Talk about a flop, a game break, and another good performance by a young player.
Things have been going a little too well for Juventus lately. They regained his 15 points in the league and advanced to the semi-finals of the Europa League by defeating superior Sporting his Lisbon. All done on the same day. Well, given how this whole season has gone for the Bianconeri, after some good breaks, they needed a little luck against us.
A matchup against near-certain Serie A champions Napoli will always be a tough test, especially after Juventus were beaten 5-1 in their first meeting of the season.
The final result of Sunday’s match was far more admirable than the aforementioned January demolition, but the result was the same in the win-loss column.
Unfortunately they didn’t.
LVP: Juan Cuadrado
Let’s get out of the way. Cuadrado is always a failure.
We can’t speak to his career before Fiorentina, but ever since he stepped into the European spotlight, Cuadrado is widely known as the guy who tries to call whenever he can.
It was annoyingly charming when he was doing it four or five years ago. Cuadrado had the space and technique to lure many players into fouls, so if he “dramatized” the contact most referees would buy it and good things would happen to Juventus. Cheers.
Unfortunately for Juventus and the Colombian national team, the playbook is public, and referees are far less likely to give the benefit of the doubt when good old Johnny Square tries to get his way on the flop.
Ultimately, his play put Juventus in the ass and we saw the absolute worst case scenario on Sunday. Cuadrado pretended to have broken his fibula in the Napoli box, but the other side continued to play and the man Cuadrado should have been defending opened the wings wide to score the winning goal.
I would argue that Cuadrado could manage enough time and remain a productive player for Juventus if used as a super-sub winger rather than a bombing wingback/fullback hybrid. However, given the abundance of wide players from Juventus’ youth system, Cuadrado’s era bianconero We may be nearing the end.
Winner: Matthias Soule
I like Matthias Soule. I would say it
Having just celebrated his 20th birthday a few days ago, the young Soule is off to a fresh start as he makes a surprise discovery in the starting line-up. The biggest indication that a product for young people has potential is that they can play the big game and maintain their unique position. I think Soulé is more so.
(One weird thing that Max Allegri freaks like to do is throw young guys out there in big games against tough competition. I don’t know if it’s like a fire trial, but I can’t say I hate it, of course, until a youth product gets screwed up so badly in a big game that it leaves everyone scratching their heads.)
He now has a record 18 appearances during the season, most of them sub-cameos, but even so, he seems to be gaining Allegri’s trust more and more. There is one key moment;
Back in the 2016 season, Juventus were going head-to-head with one of Napoli’s national teams, led by Maurizio Sarri. Scudetto.
Both teams had enough talent and arguments to clinch the title, with a big decisive trend scheduled for early February as Juventus hosted a prowling Napoli. It was a very tight game. Both teams had chances and it was clear he was going to be the one in the game that was decided by the tiniest margin.
A whimsical effort from Simone Zaza gave Juve a break in the second half.
Call it luck, ride opportunity, whatever you want to call a team that is championship caliber, somehow find those breaks. Juventus was his one such team in 2016, and a win in that matchup propelled him to another Serie A title.
Juventus and Napoli were not in contention for the title this time around, but the roles have been reversed since the Faithful Days of February 2016. Juventus tried their best to keep Napoli off the board, and were still pretty successful.
of Bianconeri There were two plays where we expected break chances to deliver knockout punches and lost the ball behind the net. Yet both plays were overturned in VAR review. Both are borderline calls and both are on their way to becoming champions.
Leave enough room for a team like Napoli and they’ll find a way, and they did just after Juventus’ second disallowed goal.
Party shot of the week
The loss saw Juventus on a three-game losing streak in the league, which is not ideal to say the least.
Juventus still have a three-point cushion over the chasing group of AC Milan and Roma, with Inter Milan not far behind them with a five-point gap. The good news is that all of these teams remain in European competition just like Juventus, so the scheduling crisis will affect them all in the same way.
The bad news is that the gap could close dangerously until this team is able to keep up its game in the league.
see you on wednesday