As I sat there not even 10 minutes into Juventus-Cesena, it was pretty easy to figure out a few things.
- Cesena were going to throw everything humanly possible behind the ball as they tried to come away with a point.
- Because of that, the next 80 minutes were going to be relatively all Juventus possessing the ball, with an occasional Cesena counterattack thrown in there just to change things up a bit.
- Long shots. Lots of long shots.
The good thing in all of this, though?
Arturo Vidal, a man who supposedly signed with Manchester United about a couple hundred times this summer, was back in the starting lineup for the first time since he returned from international duty with a muscular injured. And, on top of that, Vidal got back to his scoring ways, scoring a brace and leading Juventus to a convincing 3-0 win over newly-promoted Cesena. First, beating Nicola Leali from the penalty spot, and then unleashing an absolute missile off his right football to beat Leali at the back post.
Another good thing?
Just how commanding Juventus were. They were in complete control from the onset. The match just had a vibe of Juventus would have to completely shoot themselves in the foot to come away with something other than three points. In a game that could be a difficult game for some teams, Juve just took care of business. Was it a little frustrating in front of goal sometimes? Well, yeah. But they got the job done — and that's the most important thing in all of this.
Random thoughts and observations
- Sebastian Giovinco attempted 12 shots. Cesena, as a team, attempted one shot.
- Said Cesena shot was saved by Gianluigi Buffon, who could have calmly knitted a sweater or two between each touch of the ball he had Wednesday night.
- Don't let the three goals fool you, Nicola Leali played very well in goal for Cesena. WhoScored has him down for 10 saves in the game, and that seems about right based on how Juve were simply dominating the possession from the opening whistle. Other than misreading a Patrice Evra cross in the second half, there weren't a lot of noticeable things the 21-year-old on-loan Leali did wrong. He nearly saved a penalty, made a handful of acrobatic saves, and was one of the few bright spots for a Cesena side that has now lost two out of its last three games.
- Simone Padoin plays, Simone Padoin gets an assist. Simple math, folks.
- Add this performance to the list of games where Claudio Marchisio argues that Juventus don't need to sign some huge name on the transfer market to be the club's new regista. The more he plays in the deep-lying role, the more he just looks the part. A few Marchisio numbers: 123 touches, 93 percent pass accuracy, and a game-high four tackles. I mean, the guy is talented to begin with, but this just seems to be growing into a perfect match.
- Angelo Ogbonna was really, really good. And it's the second game in a row where he's been really, really good. That's the kind of player Juventus envisioned when they signed him from cross-town rival Torino for a nice chunk of change last summer. Sure, Juventus didn't have to defend much with Cesena laying back so much, but they didn't miss a beat with their most in-form defender, Martín Cáceres, out injured.
- Seventy-two percent possession. SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT POSSESSION. It looked like a lot, and you just go "Wow!" when you actually see the final total. Thanks for coming, Cesena. Safe travels back home.
- Max Allegri stuck to his word and didn't fully rotate things Wednesday night, but this win was a display of just how far Juventus' squad depth has been improved compared to the last few years. Roberto Pereyra has been great, Ogbonna has been great, Giovinco was one of Juve's best players. I can go on and on about it, but I'll just leave it at this: It's nice to see the reserves come in, give the likes of Carlos Tévez and Paul Pogba a rest, and just keep the train rolling right along.
- Next Juventus home game: Roma on Oct. 5. I suspect Juventus Stadium will be a bit more crowded and raucous on the first Sunday in October than it was against Cesena on Wednesday night.
- Just as we predicted in his first couple days as Juventus manager: Max Allegri has gone 5 for 5 and has seen his defense not allow a goal to open the season. Yep, just how we drew it up.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Cesena
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- Choosing your starters wisely: A look at Juventus' squad depth