I was sitting around like you all at half time of Sunday night’s derby Italy when my dad called and asked how it was going. I told him about the work trip I just got home from right before kickoff, and he asked how the Juve game was going.
I didn’t really know how to describe it because, again, it was one of those first half performances where Juventus wasn’t exactly inspiring a lot of confidence.
Ah, but that second half, though.
The second half was fine.
And it was the second half in which Juventus got goals from Adrien Rabiot and Nicolo Fagioli that gave Max Allegri his biggest win of the season so far, a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Inter that finally got one of the old – School species. of feelings again. As listless and unimpressive as the first 45 minutes were for Juventus, the second half was a completely different story. The objective was to beat Inter on the counterattack – and that’s exactly what happened, with Filip Kostic playing his best bianconero game and being the hub of so many good things originating from his quality left foot.
The counterattacks hit.
The goals came because of that.
And Inter, who were just as in need of points as Juve were when the game kicked off, were left to wonder what the hell happened with every scoring chance either missed or saved by Wojciech Szczesny. (Tech was damn good at that game, wasn’t he? Yeah, I think so too.)
Even after a few minutes away from the final whistle, it is difficult to understand and explain how much Juventus needed a win like this against an opponent like Inter. So many small increases in results in the last couple of weeks have always come with a “yes, but…” kind of response from yours truly because I knew that the performance and result against Inter would be as important as any other. Heading into the World Cup break. Three straight wins in the derby d’Italia was nice, but if Juve lost against Inter – and they probably should have been down based on the first-half display – the results would mean something like Max Allegri fumbled in another big game.
I am pleasantly surprised and happy to tell all of you that floundering against Inter did not happen, my friends.
Instead, Juventus came out of the break with a clear plan and played it about how I could have hoped they would or could have done it.
Whether it was after Rabiot’s goal or Fagioli’s clincher, the team played with a welcome energy in the second half that we haven’t seen much of this season. We’ve seen it in small glimpses over the course of the 2022-23 season, but not many times for an extended period of time like we did Sunday. This is what we were hoping for, not the first half performance that left you wondering what Allegri was thinking of such a positive display against Paris Saint-Germain a few days earlier.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if Juventus play with even the slightest bit of positivity and not the risk-averse side we saw in the first half against Inter, good things can continue to happen.
Take your foot off the brakes a little, Max. This team is just asking to play some positive ball.
They showed it against PSG. They showed it again in the second half against Inter. This is enough for me to beat the drum even more than before. A positive and proactive thinking Juventus is one that can get into the top four – and after Sunday night’s win they are almost there in the table.
Random thoughts and observations
- up to five???? Juv up to fifth!!
- Don’t look now but Juve have gone over 430 minutes without conceding a goal in Serie A. (If you’re getting mad at me for showing a stat that every Italian media outlet is also reporting right as I type this when the current strike ends, then shut up, I’m not a jinx.)
- I don’t know what Max Allegri said to his team at half time. I don’t know what captain Danilo said to the team at halftime. I don’t know what anyone else said at halftime because I wasn’t there. But the way Juve played in the second half is how the team needs to be if they want to finish in the top four.
- Adrien Rabiot’s number of Serie A goals in his first three years with Juventus: 5.
- Adrien Rabiot’s number of Serie A goals during his fourth year at Juventus, which is not even half yet: 5.
- NICOLOOOOOOOOOOO FAGIOLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
- Not a bad game for Nicolo Fagioli to make his first Serie A start in. For a Juventino boy to mark a personal milestone like that in the derby d’Italia… not bad.
- The above bullet point was taped out in the early parts of the first half.
- I would like to add an addendum: not a bad game for Nicolo Fagioli to make his first Serie A start And score his first goal at Allianz Stadium He was the ball boy celebrating Paulo Dybala’s goal against Inter at the Allianz in March 2020 right before lockdown. On Sunday, he had to celebrate his own goal against Inter.
- Start Fagioli against Hellas Verona and Lazio or else we riot, Max.
- MANUEL LOCATELLI Back?????????? Makes you think, people.
- Maybe my memory is failing me, but I can’t remember too many times in recent years where all three of Juve’s defenders in the back three have all been of Brazilian nationality.
- I was worried like almost everyone that Bremer would have to come off at half time because of the way he tweaked his knee late in the first half. Instead, Bremer went out and played like Serie A Defender of the Year Bremer in the second half. What a performance.
- Danilo, too, was absolutely terrific at the back against Inter. I know Juve’s defensive record has received a lot of jokes in recent weeks (and months), but this was the kind of defensive display that gives you hope that they’ve found something there.
- Like, you know, Bremer is at the center of everything and looks like the player he was in Torino. I think this is a pretty good start if Juventus want long-term defensive stability.
- You guys will never believe this but Juve didn’t have a shot on target in the first half.
- Arik Milik had six touches in the first half. Only one of these came into the penalty area. Jesus.
- Federico Chiesa coming in as a striker isn’t ideal, but that’s basically what the situation called for for the last two games as there were literally no other strikers available. And while it wasn’t exactly the lively show his first game back was midweek, I think I’m fine with Allegri basically telling Chisa to “go raise hell on the counterattack.” Tactical wise, I think!
- OK, this is where I address the last instance of VAR basically forcing us to live in a world that is black and white when the callers are not very black and white.
- Danilo scored with his shin, a goal that should have put Juventus up 2-0 much earlier than when Nico Fagioli actually put Juventus up 2-0. It was a goal in which the ball hit Danilo’s hand and then crossed the goal line. The only reason Danilo’s hand was in that position is because Stefan de Vrij had Danilo’s right arm locked in a position where the Brazilian could do absolutely nothing. And yet, Danilo still scored. So what is Danilo supposed to be doing there? Yes, it’s a decision that came down to the letter of the law and technically the correct call, but it’s not like Danilo intentionally played a ball with his hand or anything close to it. Context is important, but as we know, VAR has no idea what context is.
- Let’s be real – imagine what the reaction would have been if Juventus were the team that benefited from the call rather than Inter. It would have been completely different and there would have been an absolute scandal in the Italian media on Monday morning.
- Therefore, Filip Kostic has three assists in this game and there is nothing you can do to tell me otherwise. These are the facts.
- Kostic… my goodness. This is the kind of performance Juve clearly had in mind when they signed him this summer. This was a performance of Kostik and Frankfurt. I like these.
- Allianz Stadium has inter the “OLE!” Treatment during stoppage period. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the crowd in Turin in good spirits during the final minutes of a big game, mainly because Juventus haven’t been in a winning position in big games recently.