In so many ways, Juventus’ 3-1 Derby della Mole win over Torino played right into the script of so many all-Turin matchups before it. The game was even, the game was played at an incredibly intense level and, as we’ve seen a lot lately, we entered the last 15 minutes with a winner still yet to be determined.
And then, poof! Out of nowhere, here comes Gonzalo Higuain to steal the show.
No, it wasn’t an RKO out of nowhere, but a Higuain goal out of nowhere. Juventus’ No. 9 turned a Giorgio Chiellini ball that was basically hoofed forward in hope of something good taking place into more than just a minor development. The result was a beautiful turn and an even better finish to beat Pep Guardiola’s No. 1 fan, Joe Hart, and give Juventus another late-game win over Torino.
But I thought the narrative was that Higuain folded in big games? Is that not the case anymore? He certainly has scored some big goals in some big games this season — and it’s only the middle of December, my friends.
Gonzalo Higuain: “When I didn’t score, Ruud van Nistelrooy told me: 'When it comes out, it all does at once. It’s like ketchup.’" pic.twitter.com/HHUt7f96YL— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) December 1, 2016
Higuain. Ketchup. I’m sure there’s a joke about the kind of shape he was in when he first signed with Juventus in there somewhere. But I won’t go there right now.
What matters most is that Higuain, Juventus’ €90 million man, is starting to find his absolutely lethal goal-scoring form once again. You look at the three goals in the last two games and realize just how special of a striker he is and how he’s capable of putting a team on his back with just a few opportunities.
In a game like this, where so many of the results have been decided in the closing stages, it’s why Juventus needed a striker of Higuain’s quality and caliber on its roster. There are only so many players in the world that are capable of doing what Higuain can, and luckily for all of us who are rooting for the team on the black and white side of Turin, he’s on our favorite team.
He was once again the man who decided things for Juventus, proving that club-record price tag to be worth it and giving Juventus another Derby della Mole victory over the little brother from across the town. Or, maybe for one day, we should call it the Derby della Pipita. It sure would be appropriate.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- For the second straight game, Paulo Dybala came off the bench absolutely firing. You see the kind of plays he made leading up to Miralem Pjanic’s stoppage-time goal to put the game on ice and you can’t help but think about what La Joya can do when he reaches full match fitness. He’s close, surely.
- Remember when Pjanic was having a quiet season? He’s got five goals and five assists in 12 Serie A games and six goals and six assists in 18 appearances in all competitions. That’s a nice little pace he’s on as we approach the midway point of the season. Oh, and he’s still settling in. Just imagine what it’s going to be like if Juve go 4-3-1-2 with him playing behind Dybala and Higuain. Yeah, good times.
- Those two guys were pretty good subs by Max Allegri, don’t you think? I hope it’s not like that every game, but hey, when you got the weapons on the bench you might as well use them.
- I know there were some moments that scared the crap out of me, but watching Andrea Belotti — who is an absolute beast, by the way — do battle with Chiellini and Daniele Rugani was pretty fun to watch. I especially liked the little moment before a Torino corner kick where the ref came over to Belotti and Chiellini to tell them to stop pushing each other around and then the latter proceeded to push the former right after the ref turned his back. Good thing Belotti cracked a smile.
- Side note on Belotti: He’s already pretty good. And he’s only 22 years old.
- Side note on Rugani: He’s already pretty good. And he’s only 22 years old.
- Gigi Buffon’s mustache ... discuss.
- But, because Juventus beat Torino, it was a mustachio bashio. Good times.
- It’s time for Mario Lemina to leapfrog Stefano Sturaro in the midfield hierarchy. I’ve decided this for Mr. Allegri, so he can thank me later. Look at the impact that Lemina made after he came on and then compare it to Sturaro’s level that wasn’t all that impressive at all. There’s nothing worse than a player without much technical skills like Sturaro constantly turning the ball over against a team like Torino that was constantly playing with high pressure.
- Mario Mandzukic might be one of Juventus’ best defenders this season. It seems like he’s blocked about 25 shots and cleared 50 corners in the past couple of weeks.
- TORINO E’ BIANCONERA!