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Juventus 2 - Udinese 0: Initial reaction and random observations

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Dino Panato

This hasn't been the easiest of seasons for Sebastian Giovinco. And it hasn't been just because he's dealt with some injuries along the way, either. Consistent playing time has been few and far between for Juve's No. 12 compared to last season when he started 23 Serie A games — some of that having to do with his injury troubles, some of it having to do with Carlos Tévez being an absolute beast.

But with Tévez getting a much-deserved rest on Monday night, Giovinco was given a chance to show what he is capable of when he's at his best. He teamed with Fernando Llorente, coming together to form Juventus' version of the odd couple. And in the first half, they delivered the goods against Udinese — big time.

First-half goals from the little man and the big man were the difference as Juve easily disposed of Udinese at the Stadio Friuli. What might have been looked as a tricky away trip against a team that has given Antonio Conte's squad trouble in the past

That's just a thing of beauty right there. Luckily Vine just keeps replaying and replaying and replaying so you don't even have to move a finger to watch it over and over again. Not bad for your first goal since October. More of that, please.

And for a guy like Giovinco who has had to face his fair share of setbacks and had to deal with a diminished role compared to a season ago, you know that goal had to feel pretty good. He'd been showing glimpses off the bench in recent weeks and with Conte giving Giovinco a starting spot tonight, Super Seba made his manager's decision to role with the odd couple the right one.

Just a few more points and it will be party time again. Time to finish strong, fellas.

Random thoughts and observations

  • Y'all see how Antonio Conte celebrated Llorente's goal with his fellow coaches and players? He knows what's just a few points away.

  • Is Fernando Llorente officially back to being the Fernando Llorente we saw in the middle of the season? Three goals in two league games would pretty much tell you he is. Like I said in the match preview, if Llorente is getting on a goal-scoring hot streak again, it's coming at a pretty good time.

  • You know who was very good against Udinese but probably won't be talked about as much as Giovinco and Llorente because he didn't score a goal? His name is Kwadwo Asamoah. I like that guy.

  • Not exactly the Simone Scuffet-Gianluigi Buffon battle we might have been hoping for, huh? All Buffon had to do was make one save — a pretty good one from close range in the 87th minute when the game was far from being over. And on Scuffet's end, Juve didn't pepper him, but he got some practice picking the ball out of the back of the net.

  • Angelo Ogbonna wasn't spectacular against Udinese, but I'd say it was a pretty solid return to the starting lineup for him. Juve didn't come close to building the attack through Ogbonna as they do with Leonardo Bonucci, but there wasn't really a point in the game where you can turn to and say that he screwed up big time.

  • Leonardo Bonucci got carded in the first half and will miss Saturday's game against Bologna. Key piece of information here: Bonucci didn't even play against Udinese.

  • This is a Giorgio Chiellini appreciation bullet point. Combine how Asamoah played with Chiellini being his usual awesome self and Juve's left side of the defense/midfield bossed Udinese. Let's just not talk about Chiellini and his occasional runs forward. That's not really as effective as his defending.
  • Stephan Lichtsteiner left the field after he found out he was being subbed out screaming at the referee. If that's not one of the most Lichtsteiner things there is, I don't know what is.

  • An eight-point lead with five games to play? Yeah, I like the sound of that. I hope Juventus have contacted their party planners. The Scudetto No. 32 celebration is coming to a city near you shortly.