If there’s anybody who knows about the mindset of a Juventus squad, it’s somebody who was with the club when the current five-year title-winning run began. That person would be a certain Simone Padoin, who is now playing his football for Cagliari. This is what Padoin had to say about Juventus before Cagliari made the trip to Turin to face the reining Serie A champions:
“It’s a game to be played, but if they’re at 100 percent then it’s difficult. They’ll need to be at 50-60 percent and we’ll need a bit of luck. They’ll be very angry after the defeat against Inter.”
How’s Juventus leading 3-0 going into halftime do when it comes to being angry?
That’s exactly what happened, as a dominant Juventus showing through the opening first half resulted in putting things in cruise control come the second 45 minutes of play. Juventus prevented Cagliari from doing much of anything to write home about, while goals from Daniele Rugani, Gonzalo Higuain and Dani Alves pretty much showed us that Juve were letting off a little bit of steam in the process based on how the last Serie A game played out.
And considering how Juve have played over the last couple of games, this kind of performance, one where Juventus just absolutely dominated from the opening whistle onward, it’s a pretty pleasant change.
I understand there will be a “Yeah, but...” kind of reaction for some folks. But considering the alternative, considering how Juventus has played against the last couple of opponents, this was exactly what the doctor ordered. Juve needed to right the ship, and that’s exactly what they did against a team they should beat even with the starting lineup being shuffled around a little bit.
So, good on you, Juventus, for doing what a lot of people hoped you would do against a newly-promoted club. That’s more like it. And how nice of Napoli to keep the seat atop the Serie A table warm for all of the boys.
- Rugani, in his first start of the year, scored his first Juventus goal and became the first Italian player to score for Juventus this season. Just like we all though would happen, right? Yeah, right.
- How many of you saw Andrea Barzagli make that last-ditch tackle about two minutes into the game and think something along the lines of “Ah, well now he’s back to normal!”? Because I know I did.
- Alex Sandro is good. He’s really, really good.
- FIRST HALF STATS!
Marco Storari made seven saves in the first half. Gianluigi Buffon touched the ball a total of nine times. One of these things is not like the other...
- Storari had every look of being in God Mode in the early stages against his former club. He also made a couple of fantastic saves in the second half to prevent Juventus from getting a fourth, a fifth or a sixth goal. Too bad, at least for him, that the rest of that Cagliari defense isn’t all that good at all.
- As much as I’ve liked what Mario Lemina has done as a holding/deep-lying midfielder so far this season, he did look pretty good as more of a box-to-box player against Cagliari. Sure, his final pass was lacking a few time and he probably should have had an assist or two in the first half, but he definitely showed some ability to play in another role Wednesday night. Considering how busy the schedule is and who is currently available to Max Allegri, it’s good news that Lemina is really showing what kind of player he is.
- Speaking of Allegri, Dani Alves had just scored the third goal of the first half and moments later we heard Max screaming his head off at somebody. I mean, as much heat as the guy has gotten lately around here, you can’t help but love that the dude is demanding more and more from his team after they just went up by three goals with time still to play in the first half.
- Nice of Allegri to give Marko Pjaca more than 10 minutes of playing time. Pjaca, unsurprisingly, immediately tried to break a defender’s ankles after he entered the game.
- The guy Pjaca came on for in the second half, Paulo Dybala, is obviously in a bit of a funk. You could definitely tell he was a little frustrated as he walked toward the Juventus bench — and that was before he started messing with his hair and revealing a bit of a frown on his face. I would think that with Dybala not getting a rest Wednesday that one would be in the cards against his former club, Palermo, over the weekend. That wouldn’t the worst thing in the world considering how many minutes he’s played so far this season. And he may just need a mental day off more than anything. Either way, Dybala will be fine because he’s shown us all just what kind of player he is in the past.
- I like when Juventus wins. And I like when Juventus wins by a comfortable goal margin. It’s a lot better than sitting around and wanting to pull my hair out while watching Juve do absolutely nothing that would be considered something positive.