Footnotes of Juventus-Roma

Technically a missed opportunity and two points which escaped, but there were more good things about it than there were bad. Roma played very well for over an hour, and dominated both ball and game. Short, quick passes on the grass which always kept Juve players on the back heel, struggling to connect and get close. The only thing missing was decisiveness around the penalty area, a lot of which can be traced to Vucinic's poor game. He was ice cold throughout the game, for no apparent reason other than it being due. He's never been a perfectly consistent player, it's just Roma's and his bad luck that it came last night when having him on game could have meant a lot.

• The new, updated stile Juventus is at the same time an appropriate homage to the M.O. of years before, and an embarrassing copy. The sporting director Marotta commandeered the closest TV camera to him and played the role of the helpless victim. The penalty on Pepe? Not fair. The penalty on Chiellini mere minutes before? Oh no, you're misunderstanding him; only decisions seen as going against Juve are to be mentioned (never mind that the Pepe penalty is about as textbook as they come).

When Chiellini held a sit-in protest against the referee's decision to send him off the pitch in order to be treated for the blood pouring down his face, many seemed to find it hilarious and endearing. Those people are mad. It was pitiful seeing Chiellini try to bully the referee, even when the latter had every possible justification for his decision. And if Mexès had knocked him out as he stood above him yelling after tapping into his inner Bill the Butcher, I would have forgiven Phil. I'd probably have cheered him on, too. 

• I don't hate Alberto Aquilani. Not even a little bit. He is trying to act as professionally as he can, and then he deserves nothing less than to be treated as such; a juventino. By now he's no more protected by a past in Roma than any of their other players, great antagonists all of them. Last night, however, was a very transparent attempt by the media to play up the emotions involved, the shared history. The water shed of 2008 that will forever separate him from Totti and DDR (notice how many creative camera shots they managed to get with one of the latter and Aquilani in one frame?). He did play well in the first half, but phoned in the second half. That he was named the man of the match might as well have been decided the day he signed for Juventus, because the award holds no real value judging by things that happened in the game.


He stood out in Juventus' midfield, but was still outdone by all three of Roma's counterparts. Even Greco, of whom there apparently cannot be said too much, passed the ball more often and much better than his predecessor, to throw just one obvious example out there. (And I wouldn't even try to argue for Greco being the man of the match.) I am happy for him that he's been spared of his usual injury problems this fall, but that's it. To lament him by now would be taking nostalgia much too far, and turn a blind eye to the fact that Roma have good players even without him.

• It took me about twenty minutes to realize that Juve were playing in their away uniforms. I know Torino is said to be the team of the city, but surely this was taking things a bit too far?