For nearly 77 minutes, Juventus' game was on point except for one thing — how they were playing in the final third. Almost everything they did was done well beforehand, then they got around the 18-yard box and it suddenly like they were on a different page. That's not something we had seen much of during Juve's 10-game Serie A winning streak.
Then, just when it looked like a couple of points might be dropped in frustrating fashion, it all clicked.
From one of the field to the other in 13 seconds Juventus went. And the result was something we've seen so many times over the past three or four months — Paulo Dybala racing to a corner of the field to celebrate a goal he just scored. It erased all of the previous difficulty in the final third from the previous 77 or so minutes. Just like that, Juventus went from 'attack, attack, attack' to defending a lead with everything they had.
I guess this sentence that I typed a minute or two before Dybala scored his goal isn't exactly applicable anymore.
Now we have to refer to it as an "11-game unbeaten streak" instead of "an 11-game winning streak." That just doesn't have the same kind of ring to it.
We can thank Dybala for that. But think about what went into the goal, too. The tackle Patrice Evra made to win the ball back was one of the most memorable things I will take out of this game. The forward runs by both Paul Pogba and Sami Khedira were crucial. Pogba's Steve Nash-like no-look pass to Dybala for the assist will have a million views on Vine come tomorrow morning.
It was just a beautiful team goal at the moment Juventus needed it.
The winning streak is still there. It was stressful — probably because Juve's finishing was lacking more than Roma doing anything of real danger in front of goal. But Juventus have now gotten a little bit of payback — or as was the case on Sunday, a lot of it — against the team two clubs that beat them to open the 2015-16 season. Juve looked in disarray back then. They don't now.
And thanks to their 22-year-old boy wonder from Argentina who looks like he should still be a freshman in high school, the wins just keep on coming. The times are good right now, and let's hope they only continue to be that way.
.@OfficialAllegri: "Certain games require a touch of class to break the deadlock. It wasn’t an easy match for us tonight." #JuveRoma— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) January 24, 2016
Amen to that, Max. Amen to that.
Random thoughts and observations
- W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W. That's pretty.
- Roma had one shot on goal. When you play for a draw, you ain't gonna attack that much. And Roma certainly didn't even come close to attacking all that much.
- Paulo Dybala with Palermo last season: 13 goals, 10 assists.
Paulo Dybala with Juventus this season (Serie A only): 12 goals, 7 assists.
He probably won't play in all of the remaining 17 league games this season if Juve continue to compete on multiple fronts entering March and April, but Dybala is on pace to destroy the numbers he put up last season. And they said last season was the breakout year for Dybala. So what does it make this one?
- I said it on Twitter toward the very end of the first half, but I'll say it here, too: Dybala has reached the point where you just sit up in your seat and pay attention just a little bit more than you were whenever he's on the ball around the penalty area. It's truly remarkable what he's doing when you consider his age, this being his first season at Juventus and all the expectations that were put on his little shoulders when he first signed with the club over the summer. He's lived up to those, and surpassed them at this point. He's a truly special player who I hope will be around for a long, long time to come.
- Dybala is such a gosh darn hit in Turin he now has middle-aged women dabbing.
Patrice Evra was an absolute monster in the second half. He also nearly killed Wojciech Szczesny with that close-range shot a few minutes before Dybala scored the eventual game-winner.
Claudio Marchisio against Roma: Five tackles, four interceptions, 95 percent pass completion.
The guy is pretty good, you know. Just thought I would throw that out there.
- How the hell was Daniele De Rossi not sent off before full time was called for? I mean, I know I'll sound like a total Juventus homer here, but come on, man.
- Pogba's game was pretty meh overall, but I am gonna go ahead and say that assist to Dybala makes up for it. Thus is the beauty of a skill set like Pogba's, right?
- Gigi Buffon made one save, it was an easy one that was right at him. I think he expended more energy celebrating Dybala's goal than stopping Roma shots on Sunday, but that's just me.
- This season is turning out to be pretty fun. I wasn't sure I'd be typing that they things were going during the first few games in the month of October.