Well then. That was fun, eh? I know, it would have been better if Udinese had been more competitive. Juventus pretty much went into maintenance mode after the fourth goal and things got a little slow, but before that… wow!
This week-end also marked the end of the summer mercato, which means we “must” welcome new signing Nicklas Bendtner, late of Arsenal (featured here with Mr. Marotta, his biggest fan by far).
My husband, Mr. Dirtbunny, is a fan of “The Arse,” so I’ve already seen a lot of Mr. Bendtner and I am most displeased with this signing. I don’t like the player’s arrogance, his work rate, his decision-making, or his off-pitch foolishness. Alas, he’s here now, and like everyone else, I hope he does well.
Bendtner’s undoubtedly talented, he did well in the Euros recently, he was fairly cheap, and IT’S ONLY A LOAN. Also, he’s “only” 24, which means we are not yet past the point where it becomes ridiculous to continue waiting for a player to blossom into his full potential. If Conte kicks some sense into him, I may yet come around.
However, no more turtlenecks please.
And here we have a rare sighting of one publicity-avoidant Andrea Barzagli, meeting with Juventus.com contest winners and signing autographs. Is that some grey hair on his temples, or is it just a lighting trick? If it’s grey, then I love him even more.
Anyways, on to the match.
My Evil Cable Company’s customer service schmo has told Mr. D unofficially that beIN Sport should be active in our part of the USA on October 11. Why? Why does it take so long? Once they get the feed in from the source, isn’t it just a matter of a few lines of code in the computer and it’s done? The world does not make sense to me. For our purposes, though, we panicked into picking up RAI International, so we got the match in Italian, in low-definition, but on television.
I made some guacamole, and Mr. D and I settled in with our friend Margarita.
San Gigi started in goal. He had absolutely nothing to do. That’s a good thing, obviously, but I do like to see him make a wonderful save from time to time.
Giorgio Chiellini started on the left end of a three-man defensive line. He looked pretty good, but Carrera wisely pulled him out in the 71st for Luca Marrone. I get really nervous when Giorgione is injured. For me, he’s one of the core players on the squad and I want to see him healthy. That means resting him when he’s hurt and not bringing him back too early.
Speaking of which, we have an international break now, with two World Cup qualifiers. Let’s see……opponents are….. Malta aaaannnnnd Bulgaria. Yeah. The Azzurri beat those teams easily on paper. Perhaps maybe Prandelli could let Giorgio sit this one out and not risk him? *goes off to look it up* Hooray! According to the call-up sheet, Chiello gets to stay home.
And by “home,” I mean of course that he’ll be flying here and I will nurse him with soup, back rubs & a vegan plum cake.
[Dirtbunny Alarm: DING DING DING DING... – Ed.]
Barzagli started on the right side of the back line. What a bargain he was. Every single match I have a chuckle of schadenfreude for all the idiots who wrote him off so cheaply.
Next, the wingers, with Kwadwo Asamoah dominating the left side. Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but which makes Paolo De Ceglie look a little less necessary. *fret fret*
I never get tired of these shots of players photographed through the net.
On the other wing, Stephan Lichtsteiner dominated the right. During the first ten minutes of the match, he was a serious scoring threat. In the 4th minute, Pirlo set him up beautifully: Licht was onside and wide open, but he blew the shot trying to chip it over the keeper. (At this point, my notes ask “where the f… um, frak is Mirko?” May I say “frak” O Great Master?) [You may. You're fortunate I'm a huge BSG nerd – Ed.]
Licht also kept Armero from doing any real damage and he didn’t get carded. I have to ask myself, since our Swiss right-back seems so much more reasonable (relatively speaking anyway) since he left Lazio: is he really less of a rage-aholic these days or do I just think he’s less of a rage-aholic because he’s Juve’s rage-aholic? Or was my opinion of Lichtsteiner at Lazio overly tainted by my hatred of Lazio? I accept that not all of my prejudices have a basis in fact — I am Dirtbunny, after all — but it’s better I think if they do.
Poor Conte. Did everyone see him suffering up in the stands? Buffon called him “a lion in a cage”. Unless the TNAS comes to its senses, it’s going to be a long year for il Mister.
Next, the time-honored MVP midfield.
M is for Marchisio. Ya know, I only know about 20 words of Italian and they’re pretty much all food words, and I don’t always recognize the words I know in spoken Italian because of a hearing impairment. But I have to say that it’s an absolute pleasure to listen to Italian commentary for lots of reasons, and one reason is that No One Butchers The Pronunciation of Claudio’s Name!
I’ve heard English-speaking morons get stuck on “mar-cheeeeeeez-ee-oh” and it plunges me into despair.
You’re welcome, fangirlz.
V is for Vidal. I might as well confess. By about minute 23, Margarita was starting to distract me and it was getting harder to notice some of the more subtle stuff, so I have little to say about Arturo. Sorry, dear. It isn’t your fault.
P is for Pirlo. He started out a little slow and lazy, but then he got into it and did that amazing thing he does. *sigh*
By the way, if you love Pirlo’s beard, I have good news: he’s keeping it groomed and trimmed, which means it’s not just an accident born of laziness, and he’s keeping it on purpose. If you hate Pirlo’s beard, I have bad news: he’s keeping it groomed and trimmed, which means it’s not just an accident born of laziness, and he’s keeping it on purpose.
Sebastian Giovinco and Mirko Vucinic started up top and had great games. They were both subbed out in the 74th for Fabio Quagliarella and Ale Matri, who were kinda meh.
This is bad. I know that maybe 15 minutes of playing time isn’t enough for some people to find their rhythm, but Quags and Matri have got to do better or we won’t be seeing much of either of them, Especially if Bendtner’s potential shows up. By the way, Quags gave up #18 and took # 27. Hmm. BRB. So it turns out that Quags had # 27 when he was at Napoli, so I guess it’s “his” number. OK, then. Goal time.
So, minute 11: Giovinco charges right up the middle towards goal. As he gets to the 18 yard line, Danilo and Domizzi close in from the back and sides.
Mr. D: It’s a sandwich, and Giovinco is the meat.
DB & Margarita: You said “meat” heh heh.
A sandwich it was, and Brkic was thundering forward. Giovinco headed the ball away…
…but Brkic positively hammered him with his 195 lbs. of mass.
That crumpled pink rag on the left? That’s poor Seba. Mr. Valeri sent Brkic off and pointed to the spot. As is usually the case when someone gets sent off, the perp couldn’t believe it.
Claudio came over to check on his pal. The hit looked bad but no blood. Seba walked off and managed to carry on well enough.
Last week’s FailMeister Arturo Vidal stepped up and put the penalty kick nicely into the hole. Well then. That was reassuring. Let’s hope that last week’s impotence was a fluke.
Leo Bonucci charged to the corner and gave Arturo a very serious talk, of which there are no pictures, and then he broke into smiles and hugs that were more happy than homoerotic, which was odd and unexpected, but good.
Look at Marchisio! That’s not just Yay! You scored! That’s a smile of pride. He’s 26 and he’s acting like he’s the grown-up of the bunch! Capitan Futuro! Me gusta.
Pirlo isn’t quite awake yet. It’s only the 11th minute.
At about minute 16, Pinzi gave Chiello a hard knock in the shin. Giorgio stayed down for quite a while while Pinzi threw a tantrum and had to be calmed down by Bonucci, Pirlo, and Vucinic. When that was soothed over, Antonio Di Natale started pitching a fit about how long it was all taking. At minute 20, I started noticing that Mirko seemed to be nowhere. At minute 32, I discovered that my beagle likes guacamole, and my notes plead Dooooooooooooo Something!!!!
At minute 34, I noted that Vucinic (featured below) took a decent strike, and at minute 36 I decided that Giovinco can pull off a decent bit of swagger, which is not easy for a small person to do. At minute 39, Bonucci gets carded for an attempted pantsing of Di Natale.
At minute 44, someone scored. I was mightily confused for a while because the television picture clearly indicated that #9 scored the goal, yet the celebrations featured Mirko Vucinic. Vucinic is #14. Vincenzo Iaquinta is #9. WTF is going on? How can Vincenzo be in the match?
Oh. Oh. Mirko is #9 now. Vincenzo is number nothing. Oh, Vince, my dear heart, I’m so sorry.
Well, congratulations to Mirko. He had acres of space and loads of time to settle the cross and line up his shot, but the point is he made the shot. Part of being a good striker is learning how to get where the ball is going to go. You get credit for being in the right place at the right time.
And then it was half time. Normally, I fast-forward through half-time, but this was Italian TV and the images I saw speeding by were confounding. I had to stop and watch the homage to Ferragosto featuring the guy sleeping in a chaise on the beach when a group of 5-6 ordinary guys in Speedos run up and turn the chair 180 degrees, then startle the sleeper so he wakes up and runs into a rock. Speedos. Yeah. We don’t do much with Speedos around here so it’s always a bit of a jolt to see one, especially on ordinary not-particularly-buff guys (American TV tries really hard to make sure only pretty people get on TV), and — yes — one of them was at least one standard deviation above everyone else on the hairiness scale, and — yes — there was butt cleavage, and after that, there were some appalling middle-aged pop singers singing some appalling pop music and I started to get all Ugly American Smug about it, but then I had a realization.
[If by now, you still aren't horrified and WOULD indeed like to know about Dirtbunny's realization, read on... at your own peril -- Ed.]
(1) American television is also crap. Different crap, but crap. Don’t judge me by what the media multi-nationals decide to broadcast. And if that’s true, I can’t very well judge anyone else by what their media multi-nationals broadcast.
(2) The best music, the good stuff you would actually listen to, never makes it onto American TV, at least not before the big sell-out, if it comes. If the music on American TV bears no relation to the good stuff, why wouldn’t it be exactly the same in Italy? Therefore, it is unfair to assume that their scholcky music has any serious following. Whew.
There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means friendship
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small world after all.
So. The second half.
Early in the half, Giovinco takes a crap shot. Mr. D expounds: He was leaning back. Get your knee over the ball. That sounded very wise to me. Then he asked me what a pallone was and I actually knew the answer, so I got to feel very wise and then Mr. D said this: Marchisio stings the palms of the goalkeeper and Giovinco picks up the scraps.
Wha? OMG! A goal! We rewound a bit so I could see it.
Awwww. The height difference between Giovinco and Vucinic makes their manly macho man-hugs look oh-so-tender.
After that, Giovinco got another goal from about 12 yards out.
And lo, there was much rejoicing.
Time for the Mirko Vucinic Gallery of Fail™.
Most of this week’s fail was committed by Dirtbunny, and there are no photos of that.
[THANK YOU BASED GOD – Ed.]
Here we have Mirko complaining about something, which means something must not have gone as he wanted, so that’s about as close to fail as I’ve got for you.
Except for one last thing. Remember how, in 2009-10, the Zebes could not finish off a match? How they all went to sleep before the final whistle and allowed late goals to equalize or even win? And how we saw exactly none of that in 2010-11? Yeah, well it’s back. In minute 77, Barzagli blew a clearance (although I kinda thought he got pushed in the back at the end) and then the consensus seems to be that Bonucci failed to pick it up (although at the time I though it was Lichtsteiner) and… well, so much for the clean sheet.
Still a decisive win, but not a clean sheet. Gigi was not happy (and we can guess Conte even less).
★ ★ ★
Now we have an international break. Italy is away to Bulgaria on September 7, and at home (in Modena) to Malta on September 11.
Next Juventus match is away to Genoa on Sunday, September 16.
This post was powered by tequila, triple sec, and lime.