The unbeaten run had to come to an end sometime and it screeched to a halt at number 49 in the most dramatic of circumstances. Juventus are not invincible, that much had become clear in recent weeks with the Champions League and their controversial victory in Catania. After 18 seconds of the Derby d’Italia it looked as if we’d be in for more weeks of people bringing up the ghost of Calciopoli as Arturo Vidal’s goal should’ve been chalked off. When Stephan Lichtsteiner inexplicably avoided a second booking, that just added to the sense this was playing straight into the hands of the conspiracy theorists.
Thankfully, Inter fought back to win fair and square in a result nobody can contest, otherwise we’d never have heard the end of it. Can you imagine the utter chaos if Juve had avoided defeat in those circumstances? I tell you, Juve fans, it’s better to have lost than suffer through that!
Even the most ardent Juventino must bow down and accept Inter were the better team on the night. Andrea Stramaccioni deserves immense credit for having the courage and the sheer gall to bring a 3-4-3 system to Turin. It was extremely risky and downright arrogant for the youngest Coach in Serie A to take such an attacking approach, but Strama confirmed comparisons with Jose Mourinho. He is arrogant and smug, but that’s what makes him so very effective. That is what gave him the guts to break down a Juve side that had won all their home games this season.
The Inter boss even brought back memories of Mou by mocking Juve’s “we won 30 on the pitch” motto and stirring up further controversy on why he considered ‘carefree tactics’ to be an insult from Beppe Marotta. Strama might not be carefree, but he is admirably unfettered by doubt.
This could well be good for Juventus, too. They have been coasting recently and relying too heavily on their aura of invincibility to intimidate opponents – not to mention riding their luck... They must remember it’s no mean feat to dominate Serie A and every point must be earned. Maybe we’ll see better performances from now on, as they have it all to prove again.
Now the season gets truly interesting. Juve have already shown they struggle to balance the Champions League with Serie A, while Napoli are far too reliant on Edinson Cavani. Milan have left themselves too much to do, Lazio and Fiorentina are still works in progress, but then again the same was said of Inter. What will the Nerazzurri do once Wesley Sneijder returns from injury? Can too many choices become a problem for Stramaccioni? Seeing him at the Juventus Stadium, I get the feeling this Coach can take anything in his stride.