We all knew this was going to happen, right?
That was just who this team is at that point. Just days after putting in a clinical performance against Zenit in the Champions League, Juventus sleepwalks for most of their Saturday night clash against Fiorentina, only to be bailed out by a red card and flash of brilliance of Juan Cuadrado to secure a narrow 1-0 victory.
And, listen, I’m not going to complain about getting all three points – especially at this time when they desperately need whatever they can get. It’s just a little disappointing to see this team unable to deliver consistent performance. I guess that’s who they are at this point and that’s it.
MVP: Juan Cuadrado
Another MVP performance from a replacement – which isn’t usually the norm, but who else are you going to give it to? Cuadrado was exactly what this team needed to break the deadlock and it was a good reminder of the pure skills the guy can show at times.
With a rumored contract extension going on, it’s always good to remember that not too long ago Cuadrado was a Premier League scrapper trying to regain his form with Juventus and for a few seasons there. , I don’t think a lot of people would have been upset to see him go as his form was rather inconsistent.
This has been quite a turnaround for him, as he is comfortably one of Juventus’ most influential players and someone well deserving of his extension.
Runner-up: Federico Chiesa – A solid change for the former Fiorentina man. He was unlucky not to score a goal, but his usual pace and pace of work was on full display despite looking exhausted – like many players on this team – at times.
Grab Bag MVP Season Leader: Manuel Locatelli (8 points)
As we mentioned in a previous Grab Bag, that moment was going to come sooner or later. My biggest hope was that it would be later, but it wasn’t meant to be. Given Juventus’ shocking lack of depth and mismanagement of the post in recent years and given the age of their starting center-backs would eventually emerge, Daniele Rugani was going to start.
Yes, the same Rugani who has already shown a lot of promise but has never been able to put everything in place. Yeah, the same Rugani who got loaned TWICE Last year. Somehow he found himself a Juve player again and his first start was against an attack led by one of Serie A’s top forwards at Dusan Vlahovic.
What could go wrong?
To his credit – and to Matthijs de Ligt’s credit – they managed to keep a clean sheet, which is honestly more than you could have asked the defense when the start sheet was announced. Rugani had a few shaky moments – as he does – but all in all, anything but a complete meltdown was going to be a hit in my book.
Do I think that signals some sort of career resumption for the Juventus No.24? No, probably not, but this isn’t the last time Leo Bonucci or Giorgio Chiellini can’t play due to injury or whatever, so if he can at least be average by replacing the veteran duo, the things look a lot less gloomy.
(For a team that at one point employed three young defenders in Matthijs de Ligt, Cristian Romero and Merih Demiral, it’s crazy to me that it’s Daniele Rugani taking minutes now.)
Winner: Luca Pellegrini
I’m going to keep drumming on this one, but why isn’t Luca Pellegrini playing anymore?
I understand that now three different coaching teams have taken a look at the guy and for some reason have decided not to give him a chance, loaning him out for two consecutive seasons until he finally manages to stay under Max Allegri.
But, am I crazy, or is he good? At worst he looked slightly above average during his limited minutes and given the immense workload on entrenched starter Alex Sandro I think he should have more chances on that left flank.
He’s unlikely to grow into a guy capable of reaching the heights Sandro has reached, but that doesn’t mean he’s useless. You have to give the child a chance to shine so that at least you know for sure what he is.
- Manuel Locatelli – Still the best player in the unit. His form has fallen from the initial highs of his career at Juventus, but it’s hard for me to say another player has passed him.
- Weston McKennie – A trend in the right direction after a disappointing 2021 calendar year. He seems to be finding rhythm in his partnership with Locatelli and could be the key to making a two-way pivot work. I’ve yet to see him do this longer, but all things considered, he is. upward trend.
- Rodrigo Bentancur – This guy is a living embodiment of Juventus. Catch it on the right day and it looks great, but it can just as easily be terrible the next day.
- Adrien Rabiot – The experience of the left does not work. He looked decent against Chelsea, but outside of this game it was really a disappointment. I have to take him there.
- Arthur – This piece was uploaded without Arthur, your boy’s honest mistake, but isn’t that all you need to know about Arthur’s move to Juventus?
- Aaron Ramsey – I heard Newcastle were gorgeous in January.
Starting shot of the week
A victory is a victory is a victory.
Keep telling yourself as you completely forget that this game never took place during the international break. It was another nonchalant effort from a team that seems perpetually stuck in second gear.
Between the exhaustion of playing far too many games and the hot and cold form of almost everyone on this team, it’s hard to imagine this team coming out of this perpetual rocket in their football.
But hey, I’d rather win ugly than lose ugly, so there you go.
See you after the break.