The game against Atalanta was thought to be a must-win for Juventus. Yet, here we are discussing Bianconeri’s first defeat to La Dea in Turin since 1989. The scoreboard depicts a 1-0 scoreline, although Juve’s display was much worse than what the number reflects.
With 14 matches having been played in the 2021/22 Serie A season, Juve have 21 points in what is deemed to be a sickening points tally for the 36-time Scudetto winners. The outcome of the game on Saturday marked the fifth league defeat in the current campaign for the Old Lady. For context, they lost only six games in the league under the guidance of Andrea Pirlo last season.
Massimiliano Allegri made just one change from Juve’s away defeat to Chelsea, with Paulo Dybala replacing Rodrigo Bentancur in the starting XI after missing the Bianconeri’s last Serie A fixture against Lazio. Other than that, it was the same backline that conceded four goals in London, with Federico Chiesa playing down the left and Alvaro Morata occupying the forward position.
There were not many goalmouth actions in the match, with Duvan Zapata’s opener proving the decisive moment of the game. For the home side, Paulo Dybala and Adrien Rabiot came close to scoring an equaliser in the second half. But they did not have success in their endeavours.
Here are the three takeaways from Juventus’ second defeat in a week.
Injuries make the headlines over the performances
Last week, Danilo succumbed to an unfortunate knock while playing as a third central defender against Lazio. The injury cost him a certain place in Juve’s starting XI in their Champions League fixture against Chelsea. Without his defensive security, Juventus faced humiliation as the Blues ran riot.
In the game that saw the comebacks of Paulo Dybala to the field and Giorgio Chiellini to the bench, Weston McKennie and Federico Chiesa heaped more misery on the slim shoulders of their gaffer. Juventus would find themselves massively unfortunate in the sense that both McKennie and Chiesa were two of the most inspiring players for Bianconeri in the first half.
From the opening minutes of the game, Chiesa looked hungry to contribute. He made a daunting solo run in the opposition half and would’ve netted a goal against the run of play hadn’t Rafael Toloi made a superb recovery play. Chiesa was full of energy and made a couple of alluring runs forward, but the game came to an abrupt conclusion for the lively figure as soon as the halftime whistle was blown by the referee. He never returned for the second half.
McKennie was on the pitch from the start. He was one of the very few players who tried to penetrate the stubborn Atalanta defence. The American made some eye-catching darts from the midfield, taking La Dea defenders by surprise at times. But following a breathtaking run down the right of Juve’s attack, McKennie hit the deck and was in pain, clutching his knee before limping off after treatment.
It has been reported that the Italian sustained a problem with his left hip flexor and the American picked up a right knee sprain. Therefore, both Chiesa and McKennie, who have been instrumental for the Old Lady of late, could miss a huge chunk of games, potentially spreading more panic among Juventini.