Juventus took care of business against Sassuolo, despite a momentary lapse of concentration that made things a bit closer than they should’ve been.
Top of the table looks like this at the moment:
Napoli and Lazio will take points off each other on Wednesday, when Juventus of course play Fiorentina, while Inter have it relatively easy until mid-October when they play Napoli and Milan in back-to-big fixtures.
It’s going to be tough to win Serie A. Call me crazy, but to me Inter may be the dark horse opponent, since they don’t have European football to worry about.
About the game:
A tantalizing collection of titillating tidbits.
- So many continual complaints about not starting Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi, but Juve have games on Sept. 20, 23, 27 and Oct. 1 — there will be rotations, and Fede will get his first start at some point. It was nice to see him get on the pitch on Sunday, but it’s also relatively unfair to ask him to walk into a game that’s virtually over and try to be in-form ... he’s looked pretty awkward thus far, although to me it’s mostly been because he hasn’t played enough consecutive minutes to find rhythm.
- Speaking of Fede: How hardcore is the bromance between this kid and Paulo Dybala? Every time Dybala does something, it seems like he runs over to No. 33 and they have this extremely intimate moment.
- On Gonzalo Higuain: I don’t know.
- On Gonzalo Higuain: As someone mentioned, maybe he needs a rest. And maybe it’d be interesting to see Dybala as a false No. 9 with Bernardeschi behind him . . . but I also think we’re underestimating the gravitational pull that Pipita causes.
- Tiny shout-outs to: Juan Cuadrado, Blaise Matuidi, Miralem Pjanic and Daniele Rugani, all of whom played generally well.
Onto the awards:
Egyptian Museum Award
For the best game by a player older than 30.
The bad news about the Sassuolo game: The black-and-green tallied 13 total shots, four of which were on target. And they had a hell of a chance to tie the game at one apiece, but a certain goalkeeper named Gigi Buffon got to ground and made a crucial stop. Gigi made at least one other very nice save, and generally acted as general from behind the net.
I don’t think I’m going to ruffle any feathers by saying that the Juve defense is relatively iffy at the moment.
Piazza San Carlo Award
For a potentially overlooked yet stellar showing.
Hey Alex Sandro — are you back for good?
The best fullback that Juventus has by a factor of at least 2,000 finally played a solid, complete game. The crosses were lethal, the forward movement was incessant and pressurizing, and he was active in tackling, clearance, and intercepting. That’s why Juve needs. He’s used to playing with Mandzukic on the left flank; I think it’ll take a bit of time to develop with either Matuidi in a 4-3-3 or Costa in the 4-2-3-1.
Giuseppe Garibaldi Award
For the man of the match.
Obviously Paulo takes this one, but I thought I’d mention Giorgio Chiellini here. On the first goal, assisted by Mario Mandzkukic, Chiellini threw an absolutely beautiful pass forward that I’m tempted to describe as “Bonucci-esque” but instead will call “Pjanic-esque.” The Croatian
target man left winger does what all target men hulking left wingers do and held possession, and then crossed a somewhat fortunate pass to the center of the field, and Dybala did the rest.
The most impressive goal has to be the second one, right? I mean that toe-poke ...
Or was it the first?
Or the third? (Shout-out to the Sassuolo fan behind the net who was pretending he’d catch the ball — i.e. intimating that Dybala would sky it.)