Juventus 1 - Lazio 1: Initial reaction and random observations

Paolo Bruno

I could harp on the red card that saw Gigi Buffon hit the showers just 20 minutes after the opening whistle. But I won't do that. Instead of making it all about one guy, I will take a positive spin on it and make it about the team as a whole.

Why?

Because after Juventus were forced to play 70 minutes down a man with Buffon being sent off, they played better than they did when they were at full strength. Some teams might have folded. Not Juventus. Not under a manager like Antonio Conte.

Much like their grinta-full manager, Juventus didn't let the sending off of Buffon get to them. Instead, they pushed forward, seemingly dictating the pace of the match despite having just 10 men on the field. It was a battle, and Juve was more than happy to go in full force. Sounds like something Conte would endorse, doesn't it? I love that guy. He's a pretty good manager, too.

Would it have been nice to keep the winning streak going? Absolutely. But when you're playing with 10 men at a place like the Olimpico where it is never easy to win, a draw isn't the worst thing to happen.

Word, son. (I liked you with the captain's armband by the way, Claudio. Just thought you should know.)

Random thoughts and observations

  • Time to play Ask the (former) Goalkeeper: Do I think Buffon should have been sent off? I don't know, and that's the honest truth. It's really a call that could have gone either way. And in this case, the referee decided that Buffon did enough to be shown a straight red. Maybe Buffon could have played it a bit differently and come off his line a little sooner. But the way the play developed, there wasn't a lot he could have done. He was going to crash into Miroslav Klose no matter what happened and, unfortunately for Juve, it ended up going the way it did.

  • Luckily for Juventus, they are able to turn to a guy like Marco Storari whenever something happens to Buffon. His point-blank save on Miroslav Klose's header was simply fantastic and obviously kept the score level at 1-1. That's just the thing about being a backup goalkeeper — you never know when your number is going to be called. And when his team needed him to come up big, Storari delivered big time.

  • Fernando Llorente is on a complete roll right now, you guys. Conte preached patience when it came to the big Spaniards involvement and form and we're really starting to see the results of Llorente's hard work to get back in form. He's becoming even more of a focal point of the team than he was when we went into the Christmas vacation. Now, it's almost like every Juve scoring chance is somehow going through Llorente. You wanted a top-notch prima punta, you're getting one. And it was for free, too!
    I guess I'll have to mention him again next weekend in the Inter preview. The way he's going right now, I don't really mind one bit. Keep doing what you're doing, 'Nando.

  • Juventus, all things considered with the man disadvantage, had a 57-43 percent advantage in terms of possession. Don't tell Conte to take the foot off the gas just because he doesn't have 11 players on the field.

  • I thought Claudio Marchisio had another solid game in the center of the park. Obviously his role changed a bit when Juve went down to 10 men, but he really did do a tun of running against Lazio. If he continues to be deployed as a regista in the future, I won't be opposed to it. Certainly seems like he's taking a liking to his new position in the midfield.

  • Speaking of guys who worked their tail off, Carlos Tevez is an absolute warrior. How can you not love the guy? He just battles and battles and battles some more.

  • See what happens when Stephan Lichtsteiner sends in quality crosses? Goals happen. That was a thing of beauty and wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the Swiss Express' effort to get the cross off.

  • Juventus unbeaten streak update: 13 games, 35 goals scored, 5 goals allowed.

    This has been a Juventus unbeaten streak update.

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