There seems to be a common thread in Juventus' wins as of late: They aren't pretty, they aren't anything close to being in dominant fashion, they probably aren't 90-plus minutes worth of game film that Antonio Conte would keep in the vault and show his grand children in 25 years. (Or maybe he would, we're talking about Antonio Conte after all...)
There's also one common occurrence in all of this: Despite all the not-so-hot play of late, Juventus is still coming away with three points basically every time.
That was the case yet again on Sunday night in Sicily, as Carlos Tevez's 59th-minute strike was the difference in a 1-0 win over cellar-dwelling Catania. Juventus had to do exactly what they've done the past couple of weeks — grind out a victory instead of blowing right past their opponent like it was when into the first meeting between the two teams.
There were fouls, and more fouls, and even more fouls. To be exact, 37 fouls between the two teams. What there wasn't, though, was plenty of action directed towards either goalkeeper. Marco Storari, who got the start in goal as Conte gave Gigi Buffon a day off, didn't have to make an official save.
But what Juve had to do was to fight through yet another game where they weren't anything close to their best. And that's pretty much what they did. Even with all the fouls and stoppages. Hey, if the end result is being close to a third straight title, it can't be all bad, right? I'd like to imagine that the vibe would be a little different if Juve, say, didn't get a goal from Tevez and had to go home with one point instead of three.
The thing is, though, it was yet another Juventus win. So they've got that going for them, which is nice.
Random thoughts and observations
- Simone Padoin starts, Juventus wins. Suck it, haters. (Kidding.)
- I know I've said it the last few post-game threads, but it deserves repeating: Martin Caceres is awesome and deserves all the praise he is receiving. When he wasn't making crucial tackles, the soon-to-be 27-year-old was throwing himself at the ball to block a shot. It's a pretty nice luxury to have somebody as good as Caceres as a reserve just waiting for the chance. And with all the injuries right now, Caceres is getting exactly that — and taking advantage of it.
Fun fact: all 3 Juve CBs were perfect on clearances today.— David Tenenbaum (@DTenenbaum) March 23, 2014
- Somebody who had the complete opposite game of Caceres? Dani Osvaldo. Outside of his little flick to Tevez on the game's lone goal, it was a match where Osvaldo really, really struggled. The biggest, of course, was his two big misses right in front of goal. Just a complete night to forget for Osvaldo. Not really much more to say about that.
Let's just hope for Osvaldo's sake that he plays the way he did when he first arrived, not the way he has the past couple of outings.
- I feel safe in saying that this was the first game I've seen before managers sent off. And not just sent to the stands, but seeing the ref do so in one quick moment.
- It seems like forever — even though it hasn't actually been that way — since Juventus had a comfortable lead in the second half of a game. In actuality, it's been about three weeks since Juve scored more than one goal in a game. It'd be nice if they could, you know, go into the final 20 or 30 minutes of a game without having to either score a late winner or hang on to the lead. Just a suggestion.
- Did anybody hear anything about some clasico thing? Yeah, I dunno, either. Who needs Real Madrid-Barcelona scoring goals galore when Juventus and Catania are fouling each other like crazy in a game that saw all of two shots on target!
- Since I haven't done it in a few games, here's your Juventus unbeaten run update: 21 straight games, 50 goals scored, 9 goals allowed.
This has been a Juventus unbeaten run update.
- Back to plus-14 atop the table. Sorry bout that, Roma. Next up: Parma on Wednesday night in Turin. That should be fun.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Catania
- Juventus vs. Catania Preview: Round 29 — Starting the final countdown
- Europa League Draw: Juventus gets French side Lyon in the quaterfinals
- UEFA Europa League: Juventus vs. Fiorentina, Leg 2, full match coverage
- Juventus 1 (2) - Fiorentina 0 (1): Moment of Pirlo magic seals quarterfinal berth for Juve