Juventus were guaranteed to finish the year top of the table , but it was very important to give a signal to Roma that the Old Lady wants this scudetto bad. The 4-1 thumping of Atalanta was a very strong signal not only to Roma, but to the rest of the league. As impressive as the scoreline suggests, Juventus did struggle for a period of time before really putting the game to bed.
Juventus started the game a little subdued, letting Atalanta see more of the ball than many of the other teams in Serie A get to at the beginning of the match. However, this team now has players that can invent a goal out of thin air. And that is what Carlos Tevez did. After taking advantage of a Bonaventura deflection, Carlitos protected the ball, created space for himself and made it 1-0 Juve. After the goal, Juventus gave Atalanta more time with the ball. One of the Old Lady's summer targets, Giaccomo Bonaventura, capitalized on errors from Pogba and Marchisio and delivered a perfect cross towards Maximiliano Moralez who ended Buffon's unbeaten streak after almost 745 minutes.
Juventus suffered a bit after the goal allowing Atalanta more possession and lacked ideas going forward. It was a good to hear the referee blow the half-time whistle.
At that point, Antonio Conte did what he does best, without any significant tactical changes he brought forth a new team. A minute after the break, Paul Pogba restored Juve's advantage. But the Pogba show wasn't over. He played an impressive game from then on, distributing, controlling play, defending, and doing everything he needed to do. Juventus lead was increased in the last 15 minutes of the match courtesy of Fernando Llorente and Arturo Vidal.
Buffon 6.5 He didn't have much to do all game and could hardly be blamed for the goal. It is unfortunate he couldn't keep a clean sheet longer.
Barzagli 7.0 Rock solid as usual, helped shut down Atalanta after Martinez' goal. He was not afraid to bring the ball forward when Atalanta were sitting back.
Bonucci 7.0 He fits so well in a three-man defense that it is easy to see why Conte insists with three players at the back.
Chiellini 7.0 Same as Barzagli, except that he had an assist for Llorente's third goal.
Asamoah 6.5 I would give him a 7 but he was partly to blame for the goal. He should have communicated better with Pogba. In addition to that, he had some pretty good dribbles, specially one in which I wished he would have shot after getting past his man.
Pogba 7.5 Went from cold to hot. Was at fault for the goal and got an unnecessary yellow card in the first half. During the second half, he scored a goal and was everywhere. He was a threat going forward with one less shot on goal than Tevez and one more than Llorente. With the Frenchman on the left (or on the right) he can move forward and threaten the opposition.
Marchisio 5.5 He was also at fault on Atalanta's goal. His 90 percent pass accuracy is impressive, but upon reviewing the game, most of the passes were routine. Something is happening to Il Principino and I don't know what that is.
Vidal 7.5 Four tackles, one goal, two interceptions (only Asamoah had more with 3). Had as many accurate crosses as Lichtsteiner. He is the engine of this team.
Lichtsteiner 7.0 Having the Swiss back is such a welcome sight. He is always an option on the right. One criticism, out of 8 crosses he only hit his target twice, one of those however was the assist for Vidal's goal.
Tevez 7.5 Got the team started after only five minutes. From then on he was a constant threat in attack and our first line of defense.
Llorente 8.0 In my opinion Llorente was the man of the match. He assisted Pogba's goal that restored Juve's lead and sealed the game with a beautiful goal of his own.
Things I think I think
- At the beginning of the match, I thought Pogba was trying too many tricks, then he was one of the culprits for the Atalanta goal. To make matters worse he gets a childish yellow card. Afterwards, he scored the goal that restored Juve's lead and contributed immensely to Juve's win using some of the tricks that were driving me insane just a few minutes ago. Sometimes I am tempted to get upset at him for trying things and I forget he is so young, and that he will only get better by trying these things.
- Llorente has been such a great player, better than I even though he could be. His natural skills don't go unnoticed, but Conte and the rest of the coaching staff has done an amazing job to bring the big Spaniard up to speed on how to play in Italy.
- Tevez has more goals to date than Arturo Vidal and Mirko Vucinic last year (our capocannieri). He is well on his way to scoring 20 goals this season.
- Juventus finished the year top of the table 5 points ahead of undefeated Roma. Also,
the anti-Juve Napoli are 10 points behind. Juventus are well on their way to winning the third scudetto. Let's welcome 2014 with a good ol' trashing of Roma.