Watching Juventus often leaves you feeling an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
The professionalism with which they swat Serie A’s ‘also-rans’ aside on such a regular basis, season after season, leaves you wondering how their stranglehold on the Scudetto will ever end.
Monday was one of those nights, even if they managed to leave the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara having beaten Bologna without ever really impressing or breaking into a sweat.
Federico Bernardeschi did well, sure, and he grabbed the opportunity afforded to him with both hands, but other than that there was little that Juventus supporters watching on would have gotten excited about.
Paulo Dybala scored a fine goal – after being excellently assisted by Bernardeschi – and Cristiano Ronaldo was back on target from the penalty spot, but nothing they did on the night really convinced.
Even at that, though, they were never troubled. Bologna had a Nicola Sansone shot fly wide of Wojciech Szczesny’s post that had the Pole momentarily troubled, but that – and a near-penalty concession from Mattia De Sciglio – was about it despite them somehow racking up 16 shots.
But even as often as they relentlessly brush past their opposition in Italy – be it against Inter, Atalanta or other high-flying sides – they are just as inclined to collect every point on offer while leaving everyone around wondering how they’re doing it.
Juventus’ win on Monday was their 13th in 14 games against Bologna, and the ninth of those in which they’ve kept a clean sheet, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a convincing performance in any of those.
Roma, Parma, Fiorentina, Brescia, SPAL Inter and now the Rossoblu have all fallen to the Old Lady since the turn of the year, with SPAL in particular left wondering what they did to lose at the Stadio Paolo Mazza in February, while Napoli, Hellas Verona and Lyon (Champions League) have proven them to be beatable.
Juventus’ squad is more jam packed with talent than any other in Italy, but their relentless domestic trophy collecting is getting harder to explain with each passing year.
Is this Sarrismo?
Maurizio Sarri’s ideas take time to be transmitted to his players, but Juventus have played three games since the restart now and they’ve not done anything noteworthy in any of those.
They edged possession again on Monday with 56 percent of the ball, but Bologna managed 16 shots to their 15 and there weren’t too many opportunities that went begging for Juve.
With four clean sheets in a row now they’ve achieved something they hadn’t since December 2018, going 419 minutes without conceding a goal, but they’re not producing at the other end of the pitch in the same way that Sarri’s beloved Napoli did.
The attack isn’t clicking
Cristiano Ronaldo finally found the target again on Monday evening, doing what he couldn’t against AC Milan in his first game back by converting a penalty in the first half.
The strike ended his second longest scoring drought as a professional – although the COVID-19 pandemic is quite a significant factor in this – but he added a 15th Serie A stadium in which he’s scored to his list, leaving him only missing Parma’s Stadio Ennio Tardini.
Sarri will no doubt be pleased that both the Portuguese and Paulo Dybala managed to find the net in the same game, although it is only the third time they have done that in 68 appearances together.