You may have thought that, with Juventus being up 15 points on third-place Milan and Milan having to play without its best players (Mario Balotelli being suspended and the rest having been sold to PSG), and the match at home at Juventus stadium, the three points would have been easier to earn. But then, perhaps you changed your mind when you saw the line-up and formation.
Juventus 1:0 Milan
I’ve been pretty down on Mirko Vucinic. For me, his occasional genius is outweighed by his repetitive mistakes. Not just that he makes mistakes–he makes the same mistakes over and over. I would play Fabio Quagliarella or Ale Matri more often. But no. Conte keeps going back to Mirko. Fine. I don’t like it, but he’s the expert. I’ll bet he doesn’t know shit about the Fair Labor Standards Act. Fair enough.
But Mirko is not a center striker. He just isn’t. He specializes in miraculous little backheel passes. He likes to handle the ball and noodle around with it. Like Amauri, only competently. For the most part anyway. He is not a target man. This weekend, however, Conte played him alone up top. Huh? Oh, and get this: he played Claudio Marchisio as a trequartista. Now I love me some Claudio and I think he can do pretty much anything he wants. Perhaps even trequartista, I guess. However, against Milan, I want him in the central midfield shoving Riccardo Montotlivo around, elbowing him when the ref isn’t looking, and pulling his hair. I’ve always wondered what Monty would do if someone pulled his precious hairz. Claudio is not my first choice for trequartista unless Fabio Quagliarella and Sebastian Giovinco were both unable to walk.
But there it was. Mirko alone up top and Claudio in the hole behind him. I looked over at Mr. D and announced: Line-up of Fail. We were sad. We’re a Juve/Liverpool household and we had just seen Luis Suarez, whom I have derisively called “The Biter” since the prior incident at Ajax, bite Bane Ivanovic, one of the few Chelsea players I sort of like. So we were ready for the worst.
But then the teams came out of the tunnel.
Iron Man. Giorgio Chiellini was holding hands with a tiny Iron Man. I know–they’re trying to get people to buy Iron Man stuff. I don’t care. Seeing Chiello take the pitch when he’s been broken for so long was enough to make my heart swell with joy by itself But with Iron Man? I was overcome with Teh Squee. To hell with The Biter. The Reds are really just Mr. D’s team anyway. I was ready to move on.
Gigi Buffon. It all starts with Gigi. Our Number One. Everyone’s Number One. Wearing his bright yellow kit and his Carrarese Calcio gloves. And sporting a few hairpins that he might have pinched from Alena, because he seems like the kind of guy who wouldn’t remember to buy hairpins.
The thumbs-up to the curva. They expect it. They demand it. He never forgets. (How could he? There’s gotta be some blowhard among the ultras who screams at him “Gigi! Gigi!” and the only way to shut him up is to turn and wave. Unless Gigi is one of those athletes who goes into the zone and doesn’t even notice the crowd. Who can say? I’m a champion couch potato, so everything I know about sports psychology I learned from Kevin Costner movies. This one is awesome. This one not so much.)
It was back to normal on the back line.
Mr. Stalwart, Andrea Barzagli, on the right of center, wearing his working face. Never has a bad game.
Leonardo Bonucci in the center, having a game that I remember as completely meh, but then I saw these close-ups of him ‘n’ Giampaolo Pazzini. My goodness. Hey Pazzo! Leo is not there to protect you from the mean, scary pallone. He’s there to kick your ass.
I can’t be objective about this. I adore Leo, as you all know, even when he’s being a dingbat, and I Do Not Like Pazzo. Not at all. There was a year when I pretended not to hate him for Martha’s sake because he was playing at Inter, but I do hate him. But just look at these photos. One of these men is a fucking warrior (motto: Bring It!), and the other one looks weak and limp and completely dominated. *snicker*
I approve of the hair. Now I have something to hold onto when we’re getting busy. And this isn’t Juventiknows–it’s Dirtbunny’s show–and there’s no one here to tell me not to mention the junk.
JUNK JUNK JUNK
Hmmmmmm. There was some shirt-pulling, okay? It’s not a big deal
unless they do it to a Zebe. I don’t remember any more how whiny the match was. I mean, I saw Bayern Munich and Barcelona yesterday in which every twenty seconds both sides were all “WWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH! Mr. Kasai! Mr. Kasai! He TOUCHED me! Owwwwwww!” Bunch of babies. Our match was not like that at all.
Oh, Giorgio. It all starts with Giorgio. No one, not even the most ridiculous anti-Italian-styereotypes-soaked BSkyB color commentator, would ever call Keyser Giorgio a baby.
Look. Now it’s not like I’m unhappy to see him. I’m not. I just have a weird little feeling that he’s not really 100%. I worry. I don’t want to risk him getting re-injured. And it’s not because I think Federico Peluso is pretty, which he is. It’s because he’s a world class defender and I want his career to go on for at least ten more years so I can enjoy his football.
And now, the midfield. We’ll deal with Asamoah and Vidal later.
Ah yes, Stephan Lichtsteiner, our Big Ugly Monster. Cursed by his Swiss homeland, him and Valon Behrami, to shoulder the entire nation’s warlike impulses so everyone else can maintain a reputation for peace. It’s unfair. But someone has to have the balls to argue with Gigi. Did ever bitch at ADP? I can’t remember and we’ve broken up so I don’t want to call him and ask.
He bitches at himself too. He just wants everything to be correct, OK?
Wow. WOW. Check out those thighs. Look closely. Now look at his knees. His knees are tanned. TANNED! As a Pale, I feel betrayed.
Oh, Pirlo. It all starts with Andrea Pirlo. MILAN GAVE HIM AWAY FOR FREE, THE DUMBASSES! hahahahahahahahahaha
Um, the pitch doesn’t look that big on TV.
OK, so with Claudio playing out of position, who filled in? Padoin, right? Can’t have a whole match with no Simone Padoin.
Wrong! Well, not exactly because Padoin ended up subbing in at the very end. But for our purposes: WRONG! PAUL POGBA! UNLEASH THE POGBA!
This young man is a monster in the best sense of the word. Look at him muscling past Massimo Ambrosini. The whole point of Ambrosini is to dispossess you of the ball
and maybe spike you in the shins or elbow you in the jaw. Granted, he’s old, but he’s a World Champion just like Gigi…
Ew. That sounds wrong. World Champion or not, I cannot put him in the firmament with the stars of yesterday and today. Let’s try again.
Granted, he’s old, but he’s a World Champion just like Fabio Grosso, and he’s overflowing with that “experience” that seems to be more important to calcio suits than developing young players, and it’s not supposed to be this easy.
TANGENT: Milan kept Ambrosini and gave away Pirlo for free! That’s like keeping Daniele Bonera and giving away Paolo Maldini for free. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Anyway, back to Pogba. I like this kiddo more and more.
Giving Monty a hard time. heh heh
But I’m sure you all remember his big moment.
Don’t waste your time looking at Monty cowering in fear. That overhead kick! Ho. Lee. Shit. He got up so HIGH and his legs are so LONG! Ray Hudson almost forgot about Lio Messi for a minute as he sputtered out his purple praise. (And then we heard about Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson again, blah blah blah)
I’ve already mentioned Claudio, another player I’m always glad to see but also wish could get rested once in a while.
Let’s get to it. So Christian Abbiati broke himself fighting off a well-placed shot from Pirlo and that means Marco Amelia came on. That’s another name that sounds so nice I have to say it twice: Marco Amelia
Marco Amelia Then Kwadwo Asamoah (Twitter handle: Asabob) rampaged past everyone up the left side and Marco came off his line. When someone is charging your goal and you decide to come out, you’ve gotta get the ball or else you’re screwed. Marco got screwed.
Penalty and a yellow card for Marco. Who’s the Zebra penalty-taker?
Happy Warrior Arturo Vidal. He placed a shot so high in the right-hand corner that the ball literally licked the post and the crossbar as it went in. I mean it. I saw its tongue on the replay. What a beautiful shot. Ballsy too, cos what if he missed? There’s no room for error on a shot like that.
Query: If Arturo has that kind of precision from the spot, isn’t it fair to expect better finishing from him in the run of play? I hate to sound greedy or anything. He scores a lot of goals. But he also puts a lot of shots in Row Zed. It’s irritating, especially since you can’t always count on Mirko.
Time for happy thoughts about the Happy Warrior. So he runs over the the Pogba and he roars and glomps…..
And he did an airplane. The BUM disapproves. Chiello is making his signature fist-clenching roar. Claudio is licking his lips in anticipation cos he knows he’s about to get some love.
So yeah. That was at minute 57. They still had half an hour to either score more goals………
…. which did not happen even though Conte deployed his secret weapon, or keep Milan from scoring a goal, which they did.
Peluso got about thirty seconds at the very end of stoppage time.
I have no words. Just a warm fuzzy feeling for Mr. Barzagli. He’s perfect, isn’t he? He’s never going to bite someone, or sneak out the back window so he can flee from the police, or set his apartment on fire, or get photographed in public wearing a jersey from Juve’s arch-enemy. He’s my favorite. It all starts with Barza.
It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. But it was three points in the last match of the season with a Big Team. All that stands between the Zebes are their 31st scudetto is the Toros, the Pinks, Atalanta, the Sardines, and Samp. Juve will certainly lose one of those matches, probably to Palermo because they’re the worst on that list and that’s the kind of karma I have. Even if they lose a few, they’re still in. *crosses fingers*
Yup. There’s Quags, who got two whole minutes of playing time. OOF. I just had a vision of Vidal dancing happily with his daughter at her wedding, wearing a face just like that. Does he even have a daughter?
Leo always has the highest, loudest, and fiercest jump, whether he did anything useful or not. I love him.
Wait. Only five matches left! That means the long boring summer with no football is coming. I hate that part.
Next match is Sunday against the Toros at the Stadio Olimpico.
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