Three days ago, Arturo Vidal found himself as a makeshift central defender in Juventus' 2-0 win over Livorno. It didn't phase him one bit, showing us once again why he's just showing flippin' awesome. On Wednesday night in Turin, Vidal was the one leading the charge for Juventus in a must-win situation on the European stage.
Top player? Yeah, he's one hell of a top player.
Vidal's hat trick led the way as Juventus did exactly what they needed to do against FC Copenhagen — get all three points. Combine that with Real Madrid beating Galatasaray 4-1 in Spain, and Juve jumped from the bottom of Group B into the spot they want to be a couple weeks from now, one that sees them advance to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
Vidal: It's the first hat-trick of my career and I'm taking the ball home with me! #JuveCopenhagen #UCL— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) November 27, 2013
(How great is that quote, by the way? Arturo is just the best.)
Juventus entered knowing they needed to win to stay alive in the Champions League. There were no crazy stipulations to try and figure out. You win, you stay alive. You lose, you're battling for a spot in the Europa League. But with Vidal putting penalties and Paul Pogba crosses away like an absolute boss, the only stressful time was when Juventus' defense brain farted for a second and allowed Copenhagen to level the score at 1-1 in the second half.
Three Vidal goals, three points, one more game left to lock up qualification to the knockout round.
3 - Prior to Arturo Vidal, the last Juventus player able to score a hat-trick in a #UCL game was Filippo Inzaghi (September 2000). Warrior.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 27, 2013
Juventus going on the road for their final game with everything to play for? The more things change, the more they stay the same. Felipe Melo, we're coming for you, my friend.
Random thoughts and observations
- Pay Arturo Vidal all the money. I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating.
- There were no goals for Fernando Llorente on Wednesday night. He only had one shot total against Copenhagen, ya know. But this next sentence is also true: Llorente was one of Juventus' best players on the night. He absolutely battled all game — exemplified by his winning the penalty that led to Vidal's second goal. He just continues to build on each performance. That's what you want to see, and he's delivering even when he isn't finding the back of the net.
- It had to be Olof Mellberg scoring Copenhagen's goal, didn't it? Yeah, thought so.
- Andrea Pirlo: 94 touches, 85 percent pass success rate. If Vidal was leading the charge, Pirlo was driving the bus. Some of his passes were ones you only see a small number of players even try and fewer be successful with. For Pirlo, though, he makes them with the upmost of ease. A vintage kind of performance from a vintage kind of player.
Pirlo is making the Old Lady sing tonight.— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) November 27, 2013
- Martin Caceres is such a luxury to have on this roster. And it's performances like he had against Copenhagen — seven tackles, more than twice as many as anybody on the opposing team — that makes me appreciate him even that much more. Some might have had negative thoughts pop into their head when they saw Andrea Barzagli wasn't called up due to injury. Not with Caceres around. Juve's defense didn't miss a beat.
And bonus points for the celebration with Vidal on the Chilean's third and final goal. It's like their pretty good buddies or something like that...
- Gigi Buffon had to make a save. Compared to what he did against Livorno on Sunday — hint hint: absolutely nothing — he was busy as hell.
- Who's ready for some Turkey?