This Serie A season is not officially over for Juve, but it might as well have that feeling to it. On a night in which the team was missing many of its starters, they walk away with a draw that felt like just that, a stalemate with Juve offering little if anything to deserve a victory. This team was just average all around and that is simply not good enough to win this league this year. While Inter continues its continual ascent to the top, it seems like we have peaked and are now witnessing a Juve without much room to grow or improve from what we saw vs. Verona. Yes, there were a lot of players missing, but this is Juventus and there were adequate substitutes on the pitch ready to make their marks. However, it is clear and evident from the performance yesterday that there is a massive void in the creativity in this team. It is a theme that is been brought up multiple times recently, but yet again it bears repeating, this current midfield especially has no creativity or reliability for Juve to continue its seasonal dominance.
As it bears repeating, this was yet another game of the same issues peering themselves out again. There continues to the playing with fire trend in playing from the back(everyone collectively holding their breath as Bentancour slowly passes the ball back to Tek). Bentancur and also Rabiot joining in on this action multiple times in this game. While Hellas Verona might not finish or even trouble Tek in goal with their quality off stealing the ball, another bigger team would definitely do so, and yet here we are not even beating Hellas Verona. Even after the ball made it into the midfield, there was little if any attempt to play or find passing lanes, instead the midfielders would resort to long balls and most of the time there were highly inaccurate. This inaccuracy is just simply unacceptable, Ramsey, Bentancour and Rabiot are all center midfielders who do this for a living, passing is their bread and butter. When the ball was lost, more effort was made in recovery by the forwards and wing-backs than the midfielders themselves. There were little if any positives from this game, but this is for sure Pirlo has some effect in motiving in the locker room, both the first 10 minutes of both halves provided high intensity from the team all-around. One can only hope they could replicate this for 45 minutes at least.
Week to week it seems like we can always point out who is going to stand out for their performances and who will not, lately we have seen at least some bright spots on this team through the likes of Chiesa and Ronaldo. Chiesa provided another workhorse-like performance, he is truly the energizer bunny on this team. Playing a pseudo-right-back role, he tracked back, went left, went forward, he was everywhere. He was one of the few players that were actually trying to make a difference. On our only goal of the night, Chiesa demonstrated great patience to find a well-positioned Ronaldo in a prime position for the better shot on goal. Ronaldo put away his chance and although he was blocked on many occasions, others must help to diversify the scoresheet. We are not and cannot be simply known as a one-man team. The chemistry building between Chiesa and Ronaldo is one of the few bright spots during the last few hard weeks. Szczesny was ultimately a vital key in this game as well, despite the end result. In the first half, he saved a close-range effort that ultimately bounced off the post, and in the end, he had a phenomenal save towards his right-hand side as Verona pushed late on. The goal scored by Verona not his fault rather Demiral tracked back and back without aggressively challenging the ball and Alex Sandro simply got beat in the air in a one v one jump which is not his forte.
In the end, this was a game with little to highlight from what was a poor performance all around. When your striker does his job and the goalkeeper keeps you in the game but you do nothing else to change the result it becomes evident that the team cannot be led game after game by individual performances. The collective on this team must improve, and for as much as many of us want to try and look at many scenarios including remaining schedules and make-up games the road to the title becomes narrower and narrower day by day. The league is a long shot and deservedly so.