Skip to content

Shipped from abroad, Italy: When Juve-derived confusion buries third-place’s lead

Apr 30, 2012, 7:35 AM EDT

Novara Calcio v Juventus FC  - Serie A Getty Images

The last time Juventus made out like world beaters, I sang their praises, noting a four-goal win over Roma was the type of performance we’d been waiting for – the type of performance that would overshadow all the misgivings that’d formed during a very vincible season of being Invincibles.

Then came their mid-week win over Cesena – where the Old Lady needed a late goal from Marco Boriello to claim all three points from a relegation-embattled side – and I completely regressed, indulging in all the hyperbole you’d expect from somebody violently flopping from one side of the fence to the other.

With that pattern you’d expect another pendulum-esque swing following Juventus’s 4-0 Sunday thrashing of Novara, but no. I guess I’m finally starting to learn. After Boriello and Arturo Vidal complemented a Mirko Vucinic double, I’ve finally stopped trying to describe Juventus as anything but undefeated and on course to claim Serie A.

Before, when they were clawing their way to draws and 1-0s, I wanted Juventus to be a paper tiger. Juventus is more resourceful than good, I could write. I know that story.

When they posted dominant victories, I could write about how Juventus was growing into the title. Now, as we enter the season’s final match days, the Old Lady is playing the part their record dictates. They were a sleeping giant all along, that story goes.

It’s all so lazy. Instead of watching Juventus and writing what I saw, I took in the performances and asked “which archetype does this fit?”

Which of the X number of team-types in my mind does Juventus conform to? I decide which one, write some variation on that theme, and hope the next week I seem prescient.

This year, that way of going about things has failed me time and time again. This year’s Juve isn’t a type to be categorized with all the teams that’ve come before. They’re a team to be taken in and appreciated on their own merits. They are their own side.

Whereas I’d previously (if implicitly) bemoaned the squad’s inconsistency, now I see them as capable of both greatness and resourcefulness. If I’d previously wondered if they truly were Italy’s best, now I absorb Juve’s performances independent of anything Milan’s done.

After Sunday’s win, Juventus has finally carved out their own, distinct place in my mind. I’m not comparing them to any pre-constructed types. I’m not wondering if they meet whatever standard I’d created for a league champion or undefeated team.

Juve just are, and and with three matches left in the season, they’re still undefeated, still three points clear of the rest of the league.

Elsewhere in Italy

All results
Palermo 1-1 Catania
Cagliari 0-0 Chievo
Roma 2-2 Napoli
Bologna 3-2 Genoa
Inter Milan 2-1 Cesena
Atalanta 2-0 Fiorentina
Novara 0-4 Juventus
Siena 1-4 Milan
Lecce 1-2 Parma
Udinese 2-0 Lazio

Races

Champions League: Juventus (77 points/35 games), Milan (74/35), Napoli (55/25)

Europa League: Udinese (55/35), Internazionale (55/35), Lazio (55/35)

Stuff that stuck out:

  • All of a sudden, Serie A’s gotten amazing. There’s a four-way tie for the last Champions League spot.
  • The first tiebreaker is points amongst tied teams. Napoli has 11 points from games among the four teams, three better than Udinese.
  • The run-ins for each team:
    • Napoli: Palermo, at Bologna, Siena
    • Udinese: at Cesena, Genoa, Catania
    • Inter Milan: at Parma, Milan, at Lazio
    • Lazio: Siena, at Atalanta, Inter Milan
  • Neither of Roma’s clubs have won over the last three match days. Lazio’s four-match winless run as seen them fall from third to sixth. Is the streak a factor in Lazio freezing out the press after their weekend loss, a purported protest over Udinese’s second goal (they claim should have been disallowed after whistles were heard on the pitch)?
  • With two goals on Sunday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is up to 26 for the year, four ahead of Edinson Cavani for Serie A’s capocannonieri. However, he is also on pace to finish on a non-first place team for the first time since his 2002-03 season with Ajax.
  • But the real story from Milan’s match: The full return of Antonio Cassano. The Milan forward posted a goal and two assists.

Up next: Mid-week action sees two Tuesday matches (including Napoli’s hosting of Palermo) ahead of both title contenders taking the field on Wednesday. If Milan loses and Juve wins, the title goes to Turin.

Latest Posts
  1. Done Deal: Transfer activity roundup

    Aug 31, 2014, 10:57 PM EDT

    Cerezo Osaka v Manchester United Getty Images

    Roundup of football transfers across Europe today.

  2. Ancelotti: Real Madrid’s ‘attitude and concentration’ must change

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:55 PM EDT

    FBL-EUR-C1-PSG-PRESSER

    Real Madrid manager insisted that his squad just lost focus on Sunday when they were upset by Real Sociedad.

  3. Darren Fletcher ‘confident’ Manchester United will trump struggles

    Aug 31, 2014, 8:24 PM EDT

    Manchester United v Galatasaray - UEFA Champions League Getty Images

    Darren Fletcher isn’t perturbed by Manchester United’s super-early season struggles.

  4. Toronto FC confirms Jermain Defoe transfer talks have taken place

    Aug 31, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

    Toronto FC's Jermain Defoe scores from the penalty spot against San Jose Earthquakes during first half MLS action in Toronto on Saturday June 7, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young) AP

    Jermain Defoe has been linked away from Toronto FC, with a possible return back to England.

  5. HIGHLIGHTS: Real Madrid falls to Real Sociedad in remarkable comeback

    Aug 31, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT

    _77293433_hi023702086 Getty Images

    Real Madrid didn’t display their standard victorious level of play as Real Sociedad shocked Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

  6. MLS Snapshot: D.C. United 2-0 New York Red Bulls

    Aug 31, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT

    DC United v New York Red Bulls Getty Images

    D.C. United keeps strong at the head of the Eastern Conference, defeating the New York Red Bulls, 2-0.

  7. Geoff Cameron removes himself from U.S. national team roster

    Aug 31, 2014, 3:38 PM EDT

    Geoff Cameron AP

    Geoff Cameron has withdrawn from the United States’ latest roster prepped for the Czech Republic match.

  8. Watch Live: DC United vs. New York Red Bulls (Lineups)

    Aug 31, 2014, 2:53 PM EDT

    RedBulls AP

    DC United hopes to fend off Bradley Wright-Phillips and company in the Atlantic Cup.

  9. Reports suggest Arsenal unlikely to sign a replacement striker for Giroud

    Aug 31, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT

    Sanogo Getty Images

    Despite Yaya Sanogo’s disappointing performance against Leicester City, Wenger may sit on his squad.

  10. Reports: “Chicharito” Hernandez close to loan at Real Madrid

    Aug 31, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Hernandez Getty Images

    After spending a career on the bench at Manchester United, he’s going to another club where he’ll likely be a backup.

  11. Leicester City 1-1 Arsenal: Home side holds strong for draw

    Aug 31, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    Leicester Getty Images

    Leo Ulloa hit back at Arsenal’s early goal and Leicester held on strong against a tired and wasteful Arsenal.

  12. Judging by his debut, Brendan Rodgers has broken through Mario Balotelli’s mental block

    Aug 31, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT

    BalotelliRodgers Getty Images

    It appears the usually erratic, angry, and impulsive Mario Balotelli is nowhere to be found, and the Liverpool manager is to thank.

  13. Done deal: Chelsea sign Loic Remy from QPR

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

    Picture credit: Squawka Picture credit: Squawka

    With Torres, Lukaku, and Ba all gone and Costa proving injury prone, Remy comes in as cover at Stamford Bridge.

  14. Watch Live: Leicester City vs. Arsenal (Lineups)

    Aug 31, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    Sanogo AP

    Yaya Sanogo starts up front in place of the injured Olivier Giroud. Esteban Cambiasso is on the bench for Leicester.

  15. Aston Villa 2-1 Hull City: Swarming start, shaky finish leave Villa undefeated still

    Aug 31, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    VillaHull Getty Images

    Aston Villa were bright nearly the whole match but struggled to fend off Hull late in a close victory.

  16. Tottenham 0-3 Liverpool: Familiar scenes as Reds storm Spurs in London

    Aug 31, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT

    Liverpool Getty Images

    Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard both scored as Liverpool rocked Spurs yet again in London.

  17. Reports: Alessio Cerci to Atletico Madrid is nearing completion

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:53 AM EDT

    Cerci Getty Images

    Torino continues to sell off last year’s successful attack force for a big profit.

Featured video

Week 3: Saturday Premier League recap