It had all the makings of a repeat of history from just seven days ago in Verona.
Juventus got the 2-0 lead 30 minutes into the game against Chievo just like they did against Hellas Verona. Juventus were clearly the better team in the first half against Chievo just like they were against Hellas Verona. And, just like what happened against Hellas Verona, Juventus' stupidity and a lackluster start to the second half meant their opposition had a chance to get right back in the game.
There was just one difference this Sunday compared to the previous one against Hellas Verona: Juventus didn't blow their 2-0 lead. Their hand was hovering over the candle, but they never got burned.
Thanks to Fernando Llorente's 10th goal of the season, Juventus didn't let history repeat itself in Turin against Chievo. The final scoreline read 3-1 in favor of Juve, though I'm sure there were a few more nervous moments after Stephan Lichtsteiner's attempted clearance bounced off of Martin Caceres' backside and into Gigi Buffon's goal.
#Llorente: An element of doubt crept in when Chievo scored, but we immediately got the third and managed to win the game. #JuveChievo— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) February 16, 2014
That's the difference between this Sunday and last Sunday — when things looked like they were about to go to hell again, Juve weathered the storm. Were there nervous moments? Sure, without a doubt. Just rewind to some of those passes around Buffon's 18-yard box and try to not have your heart rate jump up a little bit.
Amazing how it all works, isn't it? It's a whole lot easier to get three points when you're busy not blowing the lead your worked so hard in the first half to get.
Random thoughts and observations
- Ray Hudson on Kwadwo Asamoah's goal during the highlights at halftime: "It was a cross between Arabia and a sledgehammer." I mean, the dude has a point. It was a pretty glorious goal to open the scoring. Makes you wonder what Asamoah could do if he played more of a central role from time to time...
Now sing for us, Asa! #BOH
- That was a classic kind of Claudio Marchisio game, wasn't it? Obviously the goal that ended up being the game-winner will get a lot of the play, but he worked his absolute tail off on the defensive side of the ball. How many times did we see him sprinting back after a corner to slow down a Chievo counter or make a key tackle that ended something that was developing? This was the good Marchisio showing up Sunday. No doubt about it.
- By his standards, Llorente had a relatively quiet day overall. I'm sure a lot of strikers would love to have a "quiet" game and get a goal and an assist. But much like a week ago against Hellas, Llorente just seemed a little bit off the mark. Even with that, he had a quality assist on Asamoah's opener and the goal off an Andrea Pirlo corner (!!) that slowed down Chievo's second-half charge.
- You may have noticed the whistles that accompanied Sebastian Giovinco as he was leaving the pitch while being subbed off in the second half. Bad move? Oh hell yeah. Giovinco looked every bit of a player that hadn't stepped on the field in a competitive match for almost a month. Big group, small group, whatever — you don't do that to your own players...unless it's Jonathan Zebina. Antonio Conte had every right to be upset about what went down at Juventus Stadium. That's just a manager supporting his players. I wouldn't want it any other way, to be honest.
- Conte threw down one hell of a response towards the always outspoken Fabio Capello in his post-match interview. Somebody grab the popcorn because shots have been officially fired and Conte doesn't look like he's going to slow down this barrage any time soon.
- Juventus unbeaten run update: 16 games, 43 goals scored, 9 goals allowed.
This has been a Juventus unbeaten run update.
- A check of the Serie A table tells us this important piece of information: Plus-12 over Roma. Now we root for Manolo and Friends to keep it that way.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Chievo
- Juventus vs. Chievo Preview: Round 24 — Getting back on the horse...or Flying Donkey
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- Juventus Winter Youth Mercato Update