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Juventus 1 - Atalanta 0: Initial reaction and random observations

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For the fourth straight year, Juventus head to Rome to play in the Coppa Italia final.

Juventus v Atalanta BC - TIM Cup Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

For as great as Juventus’ unbeaten run since the beginning of December has been for the simple fact of it’s allowed them to compete on all three fronts heading into March, it’s not like there’s been a ton style points to come along with it.

And it’s not like the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinals added to it.

Juventus didn’t light up the scoreboard. They didn’t play beautiful attacking football where they were creating chance after chance after chance after chance. At halftime, it was Atalanta that had the vast majority of the possession even though they were the ones who were playing away from home. And yet, even with this being another grinder of a game, Juventus were able to come out of it with the same type of scoreline we’ve seen quite a bit since the beginning of December.

Yep, 1-0. Miralem Pjanic, your second-half penalty kick was the difference maker. And because of it, Juventus were able to advance to the Coppa Italia final for the fourth straight year thanks to a 2-0 aggregate scoreline over Atalanta.

There was some snow, yes, but it didn’t even come close to impacting things like it did three days earlier. They actually got to play this time, too, which was nice.

But this game, one that obviously had very different circumstances attached to it than the one on Sunday that was called off due to snow, was simply Juventus getting the job done.

Case in point: Gianluigi Buffon, again a starter in goal for a Coppa Italia fixture, had all of two saves to make on Wednesday night. I feel safe in saying that both of them that were basically the kind of saves that Buffon could make in his sleep. They were easy, and that’s probably putting it lightly.

Juve’s defense, one that looked all kinds of a hot mess against Tottenham two weeks earlier, returned to being the strong backbone the team could rely on — and hold a lead — that has basically been ever-present during this unbeaten run that has now been stretched to three months long.

All in all, Juventus finish another month without suffering a loss. I’d say that’s pretty good. Here’s to the month of March where the games are not only important, but also some pretty big-time matchups as well.

See what I mean?

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • Mattia Caldara got a shot on the side of the head from Mario Mandzukic in the second half. Seeing as where Caldara will be playing his football next season, I guess he should get used to that because he will be seeing a lot of Mandzukic in training every day.
  • I know the assumption is that Leonardo Spinazzola will come back and be, at the very least, Alex Sandro’s backup at left back, but it’s not like Kwadwo Asamoah has done a lot to say that he’s a guy who needs to be replaced. He hasn’t been spectacular or anything, but he’s been a solid presence at left back all season long.
  • With all that said in the last two bullet points, I’m very much looking forward to Caldara and Spinazzola being Juventus players next season. They are good players and I like when Juve have the chance to bring good players in.
  • Giorgio Chiellini’s game by the numbers: Five tackles, seven interceptions, seven clearances. If that isn’t a total Chiellini type of game, then I don’t really know what is.
  • Shocker that Juve’s defense looked a whole lot less scattered with Blaise Matuidi back in the starting lineup as compared to, say, the 2-2 draw against Tottenham. By “shocker” I think I’m trying to say that I’m very thankful that it happened. Juventus missed Matuidi in the worst possible way, and to see things click back into place and resemble the days before his injury is a pretty good sign for the next stretch of big games.
  • Juventus’ penalty kick came off a cross ... from Stephan Lichtsteiner. I find this funny because Lichtsteiner’s crossing ability has always been a little ... yeah.
  • Watching Douglas Costa surge forward during a counterattack like a damn cheetah still seems like something that is brand new to me even though we’ve been seeing it all season. When he’s going that fast and weaving through would-be tacklers, that’s just so fun to watch. People like to knock him for not making things work at Bayern Munich, but he’s definitely found a place to stay at Juventus, that’s for sure.
  • This was a very Claudio Marchisio kind of game from Juve’s No. 8. He was very much playing his part in a lot of things, and seemingly popping up in the middle of important plays that happened — especially in the first half. He completed over 93 percent of his passes, which is good. We need to do something about that 6.66 WhoScored rating, though.
  • Over the final three months of the season, Juventus will be seeing a good amount of the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. They will be there this weekend to face Lazio. They’ll head back there on the penultimate weekend of the Serie A season to face Roma. And now we know they’ll be going to Rome for another Coppa Italia final. Hey, it could be worse.