Torino, April 4th, 2021 – In what typically is an exciting match for the battle of Torino, turned out to be a very difficult and frustrating match to watch – leaving both Juventus players and fans feeling as though we had lost. Derby or not – a draw against a 17th place Torino is simply unacceptable. It is evident that most players are no longer focused, and seem to be just going through the motions. In terms of the squad as a collective, I see very little fighting spirit left.
I can finally give in and say: the title for us this year, is no longer attainable. It must be said that the past nine years were beautiful, and our many achievements cannot (and should not) be overlooked. Although I must say, that the way we have conceded the title is quite disappointing. I'm sure that many hoping that Juventus would at least go down with a fight, or simply a string of strong performances. But this season, it did not feel as though we were the team to beat - as we once were.
In what could’ve been a strong finish to the season, this Juventus side seems to have lost any fighting spirit they had left. Following an embarrassing loss to Benevento, I feel as though it is safe to say that the expectations for the remainder of the season were quite low. Prior to that same match, one could even argue that the Bianconeri weren’t out of the title race entirely. But a loss and a tie against clubs that we should be beating ‘comfortably,’ is obviously nowhere near enough. That being said, the fight for a precious spot for the Champions League is still wide open. Still, something very important to fight for.
As many Juventus fans may have heard, it seems as though some Juventus players enjoyed themselves a little too much at a ‘dinner party’ hosted by our American Boy, Weston McKennie. Others that were seen in attendance consisted of Paulo Dybala, Arthur, and apparently a few others. I feel as though our players have let us down. These players should know better than anyone that there is much left to fight for this season, and thus should display a certain level of professionalism. It does not take a genius to realize the difference that McKennie, Dybala, and Arthur could’ve made in a game such as the Derby last night.
Personally, I am more so disappointed in Dybala – as he should simply know better. He has been at Juventus long enough to know what is acceptable and professional versus what is not, and he should be a player at the club guiding the newcomers to do the same. In previous seasons, Paulito had stepped up his performances in the final half of the season, and one could argue that he single-handedly won us the Scudetto. He seemed to have been working quite hard to return from injury in order to help the squad, only to be omitted from the team sheet because of a stupid decision. Disappointing.
It must be said that Danilo switching positions from a right back, to a center back in a three-man defense, to now a central defensive midfielder has paid off nicely. Having a player who is able to fill in and adapt quickly just as Danilo has, is an extremely important role for top clubs to have. Especially for a team such as Juventus, in where depth and flexibility are needed for what is a very long season – Danilo’s role this past year cannot be overlooked.
Although, a player with Danilo’s defensive capabilities and ability on the ball cannot be used in the midfield to his full extent without the proper pairing. The point I would like to raise is – once Danilo wins the ball, who does he offload that ball to? Bentancur, or perhaps Rabiot for a nice-looking square pass? While I do think that these players have moments of quality to them, I don’t have faith that they are the imposing midfielders that would be looking for to urge our team forward and find that key pass through. I’ve written about it before and I’ll say it again - we desperately need a world-class midfielder, or simply a forward-thinking player with ideas. I’m sure all fans will have their fingers crossed for some changes in the midfield this summer.
Playing for the shirt
Federico Chiesa. Matthijs de Ligt. Please try to find other players on this Juventus side (as of late) who have embodied the Juventus fighting spirit more than these two. Day in and day out, these boys show that they have what it takes to wear the black and white stripes. Not only do they work extremely hard each and every time they step on the pitch, yet they very clearly have that special “we are Juventus” attitude that seems to be missing among other players this season.
Chiesa’s direct approach and eagerness to take players on is infatuating – his pace and technical ability make him such a fun player to watch, and leaves you on edge wondering what he could possibly do next time he’s in possession. While on the other hand, De Ligt has been a pillar of our defense – he cuts out most threats to our goal, always seems to make the right decision when distributing the ball, also seems to have taken a page out of Chiellini’s notebook – as De Ligt is somehow constantly in the right position to best help his team.
I hope that both De Ligt and Chiesa realize the potential they have yet to still uncover, and I pray that they choose to continue developing at Juventus – if so, they will continue to be extremely important pieces to the Old Lady’s currently complex puzzle. If you are struggling to take anything positive away from this season, pay close attention to the young men wearing numbers 4 and 22 respectively – as they are the future of this club.