The beauty of how Juventus’ roster is constructed is that one of the club’s leading scorers — in this case Mario Mandzukic — can miss a good amount of time due to injury and things aren’t thrown out whack up front. Max Allegri can just look to his bench, pick a player 19 other clubs in Italy would love to have, and essentially keep the train rolling on the tracks.
Monday night’s 3-0 win over Chievo was proof of that.
Sure, Juventus were facing the last-place team in Serie A, one that has yet to win a game away from Verona in the first half of the season. But, for at least the first 45 minutes of the proceedings at Allianz Stadium, this was Juve’s attacking featuring two proper wingers who can hurt you in so many different ways being the leading forces in what was a free-flowing kind of offense where positions weren’t necessarily set in stone.
Douglas Costa got Juventus’ opener with a fantastic solo effort. Federico Bernardeschi, making his first start in six weeks, looked a lot like the early-season Fede who was soooo damn good no matter the opponent.
And all of this was with Stefano Sorrentino doing his trademark dominance in goal against Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo having easily one of his worst day in front of goal since joining the Italian champions this past summer.
There was no messing around against an extremely lesser opponent, one that will probably get relegated at the end of the season based on where they’re at in the table right now. (Although, if Chievo plays like they did Monday night, then some good results could come their way.) Chievo was no pushover against Juventus. They didn’t test Mattia Perin often and his most difficult save(s) weren’t exactly ones where we’d be comparing him to the guy who used to man Juve’s goal the previous two decades.
Juve’s first-half performance was exactly what you wanted to see from them — they took control of the game early, they didn’t let the foot off the gas after getting their first goal and then just continued to play efficient and very good football. It was sustained for 90 minutes, but that’s okay because they didn’t need it. Juventus didn’t mess around, shoot itself in the foot and then have to rely on some late-game magic from one of their star-studded attacking pieces.
For a team who was once again reminded by their manager at his pre-match press conference that they need to do a better job closing out games, I don’t think it’s a reach to say that Juve had closed this thing out even before halftime.
That’s a pretty good thing to see — and something this Juventus team needs to do a lot more often during the second half of this season that has so much riding on it.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Stefano Sorrentino, man. He suddenly turns into peak Gigi Buffon every single time he plays against Juventus. Dude is almost 40 years old and is the sole reason why Juve didn’t beat Chievo 5-0.
- Cool little fact about Juve’s three goal scorers: Douglas Costa, Emre Can and Daniele Rugani all scored their first league goals of the season on Monday night.
- Bernardeschi’s assist to Rugani probably means that they will have a dog play date soon. Spike and Wendy deserve some friends, you know.
- Emre Can’s stats: One goal, 67 passes completed, 92.5 percent pass completion, three key passes and SEVEN tackles. That, right there, could very well be the best game we’ve seen from Mr. Can since he joined Juventus.
- There were 28 passes in the build-up to Can’s goal. It was so pretty.
- Dybala’s assist on Can’s goal. Holy smokes, you guys.
- It’s official: Dybala was all over the place against Chievo — in a good kind of way.
- You know everybody is getting involved when Cristiano Ronaldo is the starting player who sees the ball least in a 3-0 win. (52 touches, by the way.)
- This was another classic Mattia De Sciglio quiet yet efficient game at right back. If Matteo Darmian is going to be arriving this month, he can look at MDS as an example of somebody who has gotten his career back on track at Juventus despite not getting a ton of minutes.
- This start from Mattia Perin was much better than the last start from Mattia Perin.
- Alex Sandro’s form after signing his contract extension > Alex Sandro’s form before signing his contract extension
- Allegri waited until the 89th minute to bring on Moise Kean. That’s ... disappointing. This was the perfect game for Kean to get some minutes under his belt — and he got about four.
- Controversial opinion: I very much enjoyed this win over Chievo where Juventus scored three goals a lot more than the last one. My heart doctor appreciates it, too.