The machine known as Juventus hasn't been slowed down just yet in a post-Fiorentina meltdown world. But it wasn't for Sampdoria's best efforts.
What seemed so easy for the first 45 minutes turned out to be one hell of a stressful final 45-plus minutes. Juventus' 4-2 over Sampdoria was beautiful, then stressful, then beautiful again, and then another side order of stress-related heartburn.
You know what they say about having a two-goal lead, right? Well...
Sampdoria came to attack — and attack they did. Almost to the point where they recorded just as many shots as the much-heralded Juve attack. Juventus' defense had its fair share of problems with Manolo Gabbiadini and Co., but luckily Juve were able to make the initial 2-0 lead stand the rest of the game. It certain;y wasn't as easy as the first half made it seem like it may be, that's for sure.
End result, though: Another deserved victory for Juventus, extending the club-record winning streak to 12. Maybe it was all because of Antonio Conte's hat, I don't know. We might have to investigate that one.
Juventus Serie A form this season: WWDWWWWLWWWWWWWWWWWW— Chris (@Juventini_1897) January 18, 2014
Just an FYI: That's kinda pretty. Okay, a lotta pretty. Keep doing what you're doing, Juve. I like your style.
Random thoughts and observations
- The new-look M-V-P midfield was exactly what the letters usually represent. Arturo Vidal was fantastic, Paul Pogba wasn't too shabby, either, and Claudio Marchisio was rock solid in his new role as a regista. You want to look at one of the biggest reasons why Juventus was so good in the first half, look at those three guys. Why? Because they were three of the best players on the field, that's why.
- It's hard to choose a Man of the Match between Pogba and Vidal. Each one of their goals were just pure class, and Pogba's assist to Vidal for the opener was an absolute thing of beauty. One of them just got a contract extension, and the other should get one in the very near future. Give them all the money. They are worth every freaking penny.
- If this was Claudio Marchisio's audition to play as a regista in the future, I'd say it went pretty damn well. Playing as more of a deep-lying midfielder suits his style of play quite well. He's able to do the usual dirty work, clean up the messes and then just filter it out to Vidal and the rest of the attack. It's almost like the simpler Marchisio's role is, the better he is. That looked to be the case against Sampdoria. I'm just going to go out on a limb and say this wasn't the last time we see Principino as a regista this season.
- Another guy who looked like he was auditioning for the future: Manolo Gabbiadini. I'm not hesitating when declaring that the 22-year-old striker was Samp's best player against Juve. Watching him go up against Giorgio Chiellini was one probably the best 1-on-1 battles all night. A lot of the talk about Juve's co-owned strikers this season has been regarding Domenico Berardi — and rightfully so — but Gabbiadini is having a very good season as well. And if he saw his rocket from outside the box hit the back of the net instead of the crossbar, it could have been an even more stressful night for Juventus.
- Should I mention Fernando Llorente in every preview? Two straight mentions, two straight games with at least a goal scored. And while it was a classic Llorente kind of goal again — POWER HEADER BOOM — his build-up play was really a big difference maker against Sampdoria. You can just see how much of a difference it when he's so involved in the game. Do I need to mention how much he cost to sign?
- It's pouring down rain from start to finish, but that didn't stop Gigi Buffon from rocking his customary short sleeves. And don't blame the two goals allowed on him. The saves he made today were some of the best we've seen him make all season and allowed Juve to get all three points. I'm still trying to figure out how he got that one at point-blank range. I guess he's doing pretty okay for being 35 years old.
- Juventus scored all six goals on Saturday night.
- One Juventus player who deserved a goal but didn't get one? Carlos Tevez. Seems like I've said that a decent number of times this season already, and the guy is second in Serie A with 11 goals. Another fantastic showing from Carlitos regardless of not getting on the scoresheet.
- Juventus winning streak update: 12 games, 34 goals scored, 4 goals allowed.
This has been a Juventus winning streak update.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Sampdoria
- OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: Juventus' Paolo De Ceglie joins Genoa on loan
- Juventus defenders Paolo De Ceglie, Marco Motta set to join Genoa
- Juventus vs. Sampdoria Preview: Round 20 — Cheaper by the Dozen
- Domenico Berardi and the issue of messing with his development