Much like in the other big game happening on Sunday, regardless of result, it’s never great when you have to talk about refereeing decisions when you recap a game.
Alas, we have to do just that again, as there was an unfortunate ref show taking place at the Allianz Stadium. Thankfully, Juventus managed to scrape by Fiorentina in a 1-0 victory that was a bit more dramatic than it had any right of being.
We’ll talk more VAR — yay! — in a minute, but at the very least this time the refs taking over didn’t cost Juventus all that much since the three points were still securely bagged.
There’s two types of players that I enjoy watching over any other when they are having a great performance.
A thrifty, savvy, not necessarily physically imposing offensive player that plays between the lines and makes stuff happen out of nowhere.
And an absolute pit bull of a defender that can singlehandedly break apart any offensive efforts by sheer presence.
Of the former, we haven’t seen a ton of as Juve fans since Paulo Dybala left the building last summer. But we can’t say that we have been starved of the latter, as Sunday’s MVP Bremer had exactly one of the games I’m talking about.
The Brazilian center back authored an imposing showcase leading the Juventus defense and allowing Fiorentina attackers pretty much nothing the entire game. He struggled for a bit after coming back from the World Cup and a mild injury, but he’s clearly back to the imposing presence we grew accustomed to in the first half.
Juventus has messed up a lot of things in the transfer market recently, but splashing the pot and stealing Bremer right out from under Inter’s noses was one of their finest hours. This team lost Matthijs de Ligt and hasn’t really suffered on the defensive front a whole lot. That says pretty much everything you need to know about how massive the hulking Brazilian has been.
Runner Up: Angel Di Maria - This is it, I’m ready to say it out loud. I want Di Maria back next season, I know, I know that the last thing Juve needs is another aging, semi injury prone name with big wages but goddamn he is so fun to watch and has legitimately been great all of the second half so far. I also know he really wants to go back to Argentina, but at the very least offer him a chunk of money that he has to say no to and see what happens.
VAR Controversy of the Week
Everybody’s least favorite recurring segment is back again. And for once ... I kinda agree with every call they made this time around.
Don’t get me wrong, the millimetric offside call that disallowed a clear-cut goal for Dusan Vlahovic was unbelievably dumb. Even when showing the supposed evidence it was incredibly hard to see exactly where the Serbian international was technically offsides. It’s VAR technology making calls by the exact rule of the law and not the spirit of it.
We’ve all heard the arguments about why that is probably wrong and why it’s incredibly frustrating to the get goals disallowed by margins that only used to happen in FIFA matches, but to the VAR crew’s credit, that is the correct way to call it based on the current application of the rule.
And to be even more fair to them, they’ve applied those standards rather uniformly too, pretty much every Serie A team has at least one instance in which they got a goal taken away because their striker is having a bad hair day and gets called offsides by the slimmest of margins.
It’s dumb, frustrating, it takes away a lot of emotion out of the game and it should probably be done away with. But, it is fair to everyone. Given the current state of Serie A, something being uniformly terrible is probably the best thing we can hope for.
The Moise Kean Paradox
I’m consistently blown away by Moise Kean’s ability to miss clear-cut goal scoring opportunities.
For what feels like at least once a game, Kean finds himself in an extremely favorable position to get himself in the score sheet and almost every time he ends up smashing his shot right into the keeper’s chest or other extremities. It’s maddening.
Even more so because he is legitimately good at getting himself in position to attempt said shots which is not nothing! That’s half the battle right there!
(In some ways, he reminds me of Mexican international Javier Hernandez. He was never the most talented player on the field, but he always had an elite ability of finding the angles and the backs of defenders to put himself in position to score goals. He also was prone to missing a sitter or two but those occurrences were not the norm as they are with Kean.)
The future of Kean with Juventus remains up in the air like many other players in the squad because of a multitude of factors. Max Allegri has shown a lot of faith in him and Kean has looked legit during some stretches of the season, but until he can consistently put away the chances that he works so hard to get, minutes are going to be hard to come by with Arek Milik and the aforementioned Vlahovic ahead of him in the pecking order.
He is somehow only 22 which means he still has room to grow and could potentially improve in the finishing department. Then again, Vlahovic is only 23 (!!) so, you know, maybe he doesn’t have that much time to get it together. Time will tell.
Parting Shot of the Week
It’s time, it’s finally time for the true premier club competition in the world to restart.
Where children are separated from men and true immortality is at the finger tips of only a chosen few. HIT IT!
Thursday Night Football is on the way when Juventus faces Nantes in a gigantic matchup between the 9th-placed team in Serie A against the 13th-placed team in Ligue 1. Must-watch TV indeed.
See you Thursday.