On Friday, we woke up to this quote from Francesco Totti.
"On an individual basis, one against one, we are better than Juve, but they are better as a team. The difference is that they have known each other for a while, and they've won which helps you to win."
Source: Football Italia
On Sunday, we found out who the better team really was.
The game that could have potentially kicked the Scudetto race into overdrive heading into the second half of the season only confirmed who the best bunch in Italy is. It's not Roma, it's Juventus. That's not breaking news — especially after Sunday's showdown. Goals from Arturo Vidal, Leonardo Bonucci and a penalty from Mirko Vucinic did the job in what was a fiery atmosphere at Juventus Stadium.
It wasn't quite a Stephan Lichtsteiner special, but it'll do just fine.
In short: New year, same old Juventus under Antonio Conte. The big game in Serie A came his team's way, and they delivered the goods. A 10-game winning streak — with 26 goals scored and one goal allowed over that span — and plus-8 in the standings. I'll take that every day of the week.
Buffon: We deserve to be here at this point of the season and have displayed we know how to respond positively to defeats. #JuveRoma— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) January 5, 2014
Random thoughts and observations
- With David Trezeguet in the house at Juventus Stadium, Vidal opened the scoring in the 17th minute. I'm not saying, but I'm just saying. It was a sign from the heavens above.
- I hit on it in the match preview, and it deserves to be mentioned again: The tactical battle between the two managers, Antonio Conte and Rudi Garcia, was going to be a damn interesting one to watch. And as the second half went on, you could see just how much Conte had won the matchup against his counterpart on the sidelines. We've become so accustomed to seeing Juve press high and use their energy against teams, but it was completely different against Roma. Conte had his players sit back, absorb the pressure, and then punish Roma when the opportunity was there. It worked. Oh man did it work.
Bonucci: Normally we play high up the pitch and with plenty of aggression, but Conte did well to drop our line against a dangerous Roma.— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) January 5, 2014
- Roma allowed seven goals through the first 17 games of the season. On Sunday, they allowed three. Sorry 'bout that.
- And with the 3-0 scoreline on Sunday, Juventus now has the best goal differential — plus-31 — in Serie A. Remember earlier in the season when the defense was playing like a bunch of idiots and giving up stupid goals all over the place? Yeah, me, too. But I like this defense a whooooole lot better than that one.
- Arturo Vidal's night: Game-winning goal, seven tackles, 92 percent pass success. Machine.
- Speaking of that Vidal goal, how beautiful was the build-up and assist from Carlos Tevez? Carlitos drew the defense to him, then dished it off to Vidal, who slotted it home at the near post. It was a fantastic part of Tevez's great game before he had to unfortunately come off injured in the second half. Let's just hope that the smile he was sporting as the clock was ticking down in the second half meant that nothing is seriously wrong with Juve's No. 10.
- In case you were worried about how Andrea Pirlo would play in his first game back from injury, I think his performance spoke for itself. The Beard is back, and dropping dimes all over the place. Leo Bonucci thanks you, Andrea. Well, we all do, actually.
- Cool red card, Daniele De Rossi. Maybe that tattoo on your leg is even that much more appropriate now.
- Just in case you forgot: Ten-game winning streak and plus-8 advantage for Juventus.