Be honest, who had the "Here we go again..." thoughts when Napoli made it 1-1 on Miguel Britos' goal? You can be honest, we're all friends here. You wouldn't be the only one to have thought it. I know that I for one was having flashbacks to Tuesday's Derby d'Italia once Juventus took a 1-0 lead.
You know what, though?
Unlike five days ago against Inter, Juventus actually had a response.
It took all of five minutes for Juventus to get the lead they just coughed up back in their favor. And thanks to Martin Caceres — yes, a game-winning goal from a defender — Juve were able to hold off Napoli and dispose of their demons at the Stadio San Paolo. The 3-1 win was Juventus' first win on Napoli's home ground since 2000. That was a long time ago, ladies and gentlemen.
.@OfficialAllegri: "Tonight we had to win by digging deep and it's important for us to have come through this test." #NapoliJuve— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) January 11, 2015
By the overall grade of the test, Juventus probably got a passing grade — barely. They didn't play well. They looked susceptible whenever Napoli broke out on a counterattack. Juve didn't create much offensively, recording just eight shots in total, which (without looking it up) has to be one of their fewest totals this season.
And when you consider what happened the last time Juventus had a 1-0 lead, I'll take that kind of response every day of the week.
Cliche as it might sound, but Juventus just got the job done. They weren't even close to their best, but they found a way. Sometimes in games away from home, you just need that to happen.
They did it. And three points will be coming back to Turin with them because of it.
.@gianluigibuffon: "In a crucial game of the season we managed to come away with three points that are worth their weight in gold."— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) January 11, 2015
Random thoughts and observations
- Paul Pogba continues to prove he is not human. WATCH IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
- Max Allegri on the refereeing decisions: "When they go against us, everyone is happy, but when they go in our favour it's controversy." (Via Football Italia)
I'd say that's pretty much hitting the nail on the head.
- The only thing I've been able to write about Martin Cáceres for the last three months has been how he was injured and not playing in games. Today, El Pelado made his return. Obviously his goal was the difference in the game, but his defending was exactly like what we saw before he was injured against Roma back in October. Just look at how he (re)injured his shoulder — throwing his body around with reckless abandon to get the ball cleared out of Juventus' defensive third.
That's Martin Cáceres in a nutshell. I sure hope that his shoulder isn't hurt with any kind of serious manner. I want to write nice things about him all the time again.
- Seriously, Paul Pogba's goal. He sure has a thing for scoring goals against Napoli, huh?
- Manolo Gabbiadini didn't score a goal against Juventus. I'm telling the truth. This actually happened. Maybe all Juve needed to do was to not own any of his contract for that trend to end.
- Giorgio Chiellini's head was still gushing blood by the time the final whistle blew. His head needing to get wrapped because of a cut in a big-time game is more of a tradition than Gabbiadini finding the back of the net against Juventus.
- It's the 86th minute, Juventus just had a counterattack shutdown. Claudio Marchisio, who was involved in the same counterattack, busts his tail and gets a tackle at midfield. That's the beauty of Marchisio's work rate. Those are some of the things he does that are just under-appreciated by some and loved by others.
- Arturo Vidal with another Man of the Man-like performance, I'd say. It looks like the holiday break came at the perfect time for him and now we're starting to see him work his way out of this late-2014/injury-related funk he found himself in to begin the season.
- Álvaro Morata's assist on Vidal's goal in one word — beautiful. It was perfectly placed, and pretty fitting that Juve put the game away in the same kind of style as Napoli tried to beat them. Plus counterattacking goals are just pretty to watch. Well, Juventus ones, that is.
- He mad. Oh he soooooo mad.
- The Serie A lead is back to plus-3 over Roma. That's more like it.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. Napoli
- Juventus vs. Napoli Preview: Round 18 — So we meet again, old friend
- Know your enemy: Five questions with SB Nation's Napoli blog The Siren's Song
- Report: Galatasaray continue to stand firm on Wesley Sneijder's €20 million buyout clause
- Juventus miss out on Xherdan Shaqiri as the hunt for a trequartista continues