesk
  • Pre-game thought No. 3: So much rain in Monza. So much rain!
  • Adrien Rabiot goal for the opener. Adrien Rabiot assist on the game-winner. Adrien Rabiot putting in the kind of game that makes Contract Year Rabiot become a thing again.
  • Oh, and Rabiot tracking back all the way to the deepest parts of Juve’s defensive third to make a last-second tackle right before the final whistle. Look at this guy making me a believer again! Contract Year Rabiot magic is just something you can’ avoid.
  • This is the kinda of thing that makes you laugh in the kind of way that isn’t always funny...
  • Yeah, it might be time for Juventus to try and have somebody else take penalty kicks. It didn’t help Vlahovic that he was standing there waiting for what felt like 10 minutes, but you are the No. 1 guy on PKs, so therefore you gotta make them consistently. And he’s not doing that.
  • Max Allegri seems to think otherwise on that whole matter.
  • Props on the double save by Michele De Gregorio, though. That was impressive.
  • I can’t remember it ever happening to me during my playing days, but that’s a brutal turn of events for De Gregorio to go from making two HUGE saves and then seconds later giving up the opening goal on the ensuing corner kick.Exhilaration to frustration at your defense.
  • That header from Rabiot was an absolute bullet, though. Not sure there was much De Gregorio could really do on that.
  • Plus, Hans assist! That one had to feel good knowing what he’s gone through the last couple of years.
  • Rabiot’s goal was also the 11th time in the opening 14 games in which Juve have scored first to take the lead. In the previous 10 games, they won nine of those and drew the other.
  • Monza held the lead in possession in the first half by a 63-37 margin. Juventus held the advantage in shots taken 10-5 in the first half. Not one of those five Monza shots went on target.
  • Here is Max in a hat...
AC Monza v Juventus - Serie A TIM Photo by Giuseppe Cottini/Getty Images
  • That jacket did not look like it was holding up well in the rain. That rain was also absolutely nuts at times in the first half. Not sure any kind of rain jacket would have withstood that.
  • This has been your BWRAO rain jacket talk. Come back for more at a later date.
  • If it wasn’t for the late heroics of Rabiot and Gatti, who would have been Juventus’ highest-rated player on Sofascore? That would be our great defender by the name of Alex Sandro.
  • Danilo on for Hans was a choice!
  • But props to Hans, though, because he seemed a lot more settled in as this game went on as compared to the Derby d’Italia over the weekend. Considering this is his second start compared to his first one as a Juve player and not the biggest game on the schedule to date, that totally tracks. But no matter what, Nicolussi Caviglia was playing passes that he didn’t even attempt against Inter and was successful with them a decent amount of the time (and when they didn’t hit the ref). At the very least,I feel like he’s done pretty well against Monza.
  • Manuel Locatelli eventually came on in this one. On a cold night when he had been warming up in the rain, I can’t imagine that broken rib was feeling good. That could be why we saw Danilo come on and play in the midfield as compared to Locatelli getting the final 20 minutes in place of HNC. Let’s just hop another week means progress for Locatelli because the big fixtures are coming up on the schedule again.
  • Weston McKennie worked his ass off in this game and I am all for this continued career at Juventus resurgence from a player I have always thought could be a useful piece in Turin. His defensive work rate alone is such a valuable asset with how Allegri wants to play.
  • Federico Chiesa had a moment where he cut inside from the left wing on his right, tried to get a shot off, took said shot and then absolutely skied it. The subsequent “FANCULO!” is something that I need a gif of as soon as humanly possible.
  • Andrea Cambiaso just seems to be doing one or two things a game recently that helps Juventus win. That’s something that will play.
  • All of those smiles as they went to the curva to celebrate with the away fans. What a beautiful sight to see compared to how they were feeling just a few minutes earlier.
  • The vibes are good. Let’s keep them good because this sometimes is just a vibes sport. When the team is united, good things can happen, and right now they’re in first place for at least 48 hours.
  • Fino alla freakin’ fine, boys and girls.