With the quality and talent Juventus has in attack, going up against any kind of team that has trouble on the defensive end of the field had to be music to the ears of Max Allegri's starting attackers. Then when you throw into account how poorly Caglari have played on defense this season — entering their game against Juventus allowing 26 goals in 15 games — it was almost like there was a perfect storm arriving just outside the gates of the Saint'Elia.
That was exactly the case for Juventus in their 3-1 win over Cagliari on Thursday night in Sardinia.
The three goal scorers — Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tévez and Fernando Llorente — all had 0-for-Decembers going in Serie A matches. Don't believe me, take a look for yourself.
- Llorente hadn't scored a goal in Serie A since Nov. 9.
- Vidal hadn't scored a goal in Serie A since Nov. 30.
- Tévez hadn't scored a goal in Serie A since Nov. 22.
Playing against a team that has such an attack-first, don't-worry-about-defense mantra like Zeman's Cagliari does, it was a chance for all three of the names above to get right and back on the right track. Guess what they did? Yeah, exactly that. Tévez's goal helped him become the first player in Serie A to hit double digits this season, while both Vidal and Llorente had to get some huge confidence boosts thanks to their respective goals.
And when it came to Juventus as a whole, that short three-game streak of nothing but draws and frustrating performances, that's over and done with. They don't have to worry about going into the holiday break not at the top of the Serie A table, they got back to their usual winning ways, and just had a solid team performance.
Against a cellar-dwelling team like Cagliari, you can't ask for much more than putting in a good shift and three points as a result of it. (Well, I mean, you could demand a 7-0 dismantling like what happened against Parma, but I won't get picky.)
Oh, and one more thing in what has been a calendar year full of record-breaking achievements for our favorite club...
3-1 win in Cagliari means Juventus end calendar year with new points record of 95— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) December 18, 2014
Impressive, pretty darn impressive. First an 102-point season, now 95 points in 2014. They're pretty good, you guys.
Random thoughts and observations
- I just want to throw out a question for everybody to discuss: Seriously, how good has Angelo Ogbonna been this season? It doesn't really matter where he has played in defense this season — on the right or left in a 3-5-2, in the middle of the four-man backline — he's just answered the bell every time out. He's easily been one of the most consistent players in the squad and truly living up to the transfer fee Juventus shelled out to Torino a year and a half ago.
- That was easily one of Arturo Vidal's best games of the season, and I won't even think twice about it. His goal to give Juve a 2-0 lead was absolutely fantastic, but it was more than just finding the back of the net that makes me say what I just did. He really looked like he was moving well out there, and was involved in a lot of the good things Juventus did. He recorded a team-high five tackles in the game, was third behind Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio in terms of touches and his passing — outside of a few mishits here and there — was back up to par. It really was a classic all-around Vidal kind of performance.
Seeing that Arturo Vidal we saw on Thursday night, I can get used to that one again.
- So, Zdenek Zeman, how did that whole "let's start four center backs to try and contain Juventus" work out for you?
- Juventus is still having trouble defending set pieces and allowing goals because of it. It's okay if you tell me you're tired of seeing this in post-game threads.
- Gianluigi Buffon made one save, and it was a pretty nice one. That is something that's continuing to be status quo these days. Too bad he didn't get the shutout, though.
- Andrea Pirlo's game in a nutshell: 123 touches, 93 percent pass completion rate and an assist to boot. That's what we're used to seeing from Mr. Pirlo, isn't it? I'd say so.
- Who's ready for the Supercoppa? I'd be cool with ending 2014 with San Gigi raising another trophy over his head as confetti gets shot out of some cannons. Sounds like a grand old time.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Cagliari
- Juventus vs. Cagliari Preview: Round 16 — It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
- Jürgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund side is wounded, but dangerous
- Champions League Draw: Juventus to face Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16
- Open UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Draw Thread