On the 40th birthday of legendary former captain Alessandro Del Piero, Juventus welcomed Parma to Juventus Stadium. Four days after a vital Champions League win and missing several players through injury, the home side continued with Massimiliano Allegri's new-look 4-3-1-2 formation.
Though initially Juventus lacked a bit of fluidity, with Parma struggling to get hold of the ball or create any kind of chances it always seemed a matter of time for the home side. Three goals in 12 first-half minutes put an end to the match as a contest but the reshuffled Juventus lineup never took its foot off the gas, with four second-half goals making for a gaudy 7-0 final score.
After the first first must-win match of the campaign against Olympiacos, the only real risk was complacency against a Parma side that has conceded goals by the hatful. A steady November rain greeted the teams on Sunday afternoon, but neither the elements nor the long injury list slowed Juventus for long. Roberto Donadoni has begun to feel the pressure as his Parma remains mired in the relegation zone, and although nobody would blame him for losing in Turin, conceding seven will certainly increase the pressure on the former Italy coach.
Parma never really troubled the newly-assembled four-man backline, which marshalled Antonio Cassano well and forced the mercurial Italian to pick up possession far away from goal and with limited support. The Juventus midfield was very fluid, with Paul Pogba and Rômulo frequently running beyond the strikers while Carlos Tévez and Roberto Pereyra were happy to come deep and help with the buildup play. Parma were thoroughly overmatched in every department, and Juventus' strikers took full advantage with Fernando Llorente, Tévez, and Álvaro Morata each grabbing a brace.
In the end the game was even more comfortable than predicted for Juventus. The midweek exertions were barely noticed, and despite treating the second half much like a training session the goals kept pouring in Antonio Mirante's net. Now with two weeks off for an international break, the Old Lady will hope to recover names like Pirlo, Vidal, and Asamoah for Lazio and the vital Champions League game away to Malmö. While a 7-0 result is remarkable in it's own right, the fact that Juventus were able to achieve such dominance with a long injury list and with a new formation provides great optimism for the season ahead.
The early stages were controlled by Juventus, with Parma resigned to hopeful counterattacks. Despite the control Juventus struggled to create good early chances, as the new-look lineup was perhaps too impatient in getting the ball forward. Lichtsteiner provided a sense of things to come when he easily beat De Ceglie and crossed for Pereyra, but the Argentine's acrobatic effort went wide of the post.
Marchisio and Tévez had early efforts from range, but Juventus had trouble getting into the box for the first twenty minutes or so, with the team often hitting long balls to Pogba along the left flank. Parma even created a chance on 23 minutes when Afriyie Acquah and Abdelkader Ghezzal found space in front of the Juventus defense, but the Algerian's shot flew well over. From the resulting goal kick, Juventus got their first. Rômulo played a ball over the top looking for Tévez that was cut out, but only as far as Paul Pogba. The French international's thunderous shot was parried straight to Llorente, who finished confidently.
Parma had perhaps their best chance of the game minutes later, as Cassano fed Stefano Mauri for a shot from the edge of the box, but Gianluigi Buffon was alert to push the ball wide of the post. It only took until the 29th minute for the second to arrive, as Parma stuggled to clear their lines effectively. Tévez' shot-cross was blocked but fell kindly for Stephan Lichtsteiner and the Swiss Express scored one of the goals of his career, a sweet outswinging strike that went off the post and in.
It only took seven more minutes for the 3-0 to arrive, with Tévez and Lichtsteiner involved again. Rômulo surged upfield and fed Tévez, who played in Lichtsteiner. The fullback had time and space to pick out a cross, which Llorente tapped home. Mirante had justifiable complaints about the position of Rômulo, but he was never going to make the save.
The second half started with another half-chance for Parma, as Pogba's pass went straight to Ghezzal who eventually fired high and wide. But soon Juventus had the ball in the net again, and it was a signature goal from Carlitos Tévez. A defensive clearance came to the Argentine well inside his own half, and he was off to the races, shrugging off Andrea Costa and gliding past Alessandro Lucarelli and Felipe before beating Mirante. It was a wonderful solo goal, and just reward for the Argentine who scored his first goal since the 3-2 victory over Roma.
It only took eight minutes for El Apache to complete his brace. Pogba again tried his luck from distance, and again the shot forced Mirante to concede a dangerous rebound. Tévez was on hand this time to make it 5-0.
With the game well in hand, Tévez and Llorente made way for youngsters Kingsley Coman and Álvaro Morata. Not to be left out, in the 76th minute the new arrivals combined for the sixth. Coman dropped deep to the left side to pick up possession and run at the defense before clipping a lovely ball over the defense for Morata to tap in.
The French youth international was creating havoc, nearly creating another by beating his man and putting a killer ball across the box, but Pogba was slow to react. But soon after the seventh goal did arrive, and it was Lichtsteiner again creating the chance. The right back won a 50/50 ball and crossed for Morata, who adjusted his body well to volley in. 7-0 is perhaps an exaggerated scoreline, but Parma's dire defending combined with a welcome return to form for the Bianconero strikeforce made it a day to remember.
Buffon: 6 Only really troubled once, the veteran netminder will be all smiles on his way to meet up with his national teammates in Coverciano.
Lichtsteiner: 8 Rarely does a fullback have this much influence on a game. The Swiss Express dominated his flank, putting in dangerous crosses for two assists and scoring a wonderful goal of his own.
Bonucci: 6 It was an easy day for the Juventus backline, who controlled the box and kept Cassano far away from goal.
Chiellini: 6 Like his partner at the back, Giorgio will have much more difficult days to come. Contributed to Tévez' first with a sliding defensive clearance that turned into an assist.
Padoin: 6 While not as influential as Lichtsteiner on the other side, Padoin showed his versatility and reliability by filling in for the injured Asamoah and Evra at left back.
Marchisio: 6.5 Always alert to cover for his teammates, Il Principino kept things ticking over in midfield and had a few shots of his own.
Romulo: 6 Another called in to deputize, the Brazilian ran all day. Often sitting next to Marchisio in deeper midfield, the former Verona and Fiorentina utility man did everything asked of him.
Pogba: 6 Contributed to two goals with powerful strikes from outside the box, but was lucky not to be punished for a sloppy giveaway early in the second half.
Pereyra: 6 The Argentine played behind the strikers, but was often seen pulling wide. His movement was more influential than his technique, but the strikers ahead more than made up for it.
Llorente: 7.5 Finally off the mark in Serie A, the Basque striker took his season tally to 3 with two well-taken poacher's goals.
Tévez: 8 While in the first half he looked a tad desperate, in the second everything came off for the man from Fuerte Apache. Always available for his teammates, the returning Argentine international showed he can score them all, whether running from his own half or reacting quickest to a loose ball in the box.
Coman: 6.5 The young Frenchman picked up where Tévez left off, terrifying the Parma defense with his pace and trickery. Played a lovely pass over the top for Morata's first.
Morata: 7 Newly called up for Spain, the striker found plenty of space between Parma's back three and made it pay with two goals.
Mattiello: N/A Brought on for Marchisio with 10 minutes to go, the youngster filled in at left back bringing Padoin into midfield.
Allegri: 7 Everything fell into place for Juventus today, and Allegri deserves credit for getting such a resounding performance out of a changed side. His switch to a back four has coincided with two wins in a row, and while there will be much more demanding opponents than Parma, today Allegri will live up to his name.
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