If you were hoping for a repeat of what we saw seven days ago against Lazio, pretty much all of those hopes went away the second the ball slipped through Wojciech Szczesny’s hands and Juventus were forced to play from behind for nearly 80 minutes.
Maybe we should have taken that as a sign of things to come.
What started with a horrible goal allowed to Sassuolo was bookended by one of the worst own goals you will probably ever see no matter how long you end up following Juventus and calcio in general. Juve’s 4-2 loss Saturday night wasn’t just bad, it was a horror show in every sense of the term — and that could have been the case even before Federico Gatti’s own goal that will have millions upon millions of eyeballs watching it over the next few hours. This was banter-level stuff from Juventus, and about as deserved of a loss as we’ve seen them handed in a good amount of time.
Or, as Romeo Agresti put it on Twitter: “disastro bianconero.”
Yep, that sounds about right. Let’s just go with that. Two very simple words. But two very appropriate words for what just took place at the Mapei Stadium.
And yet, for all of the jokes and snide comments that come to mind, Juventus could have won this game thanks to Federico Chiesa’s game-tying goal with just over 10 minutes to go. You thought maybe, just maybe, they could pull the rabbit out of the hat in a game in which they didn’t deserve to win and salvage something more than a single point.
Ha. Joke’s on us.
That 2-2 scoreline lasted all of four minutes, with Szczesny making another error leading to a goal, although this one obviously not as horrifying as the first one. But there was Andrea Pinamonti, the guy responsible for both of Sassuolo’s goals before things went to hell against Frosinone last weekend, ready to jump on the ball after Szczesny punched it right back into the middle of the 6-yard box.
Juve giving the lead right back was rather fitting of this game considering they couldn’t really do much of anything right all night long. Then you get the Gatti own goal to top everything off — and it’s not like Szczesny did him a bunch of favors with that pass to begin with! — and then was just the complete opposite kind of performance than what we saw seven days ago against Lazio.
Maybe that’s what makes this so tough to take, too. Not only were Juve coming off one of their best performances of the Allegri 2.0 era, but they weren’t then trying to ramp it all back up after a midweek European fixture. So much of this season is about having time to train, time to work on things on the training fields at Continassa, being able to take advantage of playing just once a week for the vast majority of the season and having the players’ bodies physically (and mentally) recover. Juve had all week to prepare for a Sassuolo side that entered Matchday 5 sitting in 17th place with just one win in their first four league games.
This is what Allegri and Co. put forward.
That’s pretty remarkable — and not in a good way considering how things played out and how each team was coming into this game.
Outside of Chiesa, did anybody truly have a good game? I’m curious because maybe you can name one or two other guys. So many players were either below-average or just downright bad. Passes were misplaced all over the place. Juve couldn’t finish in front of goal sans the Chiesa strike in the 78th minute. It was just mistake after mistake after mistake stacked on top of each other like it was some sort of seven-layer dip you were about to crush at a friend’s Super Bowl watch party.
And again, this was a Sassuolo team coming off a game last weekend in which they built a 2-0 lead only to see four unanswered goals scored by the offensive juggernaut known as newly promoted Frosinone.
Not good. Not good at all. Last Saturday was good for Juventus. This Saturday? Nah, son.
This is the kind of performance that could linger if it’s not handled in the right kind of way. Good thing they play on Tuesday then, right? Or, based on how things went against Sassuolo, maybe that’s not a good thing.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- I wish I could have just posted this as the post-game thread:
- That Sassuolo kit sure is BRIGHT. Like ... BRIGHT BRIGHT.
- The ball was moving. The conditions sucked due to the late-September rain. But that was a pretty awful howler from Wojciech Szczesny. You can trying and break down all of the factors you want, but he simply didn’t catch the ball on a shot that he’ll tell you he has to save 11 times out of 10.
- This was Domenico Berardi’s 300th appearance in Serie A. It kinda makes sense that it came against Juventus considering the fact that he’s been linked with a move so often over the last decade.
- That previous sentence was written well before Berardi should have been shown a red for his challenge on Bremer. The fact that it was only a yellow and the referee didn’t even go to the VAR screen to look at it himself just shows you how flawed this whole system is.
- So, Sassuolo scored two goals after Berardi should have been sent off. Let’s just pretend like they don’t count. Yeah, that’ll make the actual result easier to take. Yep, totally. I’m onto something here.
- None of Juventus’ first eight shots were on target.
- UPDATE: None of Juventus’ first nine shots were on target.
- UPDATE: None of Juventus’ first 10 shots were on target.
- UPDATE: None of Juventus’ first 11 shots were on target.
- UPDATE: None of Juventus’ 12 and 13 shots were on target.
- UPDATE: Juventus’ 14th shot was finally put on frame. It was a goal.
- Congrats to Own Goal for scoring a brace in this game. That really was a special effort.
- The “funny” thing is, this was a total clunker of a game for Gatti even before he did what he did on the own goal to put the cherry on top.
- I was actually pretty excited to see Samuel Iling-Junior and Timothy Weah on the field at the same time because that’s a whole lot of speed to burn. Neither of them could get going.
- Juve’s tracking of Berardi on his goal — bad, very bad.
- Filip Kostic attempted one cross. One!
- Fill in the blank: Juventus’ defense made Armand Laurienté look like ____________.
- Nicolo Fagioli was the only Juve player who had more than one key pass against Sassuolo. Fagioli didn’t start the game.
- Juve’s three starting midfielders combined for three key passes.
- Manuel Locatelli was bad.
- Adrien Rabiot was bad.
- Fabio Miretti was bad.
- They were all bad. Just name somebody not named Chiesa and they were probably bad.
- I really hope this isn’t something that Max Allegri looks at and thinks that trying to play a more expansive kind of game isn’t what this team needs. Essentially, the thing that sends somebody who has been incredibly risk-averse the last couple of years into the 2022 way of thinking where it’s corto muso or GTFO.
- In conclusion, that was awful. That truly was awful. Just about everything outside of Chiesa’s goal was awful. Kinda like Tony Soprano above, I got nothin’ left to say.