Thursday night marked the 400th time in which Max Allegri has managed a game for Juventus. And with that very notable accomplishment, one could say (even with a fair bit of humor behind it) that the perfect way to mark such an occasion would be to have a beloved corto muso kind of win. It would have been something that you know would make Max smile on the inside even if he was screaming on the outside.
What played out was not corto muso.
Instead, it was a second straight Coppa Italia blowout in front of the hometown faithful.
It wasn’t quite the absolute thrashing that Juventus put forth last week against Salernitana to open 2024, but it was pretty close. For the second straight Thursday night of Coppa Italia football at the Allianz Stadium, Juventus went out and recorded one of their highest-single game goal tallies of the last couple of years. It was led by a hat trick from Arek Milik, two world-class assists from Weston McKennie and capped by Kenan Yildiz latest piece of individual magic, as Allegri’s squad continue to roll right along in a 4-0 win over
Juventus B Frosinone to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 16 games.
With it comes the final spot in the Coppa Italia semifinals and a two-legged tie against Maurizio Sarri and Lazio to try and get back to the final, something they missed out on last season.
And while this night didn’t start the way that things last Thursday began when Mattia Perin was picking the ball out of his own net all of a minute in against Salernitana, it’s not like things were humming right away against Frosinone. It was not exactly a beautiful opening 10 minutes, with passes going all over the place and Juve struggling to keep possession.
But once Fabio Miretti made that run into the box that led to the penalty and Milik’s first goal of the night, it was seemingly like the pressure was then off and they could start to play the kind ball that they did a week and a Coppa Italia round earlier. And away they went.
Oh, away they went — and Frosinone simply didn’t have a chance after that.
One team is very much feeling good about things right now. The other is a team full of youngsters — which, by the way, is totally admirable for Frosinone sticking to their guns no matter what — that have seen their team’s form cool off and suddenly the tumble down the Serie A table has followed suit.
To put it simply, Juventus did what they had to do in the Coppa Italia once again. You look at where Salernitana and now Frosinone are currently at and what their form guide looks like, and simply beating them would have been something that you file under “taking care of business” and then moved on to the next fixture. What you probably didn’t expect, knowing how Juventus has played for much of the 2023-24 season (and much of the previous two years before that), was the vision of Juventus outscoring those two opponents in the Coppa Italia by a score of 10-1 and scoring some of the goals they did in a pretty easy-on-the-eye kind of fashion.
This was not Juventus hunkering down after going ahead 1-0 or 2-0. This was not Allegri saying “let’s set up shop in the second half and ride this slim lead to a win” or anything like that. Juventus kept pushing forward, kept seeking a third, a fourth and even a fifth goal despite having things well in hand. Who knows how much Frosinone’s wild comeback attempt against Monza over the weekend factored into that line of thinking. But when you see Juve doing that kind of stuff you both wonder why we can’t see it more often and how good it is to see this team wanting to squash their opponent into the dirt.
The chances of that happening against Lazio probably aren’t as good as they have been the last two Coppa rounds because Sarri seems to have figured things out after a host of early-season issues. Also there’s the simple fact of us not knowing just how different things will end up being when Juve and Lazio meet in early April. But if there’s one way to head into the Coppa Italia semis, the way Juventus have done it is quite the nice way to go about it.
There’s been lots of goals and not many goals allowed. I don’t know about you guys, but a few more games like that would certainly be welcomed knowing that Allegri loves his corto muso ways. Maybe the start of that will be with his 401st game in charge at Juventus. I don’t know, and I probably would bet against it. But not having to sweat out two of the first three games of 2024 has been a nice change of pace. Grazie, grazie.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- You think Mattia Perin enjoyed not surrendering a goal in the first minute this time around? Because I think he did for the simple fact that he was still very much screaming his head off at his defense in the closing minutes against Frosinone. He wanted that clean sheet.
- Juventus are undefeated in games that Joseph Nonge plays in. #OptaBWRAO strikes again.
- Juventus have now scored 12 goals in their first three games of 2024. That’s an average of four per game. That’s sustainable!
- This, my friends, is a badass picture ...
- Yildiz didn’t really hit that shot of his on the goal all that purely. On one angle it looks like it almost hits off his upper shin rather than his foot. But you know what? It was a beautiful goal no matter how Yildiz actually scored it.
- That assist from McKennie on Yildiz’s goal — that was GORGEOUS.
- And that’s saying something since McKennie’s first assist of the night was REALLY GOOD, too. Like, to have an assist that was better than that one to Milik had to be a dime — and it was.
- Also, the whole combination between Milik and McKennie on Juve’s second goal of the night was genuinely fantastic. Milik was on Juve’s half of the field when he sent a long ball out wide to McKennie, then went on the dead sprint into the Frosinone box to get on the end of McKennie’s cut inside and assist. Just a great goal all the way around.
- Imagine if McKennie had scored a goal against Frosinone on top of his two (great) assists. Do you go with the guy who had the hat trick or the guy who had a goal and two assists as the man of the match? That would have been a tougher decision than you think.
- One last McKennie note because he deserves it: How good is Allegri’s decision to bring McKennie back into the squad over the summer looking right about now? The guy has been one of Juve’s three or four best players this season without a doubt. The guy who struggled at Leeds United looks completely reinvigorated now that he’s back with Juventus. Thank you to Max for his call and thank you to Jesse Marsch (and the other managers Wes had in England) for not keeping Leeds up and thus having McKennie return to Juventus.
- Manuel Locatelli being totally unselfish on the goal where Milik got his hat trick should not go unnoticed. That was an easy goal if Loca wanted it, but he dished it off to give Milik an easy third goal. Bravo, Manu.
- I kept looking for Kaio Jorge in this game but I figured out at halftime that he was in Bremer’s pocket. There seems to be a lot of opposing strikers who can say that this season.
- Speaking of Bremer, there were just a couple of defensive actions where I was just sitting there with the kind of reaction like “Goddamn, this guy is just so good” afterward. The guy has taken that step up in performance from Year 1 to Year 2 with Juventus. He’s so damn good.
- I dunno about you guys, but I feel like that was easily one of Fabio Miretti’s games this season. Maybe that’s because some of his performances this year have been, well, forgettable or along those lines, but he seems to have turned a corner over the last few weeks since Allegri had him on the bench for a few weeks. Let’s hope it continues for a player who Juventus need going forward with the lack of midfield depth.
- Danilo good.
- Federico Gatti attempting an overhead kick with the game well in hand is one of the most Federico Gatti things you will ever see him do. He’s very much a center back by name only because this man is a complete wild card when he’s in the opponent’s 18-yard box.
- Filip Kostic was solid against Frosinone. Not great, but not terrible. Just ... solid.
- Very glad Matias Soule’s second-half appearance didn’t result in anything. The last thing we needed to see was a player on loan from Juventus suddenly making things awkward for Juventus at the stadium in which Juventus calls home. Nice to see him get a warm reception when he was subbed on, though.
- Ten goals in two Coppa Italia games. It just makes me laugh.