Across the board, for a lot of teams filled with internationals in the lineup, fatigue and exhaustion seemed to be the key word. Juventus were no different, needing a late Arturo Vidal (who else) goal to save them from defeat in the Derby d’Italia, which was another example of this team not trying too hard when they don’t have to.
Playing against Inter, who play in an almost identical formation to that of Juventus, was going to be difficult even without the miles traveled by Juve’s players over the last 10 days. The second half showed a tired team that found it hard to keep up with Inter’s dynamic midfield, that also helped them find the net in the 73rd minute through Mauro Icardi, who has a knack for scoring against Juventus recently.
But Vidal, more than anyone on this Juventus team, shows the mental strength they have when facing other Italian sides, and probably their superior quality when they’re not too much out of gas to press that point. It took Vidal only one minutes to bounce back from the Icardi goal to score one of his own. Juventus played badly and predictably in the second half. The opening goal from Inter seemed to push them back into action, only a bit too late to get anything more than a 1-1 draw.
Maybe the substitution of Stephan Lichtsteiner at half time hurt Juventus a bit too much. Isla just doesn’t bring the same kind of power and defensive ability to the right wing, but Conte was afraid the Swiss wing back might end up getting sent off, carrying a yellow card from the 17th minute in a very aggressive match.
In the early moments of the match the Juventus quality seemed to be a bit too much for Inter, only Carlos Tevez was having a bad day for the first time since joining his new club with Campagnaro and Ranocchia doing an excellent job in the middle. Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo should have done better with the chances they got, as it almost felt like inevitable that Juve will fold back in the second half and allow Inter to take over.
In a Champions League week, it’s impossible not to think about saving your energy. At the moment Juventus just have too much quality for almost every side in Italy, including Inter, when they’re playing at 100%, but it seems like it sometimes takes a special occasion to really push them into action when a draw doesn’t seem like that bad of a result.
Arturo Vidal remaining on the team and not leaving to Real Madrid might end up being one of the biggest things that went right for Juventus this summer. The Chilean does have his days when accuracy isn’t really part of what he brings to the pitch, but few midfielders in Europe have his finishing ability, not to mention mental attributes that make him extremely clinical and efficient when the match is on the line, something that proved to be quite valuable over the last two years.