Juventus might still be struggling in Serie A to open the season, but they've got this Champions League thing figured out. And when you've got a striker like Álvaro Morata who continues to deliver on the European stage, things look a little brighter than they do when Juve faces non-Italian competition this season.
Hey, it could be worse. RIGHT, GUYS?
Morata's goal was ultimately the difference maker once again in Europe, Simone Zaza got the icing on the cake with the clock winding down and Juventus became the only club with six points out of two games in Group D with their 2-0 win over Sevilla on Wednesday in Turin. It was, for as much as Juve have struggled domestically, the second straight signature win in the Champions League.
Tonight sees @AlvaroMorata equal @delpieroale's record of scoring in five consecutive @ChampionsLeague games. #UCL pic.twitter.com/nRYKRWJAtD— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 30, 2015
When you're doing things that Del Piero used to do in a Juventus jersey, you know you're doing something right.
That's the kind of tonic Juve needed. And, just like we said after the Manchester City game, that's the kind of performance we hope Juve can build off of going forward into the weekend and onward.
And it's easy to see why.
Juventus not only had the edge in possession, but they dictated a game that they desperately needed to get a positive result in. Juve had the most amount of chances, and it wasn't even close when the final whistle blew. In case you don't believe me, well, then here's the evidence right in front of you:
- Juventus: 20
- Sevilla: 1
That's the kind of dominance we've come to get used to with this team in previous seasons. And as much as I don't want to compare this season's team to last season, it's a pretty easy recipe to follow. You defend well, you take advantage of a couple of your best scoring chances and a win is very much in the cards.
That's exactly what happened.
Sometimes the scoreline isn't indicative of how the game went. This isn't one of those cases. It was Juventus playing arguably it's best game of the season to date. You may say, "Well, they don't have a lot of good ones to boast about!" and that's true. But this was as complete of a performance as we've seen from Max Allegri's squad this season. Allegri got the tactics right on the money, the players went out and executed it to perfection, they shut Sevilla down and got the three points.
#EuroJuve is alive and well. That's something good to talk about.
.@OfficialAllegri: "Delighted with the lads tonight. They showed desire to hunt for a second even after we had taken the lead." #UCL— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 30, 2015
Top of the group, man. Feels good, feels real good.
Random thoughts and observations
- I know Sevilla had players out, but I'm surprised by how little they offered going forward. Gigi Buffon had to make one save, and it was easily one of the easiest saves he's had to make this season. That's it.
- Even at 1-0 things looked pretty much on lock from a Juventus point of view. Maybe that's because Juve were defending as well as they have all season long. Funny how having a super defense just seems to put so many other things at ease. Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were all great against Sevilla. That's been the backbone of Juventus in the past, and it still is.
- Along the same lines as the team as a whole, we didn't have much of any kind of idea what to expect from Sami Khedira in his Juventus debut. And much like the team as a whole after the 2-0 win over Sevilla, we can firmly say that Khedira's Juventus debut was a resounding success. He proved to be exactly what the Juventus midfield needed. He brought smarts and calmness to the center of the park.
- Juan Cuadrado was quite good once again. This isn't your Chelsea version of Cuadrado, folks. I'm perfectly happy to keep reminding people of that.
- Make that the second straight Champions League game where Paul Pogba was really, really good. For how talented he is and how many tricks he has, it's amazing how good he can be when he simplifies things on the field. With Khedira now back and Claudio Marchisio returning soon after the international break is over, this is the best possible thing to happen to Pogba this season. You get Pogba and Khedira playing like they did against Sevilla and add Marchisio into the fold, I love the sound of that.
- Ciro Immobile was the Juve fans' punching bag the second he stepped onto the field. Knowing what he's said about the club he was a primavera star at, that's not necessarily the worst thing in the world. You say stupid stuff, you gotta expect some kind of reminder about it. And that's exactly what happened.
- Paulo Dybala's work on the ball on Zaza's goal was impressive for the simple reason that he shed two defenders in the 86th minute of a game where he ran his tail off, but also the fact that he had the strength to do so. We know that Dybala has the talent to become a truly special player, and the more he shows us, the more he will grow into this team. I can't wait to see the kid's development in bianconero.
- Notice who was Juventus' highest-ranked player when it came to ground covered in that link above? Hernanes. Didn't expect that, did you? The one mystery in Allegri's pre-match press conference lineup announcement certainly came through with a very good game in the middle of Pogba and Hernanes.