Despite a tepid transfer campaign, a sense of optimism engulfed the Allianz Stadium ahead of the first Juventus home encounter of the season – a cautious sense, one might add, but hopeful nevertheless.

But throughout 90+ minutes of less-than-inspiring football, the initial sounds of cheer at the ground were gradually replaced by unsatisfied moans and nervous murmurs, otherwise known as the official soundtrack of the Juventus banter era.

In short, this felt like a reality check for everyone at the club. From the management and the coaching staff, to the players and even the supporters.

If this version of Juventus struggled to snatch a point out of Bologna’s claws, then it’s time to curb our enthusiasm and reset our objectives for the season.

To his credit, Max Allegri often stated that Juve’s primary goal should be reaching the Champions League next season, adjourning Scudetto talk till March.

While this is isn’t exactly what the fans would like to hear, the mildly-ambitious manager has a point, and the pitch has just proven it.

Now surely the Bianconeri have quality among their ranks, but from the backline all the way to the attack, one would struggle to pinpoint a department where we have an advantage on paper over the likes of Scudetto favorites Inter or defending champions Napoli.

This isn’t the time to overreact and claim that last night’s draw undone all the encouraging improvement displayed by the team throughout the summer. Yet, one must admit that Juventus remain a work in progress, and with no top-notch stars landing in Turin this season, a sudden boost in quality remains unlikely.

Pogba Influence

But speaking of superstars, a certain World Cup winner could offer an instant uplift. Although he’s not exactly a new signing, Paul Pogba could serve like one if he manages to overcome his seemingly never-ending physical issues.

The 30-year-old made a second-half cameo last night while Juventus were desperate for goals. And while his touch still needs some sharpening following another long hiatus, the Frenchman instigated the play that culminated in Dusan Vlahovic’s equalizer, picking up Samuel Iling-Junior with a fabulous through ball.

Thus, Pogba once again proved that he’s indeed the missing link in Allegri’s midfield. The former Man United star possesses the quality touch and instinct that suddenly brings the play forward and catches the opposition off guard.

With all due respect to hard-working individuals like Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie, none of them possess this substantial trait. Perhaps Nicolò Fagioli will one day prove his merit on this particular front, but for now, he remains far from a finished article.

So for the team’s sake, let’s hope that Pogba stays away from injuries and offer his irreplaceable contribution to the cause.

Crying Out For Gatti

This one is hard to explain, but despite being on a rapid decline over the last few years, Alex Sandro is still a mainstay in Allegri’s first lineup. But as long as he’s starting matches as a part of the back-three, the Brazilian is bound to give away goals.

Perhaps the 32-year-old wasn’t the only culprit is yesterday’s shambolic defending, as even Gleison Bremer was shaky and all over the place, but Sandro remains the ultimate weakness in this team, one that every opposition manager will try to exploit as Thiago Motta managed to do last night.

So for the love of everything black and white, let’s thrust Federico Gatti for the next one, at least the Italian has the pace to cope with fast forwards and still has major room for improvement.