In what was supposed to be an entertaining encounter between two clubs with a combined total of 38 Scudetti at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, these giants of Calcio failed to get the ball in the net during 90 minutes of action. A solid performance by Genoa who did well to defend deep and a predictable Juventus, who once again lacked the creativity and the final third to make their opponent pay.
Suspended and sitting in one of the Marassi’s commentary boxes, Antonio Conte didn’t seem to be missed him much, proving to once again that the team knows how to react well despite missing three of their regular defensive starters.
With Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci unavailable due to injury and suspension, the Bianconeri lined up with the South American duo, Caceres and Vidal, instead, and both did an excellent job of keeping Genoa’s strike force at bay.
However, the attack is the main problem of this unbeaten Juventus side. Led by Alessandro Matri, Mirko Vucinic and Simone Pepe, together this “MVP” has produced 19 from a total of 39 goals scored this season and one would immediately argue about how much of an impact the midfielders have had during the course of this season so far. To make matters worse, the three men up front have been disappointing when it comes to converting opportunities on goal and the lethal touch seems to be all but forgotten at times. Against Genoa, the Bianconeri had a staggering amount of shots – 30 in total, from which only an implausible five ended on target, a fact which deserves zero excuses.
Just four points behind the leaders AC Milan, lady luck was not smiling on the Old Lady as in the last six matches they have won only one and drawn the other five. With the exception of the performance against Chievo last week, which was arguably the worst of the season, the Bianconeri have been dominating especially in possession in almost every game so far, though the creativity and finishing in front of the goal remains an issue which today sees the club in trouble.
Add to this, the harsh refereeing calls against them during the course of the season, such as the scenes in Genoa on Sunday which saw the club call a media silence in protest at the refereeing decisions against the Bianconeri. For example the penalty appeal not given on Matri when he looked to be clearly pulled back by Carvalho, and the very evident goal by Pepe which was called wrongly offside.
You could get down to the nitty-gritty of refereeing decisions but as a fan, (while not completely ignoring the “discrimination by the officials” so to say), I would rather worry more about the performance of my own team and stop playing the blame game with the officials. It is rather painful to see such a determined team on the pitch that is all but incompetent in terms of finishing their chances, they spend so much effort against the minnows yet still only manage to secure a single point, which is a situation much more worrying compared to that of a denied penalty or a valid goal called off.
On the bright side of things, we should never forget the fact that Scudetto was never one of the objectives at the very start of this campaign, whereas today we stand here staring at the high probability of exceeding expectations and are only four points away from the current Serie A leaders. Practice what you preach, have faith, trust your coach, the espirit de corps is well in the team and sooner rather than later, the goals will hopefully appear. This, however, is a crucial year which will see the Bianconeri rest between pain and the hope of another tricolore in the name of Juventus.