Juventus 0 – Maccabi Haifa 2: Initial reaction and random observations

At some point, all you have to do is laugh, people.

It is likely that it will be some sort of a sick and maniacal laugh with your hand over your face and your head shaking at the same time, but it’s a laugh nonetheless. And because of how Juventus has just played in a 2-0 loss to Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday night, that kind of laugh is very much deserved right now.

Or, I’m guessing that you’ve already gotten to that point over the course of the last month or so. Maybe it arrived over the weekend when Juve couldn’t do much right against Milan. Maybe it arrived when Juve were losing to Monza in the first game that Raffaele Palladino ever managed at the senior level. Maybe it was the first loss of the season when Juve looked completely inept for the first 45 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain, a clear sign of the gap between those two sides.

No matter what point you got there, you most definitely are there now.

That’s because this was one of those nights that really hit home just what kind of deteriorated state Juventus finds itself in as the final weeks of 2022 quickly arrive. The squad is a mess, the best players are out hurt and then get hurt again when they do come back and the manager is just completely unwilling to change his ways to give his team even the slightest bit of a respite from what they’ve become accustomed to over the last 16 months.

It’s bad. It’s really, really bad. Sacking the manager isn’t going to suddenly fix everything, but it’s a start. The thing is, though, Max Allegri won’t be the guy walking into Andrea Agnelli’s office on Wednesday morning handing in his letter of resignation. Juventus, as far as we can tell, is very much still backing their under-fire manager. So unless things seriously change at the top, this may as well keep going on … and on … and on, with no end in sight actually visible prior to the World Cup break.

I can sit here and tell you about how Juventus got dominated for much of the night by a Maccabi Haifa side that had just lost to Allegri’s squad six days earlier. I can tell you that Juve — shockingly! (except not at all — looked like a team that had no idea what it wanted to do or how to even recover once they fell behind early in the first half.

But this is nothing new. Juve looking completely lost on the field has been happening more often than not this season. Allegri looking like he has no ideas in how to try and solve things isn’t new, either. This is common place for Juventus in the 2022-23 season. It’s why they’re eighth in the Serie A table and why they’ve got all of one win in four Champions League group stage games this season.

Things are bad. They’re really, really bad.

Did you think the Monza loss was rock bottom? It’s proven not to be.

Did you think the loss to Milan over the weekend was rock bottom? Nope, try again.

This loss to Maccabi Haifa could be rock bottom, but Juventus plays again on Saturday, so there’s always a chance that Torino gives us a new level of rock bottom all four days after we though this was rock bottom.

That might be the most interesting part of Juventus’ season until a managerial change is made (if one is made) — let’s just see how far this team can sink before the World Cup break arrives. It’s better than actually thinking that this team has a chance of turning things around, right?

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • Pre-game thought No. 1: Daniele Rugani in a must-win Champions League game? Tell me a more Juventus thing in October 2022.
  • Pre-game thought No. 2: Give Max Allegri this — dude stays true to form when it comes to playing a 4-4-2 with somebody who isn’t a winger playing as a winger. Resting a heavily-used Filip Kostic is fine, but rolling out Weston McKennie as his replacement? Max gonna Max.
  • Pre-game thought No. 3: “Tonight is a night in which (Juventus) must deliver,” the match announcer said as the teams walked out of the tunnel. In my head, my response was basically “What could possibly go wrong?” and I’m guessing I’m not the only one to think something along those lines.
  • Hey, at least Max looked nice in his sweater. Too bad that was the highlight of the night.
  • Juventus hasn’t won an away fixture since April. APRIL, PEOPLE, APRIL!
  • Here’s something to cheer you up: This was Maccabi Haifa’s first Champions League win in 20 years. Twenty! Aren’t you glad that you watched a little bit of history happen?
  • Here is something that will also cheer you up: Juventus still has to play Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain. So if you’re still holding out hope that Juve gets to the Champions League knockout rounds, you might want to reevaluate things before your heart gets broken.
  • Show me Juventus’ season in a nine-second clip without any words being spoken.
  • Dusan Vlahovic finished with 28 touches. That’s more than I thought he would have.
  • Matias Soulé showed more in 15 minutes or so than any Juve player did in 90 minutes.
  • That Maccabi Haifa stadium atmosphere did seem fun, though. Compare that to the one at Allianz Stadium and it’s night and day. Show me a fanbase that is loving life right now and one that is completely sick of what they’re watching and you have what we’ve seen over the last week.
  • Weston McKennie playing out wide went about as well as you thought he would know what kind of form he’s on right now.
  • Personally, if Allegri is insisting on using a 4-4-2, then it would be nice if actual wingers played.
  • Then again, the one winger that actually played was Juan Cuadrado, so it’s not like the natural winger was all that much better than the makeshift one.
  • It’s also good that Angel Di Maria is hurt again because I was really starting to wonder when the next injury of his Juventus career was going to arrive. Way to get it out of the way early, Angel. What a guy.
  • Not a good couple of days for Argentinians and muscle injuries, huh? Yikes.
  • Personally glad that this game was over before noon where I live so that I could move on with my day. Way to go, Champions League schedule makers.

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