Juventus 1:0 Palermo - CAMPIONI D'ITALIA SIAMO NOI!

Tullio M. Puglia

Needing just a point, Juventus takes all three against the Sicilians to ensure Scudetto celebrations wait not a second longer!

POST-GAME REFLECTION

Have you settled down from the second-scudetto-in-a-row-winning euphoria yet? Yeah, me neither. Hence why, with possibly the least objectivity I've had all season long, I shall attempt to review the game that was the final piece of the puzzle for Conte and his warriors to bring home the second Scudetto in as many years.

If we step back and look at the scoreline, performance, and stats of the 1-0 victory over Palermo, we can draw quite the analogy for Juventus' season overall. Juve dominated proceedings, struggled to score, but then found a way to overcome that challenge just enough to get the three points and the victory. The defense was as solid as ever, possession was again in our favor, real chances were few yet the victory was deserved.

Continuing the trend of Juve's consistency in Serie A this season, Conte fielded the now standard 11 in a 3-5-1-1 formation that again saw Marchisio play behind Vucinic in attack. Palermo, as usual, rested all its hopes on Miccoli up front while recently-in-form Ilicic was also looking to spoil Buffon's and Juve's parade with a goal or two. None of that happened, however. Juventus had most of the possession, chances, and the only goal on the day courtesy of a Vidal penalty kick. It felt like a formality game, really, but it was important for Juve to get that victory and ensure the Scudetto with 3 games to go. And that's exactly what our Bianconeri did in the end.

LE PAGELLE

Buffon: 7 - Another boring game for Gigi with Miccoli's shot hitting the post the only real scare throughout the game. Deserved his clean sheet after all.

Barzagli: 7 - As consistent as ever, Andrea held his own in defense as is usually the case. I am almost sick of writing this every week, though his and the rest of our defense's consistency is why we've dominated Serie A this season.

Bonucci: 7 - Probably deserves a 6.5 for some careless passes he made that could've cost us if this was the lethal counter attacking Palermo side of old, but this is the Scudetto-winning game; let's be a bit more generous, eh?

Chiellini: 7.5 - Stood out from the rest of our central defenders with how determined he was to contribute in attack. King Giorgio stays on his throne with yet another Scudetto under his belt. A true Juve legend by now.

Lichtsteiner: 7 - Worked hard, played hard, contributed little but meant a lot. That should be his middle name, really.

Pirlo: 6.5 - I may be harsh on Andrea here, but he's the one that has set a higher standard for himself. Started the game quite energetically, then lost steam as the minutes passed. I can't imagine he's terribly motivated playing such meaningless games, and nor can I blame him.

Pogba: 7 - If you don't take the red card into consideration and Vidal's penalty conversion, Pogba is man of the match - easily. But those are two decently sized ifs. Performance-wise, he was once again impressive for his age and was really up for the game. Made some great passes and had some key interceptions. His passion got the best of him in the end and unfortunately, as he was sent off for spitting at Aronica and now banned for the next 3 games. As he grows, matures, and learns from Conte, he can truly become the cornerstone of Juve's future success. Can't wait to see that take shape over the next couple years.

Vidal: 7.5 - The dominant force in midfield not just on Sunday, but all season long. Took his penalty well, battled hard, took shots, spread the field well with his passing, and recovered balls with the determination only Arturo can exhibit. Man of match, and player of the season. Objections?

Asamoah: 7 - Still a bit too predictable on that left flank, mostly because every time he is passed the ball it feels like the rest of our players just say "go to work Kwado" and let him do his one on one thing. Success rate can't be too high in those situations. Regardless, Asamoah looked a lot better on Sunday against Palermo than he has recently and it looks like he is creeping back to his early season form. Had some good crosses as well!

Marchisio: 6 - He doesn't have the chops to play behind a striker. He just doesn't. Sorry, it's the truth. Put him in midfield where he can do his job defensively, which then gets him motivated to make forward runs and during which he is an extra man (because he comes from midfield). When he's playing behind the lone striker, he's more easily closed down and a lot more ineffective.

Vucinic: 6.5 - It was neither the brilliant nor the super lazy Mirko that showed up on Sunday. Vucinic actually tried pretty hard to get himself into position to score, and had a couple decent looks with which he should've done a lot better.

Subs:

Padoin: sv

Quagliarella: sv (che bomba in true Quagliarella style during his short spurt on the field! Really wish it went in)

Peluso: sv

Coach:

Conte: 7 - Predictable selection and formation, yet unstoppable play and domination. That has been the story of Conte and his Juventus this season for the most part. Seeing him thrown in that ice water during the celebrations gives me that sheepishly huge ear-to-ear grin every time.

SIAMO NOI, SIAMO NOI, CAMPIONI D'ITALIA SIAMO NOI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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