For six months we waited for this day. Six long months of wondering just when Claudio Marchisio would make his first appearance in a game since having major knee surgery on his torn ACL that he suffered back in April. He’s been called up, but not playing in games, basically the ultimate tease when it comes to seeing Marchisio on the field again.
Against Sampdoria, the end was over. Marchisio was announced as a starter in Juventus’ lineup over the loudspeaker once more. And with all of that being said, you just had a hunch that they weren’t going to lose it, too.
They started out exactly how you wanted them to start, too.
Goals from Mario Mandzukic and Giorgio Chiellini within the first 10 minutes helped Juventus storm out to a 2-0 lead over Sampdoria at the Juventus Stadium on Wednesday night. There were some nervy moments when Samp cut the lead in half at 2-1 midway through the second half, but thanks to a goal from Miralem Pjanic and Chiellini’s second, all those fears of Juve losing their lead were squashed as they went on to capture the 4-1 win over Marco Giampaolo’s struggling side.
That’s how it should be done against a team that is hovering around the relegation zone. And it was the perfect way to ring in Marchisio’s return.
The best part of it all? Marchisio looked pretty good out there, too.
(“Ah, but how did he play?” somebody screams from the back of the room.)
Marchisio holding things down in the center of the Juventus midfield just seemed to bring balance. You look at when things were going well for Juve — mostly before they took their foot off the gas late in the first half — and Marchisio was involved in a lot of it. As a great man on Twitter said, Marchisio was putting on a positioning clinic, which isn’t earth-shattering news considering how tactically aware he is.
In his near-72 minutes of game time, Marchisio completed nearly 90 percent of his passes, led Juventus in interceptions on the night and filled our hearts with good feelings simply because he was back on the field for the first time in six months. It’s going to be a little sketchy whenever somebody goes in on a tackle on Marchisio for the next month or two in all likelihood, but he’s back, and that’s what we should all be the happiest about.
Oh, yeah. And Juventus won. I like when Juventus wins — especially by multiple goals.
Here’s something good, though: Juventus are undefeated when Claudio Marchisio is in the starting lineup this season. Welcome back, my friend. You were definitely missed.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Initial reaction to the starting lineup being posted on Twitter: CLAUDIO BACK CLAUDIO BACK CLAUDIO BACK CLAUDIO BACK CLAUDIO BACK CLAUDIO BACK CLAUDIO BACK
- Giorgio Chiellini likes scoring goals against Sampdoria, doesn’t he? He may not find the back of the net often, but when he does, it’s against Sampdoria, I guess.
- You can also say that Chiellini played a role in three goals on Wednesday night. Problem is, one of those goals happened to be the only time Sampdoria scored.
- I like the midweek fixture in Serie A where everybody is playing at the same time if only because we get to hear the reaction of the Juventus Stadium crowd when a score comes up just a few seconds after we see it pop across the screen on Twitter. It didn’t end that way, but there were more than just a couple of people cheering when Sassuolo took a 1-0 lead over Roma. If only that game stayed that way...
- I guess we now have to wait for the medical update on Instagram from Patrice Evra. I suspect, no matter how good or bad the news is, that we will hear about how much Uncle Pat loves this game.
- I mean, it’s not the worst situation in the world where you can turn to Alex Sandro off the bench when Evra gets hurt. Having squad depth is cool.
- Pjanic might have had a goal and an assist tonight, but there’s just something about his game that is lacking right now. It seemed like we rarely heard his name after Juve went up 2-0 and then after he scored his goal. A lot like Sami Khedira, Pjanic just seems off. I would like to think that Marchisio’s return will free things up for the both of them, allowing Khedira and Pjanic to really show what kind of midfielders they are.
- Two assists from Juan Cuadrado. Good, very good.
- Considering that he has played all of about 45 minutes this season, it was about as good of a game from Neto has we could have hoped for. He commanded his box well, even crashing through his teammates a couple of times to collect a cross. (Which is also probably a sign that communication wasn’t the best out there.) He only had to make a couple of saves, one of them was really, really good from point-blank range. I guess the big thing we look for from a backup keeper is for nothing to be majorly screwed up. No screw-ups from Neto, so bravo to him.
- I couldn’t help but think that with Juventus up a couple of goals with 10 minutes or so to go that it would have been the perfect time to give Moise Kean his debut appearance and let the kid run around in a game that was basically done and dusted. I guess Max Allegri had completely different ideas. Dammit, Max.
- Napoli on Saturday, folks. Should be a fairly intense game, don’t you think?