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Juventus 2 - Frosinone 1: Delayed reaction and random observations

Things against Frosinone were never expected to be easy. And that’s how it played out, although some of that was Juve being Juve again.

Frosinone Calcio v Juventus - Serie A TIM Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

Editor’s note: Considering when this game kicked off where yours truly lives, there’s a very good reason why this post is a bit later than usual. Mainly because actually having coherent thoughts and being able to see what you’re typing is probably chief amongst them.

As the second half at the Benito Stirpe rolled on Saturday afternoon, there was a very familiar thought going through my incredibly sleepy head. It was that of “Here we go again.” It was eight days ago in which Juventus scored an early goal and looked relatively solid in the opening 45 minute only to surrender that lead early in the second half and look bang-up crap trying to get the lead back.

All those happy feelings after you watched Kenan Yildiz cook 30% of Frosinone’s outfield players were gone and replaced by vibes that weren’t good and probably all too familiar.

But, thankfully, the late goal in which Juve could never get against Genoa two Fridays ago arrived through a much-maligned source.

Dusan Vlahovic’s first scoring opportunity of the afternoon didn’t result in a goal, but you couldn’t say the same about his second. Juventus’ under-fire No. 9 rose high to get his head on a Weston McKennie cross — which, for some reason, came with all of the time in the world that he wanted to try and ensure he got it right — to put the Bianconeri back in front of Frosinone with just over 10 minutes to go. Vlahovic nearly had a second-half brace, only to be denied by VAR, but Juve were able to hang on and get the 2-1 win to get back on track.

With Inter doing pretty much what Inter does these days and just beating whoever is on the Serie A schedule, the standings going into Christmas will look just as they were before Saturday’s slate of games kicked off — a four-point difference between first and second place in the table.

As much as the second part was maybe expected, the same could very well be said for how Juventus’ games of late are developing.

Last weekend against Genoa it was suddenly a 1-1 game three minutes into the second half thanks to a host of defensive errors. This week against Frosinone, it was suddenly a 1-1 game six minutes into the second half thanks to maybe not as many defensive errors by sheer volume, but some very big and costly mistakes along Juve’s left flank.

It meant that a team that doesn’t necessarily excel in those types of situations was able to get a breakthrough despite looking pretty meh for much of the second half. The first half brought good vibes. The second half brought bad vibes and all too familiar thoughts about potentially dropping points against a newly-promoted club like Frosinone is. (Even though Frosinone, as we saw first-hand on Saturday, doesn’t exactly play like a team simply fighting to stay in Serie A for another season.)

That meant once Vlahovic’s looping header went soaring past the outstretched right arm of Frosinone keeper (and very well-known Inter fan) Stefano Turati, there was just an exhale amidst the celebration. The kind of exhale that made you thankful that we happened at the Marassi a week ago wasn’t going to repeat itself again and Juve would head into the rest of the Christmas weekend on the back of back-to-back draws against teams in the bottom half of the Serie A table.

The overall performance once Frosinone tied things up wasn’t great — or really anything close to it. But when Juventus actually put something on frame in the second half — only two of their seven shots after the break were on target — they were able to convert it and avoid any sort of situation like what happened in Genoa.

That’s better than the alternative. You know, the one we saw play out last week. Who knows if Juventus can continue to do this these next few months, but avoid any sort of not-so-good thoughts about dropping points from previous weeks, months or seasons alike is always going to be greatly appreciated.


  • Pre-game thought No. 1: KENAN YILDIZ!
  • Pre-game thought No. 2: Matias Soulé! Enzo Barrenechea! Kaio Jorge! All the kids!
  • Pre-game thought No. 3: As I was fighting off the few hours of sleep I could get before kickoff at 3:30 in the morning, there was one thing going through my head ... “They better win.”
  • That goal from Yildiz ... that’s just something special from a kid who just seems like the kind of player that this Juventus team needs right now. To do that 12 minutes into your first-ever senior team start with Juve and then go on to have the kind of performance he did, that shows that an 18-year-old kid was not intimidated by the moment at all. Instead, he took it and ran with it — and that’s what you want to see from somebody his age.
  • Seriously, though, Yildiz did that with three dudes around him and then snuck in a shot at the near post that was impossible to stop. It will easily be one of the best goals a Juventus player will score this season.
  • Plus, any time you can see a celebration alla Del Piero it’s always good times.
  • For as good as Yildiz’s individual effort was on his goal, that’s how bad Juve’s defending was on Frosinone’s goal. There’s not one single person at fault for it, but there are some very guilty parties that played a role in all that happening.
  • The performance from the three on-loan players at Frosinone was good but not great. Soulé, as expected, was the best of the three, but it’s not like he was wowing anybody with how he played. He was involved plenty, playing a free-roaming kind of role as Eusebio Di Francesco came out in a 3-4-2-1 setup compared to Frosinone’s usual 4-2-3-1. thanks to all the injuries on his roster. Soulé will definitely be left with a feeling that he left a little to be desired, but there were some good things that he did even without any goals to his name.
  • That save Wojciech Szczesny made a few minutes before Vlahovic scored the game-winner was simply fantastic. It may get lost in the shuffle of Vlahovic being the one who scored the game-winning goal, but it’s a big reason why Juve were able to eventually get three points rather than just one (or maybe even none).
  • Also, here’s Tek in a hat ...
Frosinone Calcio v Juventus - Serie A TIM Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images
  • All of the outside noise about Vlahovic and the season he’s having again this year doesn’t look to be impacting his teammates. They were celebrating Vlahovic’s goal just as hard as Vlahovic celebrates their goals. This team is not as talented as the one that’s in front of them in the standings, but they certainly are a united group that has each other’s back — and that’s never a bad thing to see.
  • Also, seeing Vlahovic and Marco Landucci celebrate that hard together, that was amusing.
  • Always good when you have to use two of your three substitution windows because one of your players get injured. It’s safe to say that Juve can’t really afford to see Manuel Locatelli miss much time knowing that it’s going to be a busy January.
  • On the other hand, some of those long passes that Hans Nicolussi Caviglia was pinging around after he came on for Locatleli ... not so bad!
  • Samuel Iling-Junior getting over half an hour of playing time ... I didn’t know that was allowed this season.
  • Juventus got two goals from two different strikers on Saturday. I didn’t know that was allowed this season, too.
  • Before the game Max Allegri was talking about how Timothy Weah doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs. Well, with Andrea Cambiaso getting a yellow against Frosinone and thus a suspension for yellow card accumulation, we better hope Weah has more minutes in his legs than Max says come next weekend. Or that Fabio Miretti is in a little better shape than he was last weekend against Genoa if McKennie goes out wide.
  • Speaking of Weston, I still have no idea why Frosinone gave him all that time to cross it. It reminded me of an NBA team just daring somebody to shoot a 3-pointer, the guy measures it up and then just drills it perfectly. That’s basically what McKennie did with his cross, and then Vlahovic did the rest.
  • AND IF WESTON HAD SCORED THAT SCISSOR KICK WE WOULDA ALL HAD A GREAT DAY. (He’s gonna be wondering how that wasn’t a goal for a while. He just was in disbelief.)
  • Bremer had six tackles and I feel like half of them were against Kaio Jorge in some Brazilian on Brazilian defending. Not bad.
  • Filip Kostic led Juve with three key passes and it’s hard for me to really remember any of them. (Maybe that’s the sleepiness talking, but seriously I don’t remember.)
  • Don’t look at Adrien Rabiot’s passing numbers from this game. Just don’t do it. They’re not pretty. At all.
  • Then again, probably don’t look at much of anything Juve did in the second half. Through the blurry eyes and straight up exhaustion, it wasn’t pretty from my end of things.