If you are a Juventus fan, you knew the situation entering Palermo's visit to Juventus Stadium on Sunday. It's why you're here. You knew one more win would quiet any kind of talk of the Scudetto race still being a thing. You knew that one more win would mean Juve could start to talk about the Scudetto being theirs more than they already have.
Consider it done.
Juventus pushed their lead atop the Serie A standings to a commanding nine points over Napoli thanks to a 4-0 poker face-themed beatdown on relegation battlers Palermo. It was, for in all intent and purposes, exactly what Juventus should have done to a Palermo side that has been switching managers more often this season than some of us do laundry. One team is the best in the league, the other is a complete and utter mess. It was pretty easy to see which one was which once the game actually got going in Turin.
Of course, this game was by no means a total cake walk before Juve broke things open in the second half or something to totally enjoying knowing that Claudio Marchisio had to be stretchered off in the first half after his knee went in a direction it shouldn't be going. But while we sweat over the upcoming Marchisio medical report that will be posted on the Juventus website, we can at least take solace in one pretty important thing.
With five rounds to go, Juve have a nine-point lead over Napoli.
That has a pretty good ring to it, right?
I would hope so.
By the time Napoli play Roma on Monday, Juventus could very well already be crowned champions. Like basically on the brink of officially official kind of stuff, people. From minus-12 to potentially being up plus-12 and saying everything is a wrap.
It's just crazy to think about knowing how this season started. Seriously crazy.
But I guess when you're unbeaten in your last 23 games and have 22 of those outings be wins, you're going to be racking up a whole lot of points right and left. Even more impressive knowing how injuries have happened all over the place this season, too.
Random thoughts and observations
- INJURIES ARE STUPID AND I AM GETTING SICK OF REMINDING YOU ALL ABOUT IT.
- Don't blame Max Allegri or Juve's training staff for this injury. A knee just isn't supposed to move that way. You could tell right away that after Marchisio went in for the tackle that something wasn't feeling right. And that's not just because he immediately reached for his knee.
- Also lost in the Marchisio injury was the substitution that happened: Allegri went with Mario Lemina ahead of Hernanes, who was also warming up after Marchisio went down in a heap of pain. Pretty telling about the current-day Juventus midfield hierarchy, if you ask me. Maybe it's also a hint that Lemina is sticking around past this season.
- The combined age of the two keeper captains on Sunday: 75 years old.
Take that you crazy young people.
- Paul Pogba might very be playing his best ball of the season right now. Another goal, another assist, another really good overall performance from Juve's No. 10. He's got four assists and three goals in his last four league games. That's exactly what you want from your big-time players as the games get important down the stretch. Pogba is certainly delivering the goods right now.
- A moment you all should cherish for the rest of your lives, honestly.
- Padoin also got smacked about eight or 10 times on the top of his head by Pogba after scoring his goal. Go ahead and tell me this team doesn't have fun and the smack on the head won't be so friendly.
- I know in the grand scheme of Sunday's game that Paulo Dybala didn't do much, but it sure was nice to have him back to spin in those wonderful free kicks again. Oh, and that smile. I missed that smile, too.
- Juan Cuadrado was having kind of an okay game with his crosses doing not much of anything at all. Then he goes and scores a sweet goal with an even sweeter shot fake that confused the living hell out of the Palermo defense around him. Not bad, man.
- Juventus hasn't allowed a goal at home in a Serie A match since the middle of December against Fiorentina. That's eight league matches at Juventus Stadium where Gigi Buffon hasn't had to pick a ball out of his own net. Put your head around that for a minute. It's now the middle of April, people.
And just for context, Juve have scored 14 goals over that same span. Not earth-shattering offense, but when the opponent isn't scoring goals, it doesn't really matter.
- Clearly all of Palermo's managerial changes this season are paying off. God, what a complete dumpster fire that front office has become. (And even more than before.)
- Thanks for making that pre-6 a.m. wake up call a little easier to deal with, Juventus.