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Juventus 3 - Empoli 0: Initial reaction and random observations

Empoli FC v Juventus FC - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

In the 63rd minute, I took to the BWRAO Twitter account and mentioned how wasteful Juventus had been in front of goal pretty much all game long against Empoli on Sunday afternoon. It was hard to avoid, really. Juve probably should have had the lead, but didn’t — and they had nothing but their ineffectiveness in front of goal to thank for that.

In the 64th minute, the flood gates officially opened.

It was an Argentine-themed goal explosion midway through the second half. Paulo Dybala opened things up and his countryman, Gonzalo Higuain, brought the house down with a pair of goals within a few minutes of one another as Juve’s big second half keyed their 3-0 win over Empoli. Just like that, frustration gone and goal celebrations were prevalent. Dybala and Higuain, Juventus’ two leading men atop Max Allegri’s 3-5-2, proved to be just the kind of explosive tandem we know they can be.

So, basically, after 63 minutes of frustrating moments in front of goal, Juventus put the game away in five minutes. That’s what this Juventus team is capable of — and Empoli found out the hard way.

At first we were like....

...but then the Argentines took over and we were like...

Considering how things were looking, I didn’t expect to be using that second gif and feel as good about things as I am right now. Juventus looked a little off-kilter and out of sync following a positive start to the game. Juventus were wasting the good chances they did have, and it’s not like they were inspiring confidence when it came to their finishing in front of goal.

I guess we now know that, while it might have been against a team that will certainly be trying to not get relegated this season, this Juventus team has the chance to flip the switch when it needs to and step on a team’s throat.

The road to get to the three-goal surge might not have been the prettiest, but when they got there, boy was it fun to watch. One goal, two goal, three goal and it could have been much, much more. For as quick as Juve were to jump on Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday night, they did things a little bit differently on Saturday in Tuscany.

Still, Juventus’ last four games in all competitions since the Derby d’Italia loss to Inter have resulted in these goal totals: Four, one, four, three. That’s a grand total of 12 goals scored. And over the same period of time, it’s been four consecutive shutouts for Gigi Buffon.

But what did Saturday’s win have what the others didn’t?

Three goals within five minutes. Seriously, that’s just crazy talk when you really think about it for a few seconds. I love Argentina, and so should you.

  • It’s almost six in the morning as I type this sentence. The things I do to watch this team sometimes, man, the things I do...
  • No, seriously, it’s 5:21 in the morning as i typed this bullet point.
  • Almost — ALMOST — as bad as the lunchtime kickoff was the condition of the field at the Castellani. Not that it looked bad, because it certainly passed the eye test in terms of vibrance. But when you saw Alex Sandro stumble almost every time he tried to cut inside on the left wing, then you knew something was going on. I just hope Empoli replaces some of their divots during the international break.
  • By the way, the run and pass Sandro made on Dybala’s opener...pretty good.
  • The game started to turn when Mario Lemina entered for Sami Khedira. He did exactly what you want out of a sub when the game’s going that kind of way. He brought energy, he brought some force and he got an assist along the way, too. Not bad, kid.
  • Shhhhhhh...don’t tell anybody but Hernanes played pretty well as Juve’s regista again.
  • We’ve joked about the line of “Juventus has lost Pirlo, Tevez and Vidal in the same transfer window...” before. Today I heard a new one from my announcers: “Juventus has seen players of the ilk of Pirlo, Tevez, Vidal, Pogba and Padoin leave in recent summers...” PADOIN!
  • Juventus had eight shots on goal in the first half, not one of them went in. They had just as many shots ring off the frame of the goal as Empoli had total shots in the entire first half. That speaks to how one-sided it was for a period of time, but also how wasteful Juve were of their chances to start things out.
  • For how many chances Miralem Pjanic created with his slick passing, Khedira was pretty much the exact opposite. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sami and think he’s a great player, but man that was not a good first half on his part.
  • Marko Pjaca had three or four legit scoring chances within his first 15 minutes on the field against Empoli. He hasn’t had a ton of minutes, obviously, but he’s impressed just about every time on the field no matter what situation it may be. That first start of his has to be coming soon, you would think. I know Allegri is saying that he wants to take his time when it comes to Pjaca, but if he continues to play like this, Max has no choice other than to just let the kid loose and see what happens.
  • Higuain has six goals in his first seven Serie A games with Juventus. Decent return on that €90 million investment, don’t you think?
  • Paulo Dybala back. And it’s wonderful to see.
  • Good win. I’m going to bed now.