Only in Italia. Nowhere else can you get this kind of theater and a soccer match all at once. Maybe some of recent years' Clasicos in Spain come close, but no other league can perform the way Serie A does.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a pretty kind of theater. Oh no, it was quite ugly in fact. After a more cautious, testing first half, all bets came off in the second as Juventus went searching for a spark and a goal while Bologna did their best to upset the Champions both with their game and their tackling. Oh, and the rolling around on the pitch after every foul made for a very interesting 45 minutes too.
Juve did their job though, as they seem to be used to doing now. They came, they saw, they conquered. It wasn't a dominant win, but rarely have our wins been dominant this season. We're still in that emotional rollercoaster of a place where we're either waiting and praying for someone to just put the ball in the net, or being smart and clinical to get the job done and come out victorious. I have a feeling type of game will come and bite us in the ass against a quality team like Bayern, but again you just can't predict anything negative against this hard-knock Conte team that continues to play hard and professionally get the job done.
The goals, by the way, were a touch of inspiration by Mirko Vucinic. While Giovinco was the more dangerous striker of the two in the first half, Mirko was the more lethal one in the second - one great turn in the area for the first goal, then a beautiful yet almost routine-looking 1-2 with Marchisio for Juve's second.
Surrounding the goals was a lot of theater. With Bergonzi as the director of the show, players were tackling carelessly, acting incredibly, and blowing everything out of proportion with comical injury faking. And they say Serie A is boring football?
Buffon: 7.5 - Had to improvise early on in the game and tackle an on-rushing Gilardino, but even that didn't seem to faze our rock star goalkeeper. Took care of Bologna's long shots with security and added another clean sheet to his tally.
Chiellini: 7 - Peluso seems to take most of the attention away from Chiellini on the left side, which lets Giorgio just quietly do his job in defense. Never a great passer, his long ball to Giovinco in the build up to the second goal was definitely a highlight. With his off-foot too!
Bonucci: 7 - A fortuitous block on a goal-destined header, a couple great interceptions, and a lot of downtime. Sounds like a typical night for Boner, right?
Barzagli: 7.5 - Did he actually have more to do than the rest of our defense or was he just more active in general? His anticipation is something that can easily go unnoticed but luckily we get to marvel at it in more detail on this blog every week.
Peluso: 6.5 - Came out hacking like he had a personal vendetta against every Bologna player on the pitch, then calmed down a bit after he got a yellow in the first 20 minutes. Out of all our left wing-backs, I think he enjoys rushing forward the most, even more than Asamoah. He's always up there mucking about and trying different things with the strikers and midfielders. Everyone trusts him with the ball this early in his Juve career, too! If he learns to be more dangerous with it, he can create more goals for our strikers easy.
Pirlo: 7 - Tried his usual slow, hold up the ball approach early on but Bologna had too many people in midfield for that to work. Then smartly switched to playing quick passes forward or to the sides which opened up Bologna a bit and created more room for our strikers to link up. Once the game was in the bag, he calmed the tempo down and tried some long range passes to appease Matri and Quagliarella. Had a good read on the game and did well in defense too.
Vidal: 7 - When is he gonna hit a shot that doesn't kill a pigeon? It's a vicious cycle too as he tends to hit himself in the head after every high shot he takes, which I'm afraid makes him more of a loose cannon and less accurate when taking shots (just my theory). In defense he was superb as usual though, and that really bails him (and Juventus) out a lot.
Marchisio: 8 - When Marchisio is on the attack, good things happen for Juve. Did well to link up with Giovinco and Peluso on the left, assisted on Vucinic's goal, and then slotted one in himself on a pass from Mirko. We need him to play like this in the upcoming games as we have some big ones on the calendar. Time to raise your game, il Principino!
Padoin: 6.5 - He's a pretty tenacious little fellow, and played a lot better in the second half. In the first, he did have one great cross that almost set up Mirko for the tap in, but in the second half he worked harder, had more space, and did more overall.
Vucinic: 8 - Was into this game from the start, which you don't say often about him. His link up play with Giovinco wasn't the most accurate, but he was feeling it on the night and eventually brought us home with a goal and an assist. I think he's working himself into mental and game mindset for the big games that are coming up. He can smell potential success and is waking up. I like it!
Giovinco: 6.5 - His passing is really atrocious at times, he often looks rushed and inexperienced. But then he's also quick on the ball and actually looked more certain to score than Mirko for the first hour. I thought Gio had a decent game, certainly a lot better than some of his recent work. Not sure he deserves to be a starter right now though.
Conte: 7 - Juventus were matched up against an organized, streaking Bologna team that is excellent at beating good teams this year. Conte, as expected, came out prepared and his Juve defended diligently, moved the ball down the flanks with conviction, and eventually scored 2 and conceded 0. The celebrating at the end caught me off guard I must admit, he is passionate, yes, but usually he does it in a classy, non-disrespectful way. Away at Bologna (despite the thousands of Juve supporters in the stands) with the game still going was not the best time for such a furious celebration. Especially not with 9 games to go in the season. I do want a GIF of that kiss to the camera though.