Some kind of squad rotation was to be expected when Max Allegri announced his starting lineup Sunday afternoon. That's just what happens when you clinch the Scudetto with some time to spare — you can sit some of your regulars and have no regrets about it at all. And surely, knowing how Allegri proclaimed two-thirds of his lineup 24 hours earlier, he wasn't going to back away from any kind of changes he first envisioned.
But come on, people, let's be honest here: Who had Hernanes scoring Juventus' opening goal against Carpi?
If you in fact did have exactly that, well, then you're probably sitting here with a massive smile on your face larger than one of those awkward yet hilarious pictures of Allegri from right before kickoff most weekends.
It was Hernanes' 42nd-minute bender of a strike that proved to be the eventual game-winner in Juventus' 2-0 win over Carpi at Juventus Stadium to extend their home dominance on their home turf in the 2016 calendar year. And leave it to a guy who hadn't done a whole heck of a lot for basically the entire season to be the one to set Juve off on the right trail to claim three more points once again.
This season couldn't have been easy for Hernanes, who was a deadline-day arrival from that black and blue club in Milan. He didn't come cheap, either, and wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms compared to somebody like Paulo Dybala and his boyish good looks.
But when that ball hit the back of the net, and he rose up off the ground for his customary backflip, it was finally time for Hernanes to celebrate, finally time to hear the crowd cheer for something he's done. There had to be plenty of chutzpah behind that post-goal howl into the sky of his — both because of what he just did and for being able to make a serious impact as a member of Juventus' starting lineup.
Yet, on Sunday, it was Hernanes who had reason to celebrate. And so did Juventus. Again. At home.
Juventus winning at home will never get old. Never, ever, ever. Sorry 'bout it.
Random thoughts and observations
- It's Leonardo Bonucci's birthday, and if that means he wants to rock a fancy mustache, then he can damn well rock a fancy mustache. It's also allowed when he drops a pass over the top of the opposing defense like he did to Paul Pogba within the first six minutes of the game.
- Seriously, though, I want to know what Stephan Lichtsteiner had running through his head when he first saw Bonucci stroll into the locker room with that mustache of his. Pretty sure it wasn't like Sami Khedira's "Good, very good!" review of Mario Mandzukic from the other day.
- Through the first 17 minutes, Juventus had 72 percent of the possession. Let me repeat: SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT POSSESSION. It also seemed like Carpi had almost as many men behind the ball defending during that same time period, too.
- Allegri picked a pretty good side to try out the 'Patrice Evra: Left-center back' experiment out on. Carpi did almost as little attacking toward Juventus' goal in the first half as I did from my recliner all those thousand of miles away. To the surprise of no one, there weren't many mistakes made by Evra simply because he rarely had the chance to actually do so.
- Gigi Buffon made one save in the first half. It was pretty damn impressive. You should not be surprised by either of the two previous sentences.
- Daniele Rugani was shown his second yellow card of the season on Sunday. That's two yellow cards in his last two games. This is an outrage.
- Ladies and gentlemen, Paul Pogba is now your new Serie A leader in assists. Remember the days where he was best known for scoring insane goals? The boy's improved his game quite a bit this season.
- Simone Zaza played 45 minutes after replacing Álvaro Morata at halftime, scored a goal and didn't get shown a yellow card. This might be some kind of record or something.
- Knowing what he's dealt injury-wise, it's always nice to see Kwadwo Asamoah play well. It gives you warm and fuzzy feelings inside about what we used to see on a regular basis when things were all good and he was in his pre-injury days. Who knows what his role will be going forward, but seeing Asamoah play well is never a bad thing.
- Seriously, Hernanes played pretty well.
- No, seriously. I'm not B.S.-ing you here, people.
- I hope Carpi stay up in Serie A just so we can get another season of a top-flight Italian team owning a player by the name of Kevin Lasagna.
- Speaking of Lasagna — mmmmmm, lasagna... — this is a way of working him into the post-game thread even though he came on as a second-half sub against Juventus and proceeded to not do much of anything of note. Good on you, Carpi, you've got a player with the last name of Lasagna and it's the lunchtime kickoff. If there ever was a time for Kevin Lasagna to play...
- Scudetto wrapped up and Juventus still gets the win and another shutout. How you like them apples?