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Juventus 2 - Lazio 1: Initial reaction and random observations

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NEVER IN DOUBT

Juventus FC via Getty Images

In a world filled with over-exaggeration, the line of “worst performance of the season” usually gets thrown around a lot more often than it probably should. Juventus, a team that hasn’t exactly blown away the competition most of the time over the last few years, certain have a lot of those “worst performance of the season” candidates despite their overall dominance in Serie A.

Sunday night’s trip to the Stadio Olimpico was certainly the latest crap showing from Max Allegri’s boys.

Yet, just like the last time they faced Lazio in Rome, Juve pulled an absolute rabbit out of their hat.

There was no need for some Paulo Dybala magic in the penalty area as he was falling to the ground and holding off his marker. Oh no. This time it was a pair of second-half substitutes that played a major role in Juventus claiming a 2-1 win over Lazio even though the overall product put other was one where the home side completely dominated the seven-time Italian champions. Juve’s two big summer signings that hail from Portugal, Joao Cancelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, got the goals, and Federico Bernardeschi proved to be the jolt Juve’s offense needed after his team could do next to nothing going forward before his introduction.

End result: Juve wins, Napoli falls 11 points behind the Serie A leaders.

I don’t get it, either, but yeah.

You wanna talk about Juve playing like absolute trash for all but about two or three minutes and absolutely stealing three points, this one is it.

Juventus deserved to lose a couple times over based on how poorly they played. Instead, they’re going to hop back onto their ride to Turin and have three completely undeserved points in their pocket.

This game, man. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense at all.

Yet, even as Juve were getting totally dominated by Lazio’s suffocating press — seriously, how good were they? — there was the slightest of thoughts in the back of my head that was telling me this wouldn’t end in a loss. I know, I know, I should have posted it on Twitter so that I had the receipts, but you just have to go with me on this one. How many times have we seen in the past a completely crap performance still end with a Juventus win? The list is a lengthy one even though we’re not actually going to go through it one by one right now.

This one might have taken the cake, though.

And yet, here we are.

Juventus played like crap and still got all three points.

Sometimes logic can’t be applied to what we see in front of us. This is one of those times.

But hey, an 11-point lead over Napoli is still an 11-point lead no matter what kind of route you take to get there. And it’s not like Juve’s road to their latest three points is anything to brag about. Still got there, though.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • I’m sure Leonardo Bonucci getting injured will have those who are worried about Juve’s depth and center back with Medhi Benatia leaving.
  • That run Bernardeschi made that led to Cancelo’s game-tying goal. Yowza. What a beauty.
  • The ability to place that shot far post from Cancelo on his first touch. Yowza. What a beauty.
  • Just for the record, that’s a penalty every single time no matter the team it benefits. Cancelo beat his man and clearly got hauled down in the box. If VAR had reversed that call then you would have gotten the first 800 words of this post in all caps.
  • There seems to be two very different ways to look at the game that Daniele Rugani had. There are those who are choosing to look at a couple of the mistakes he made and then use it as fuel in their argument that he’s not a capable replacement for Bonucci if he’s out for a chunk of time. There are others, like myself, who see the nine clearances he made and the important plays he was involved in to
  • The more playing time he gets, the better Bernardeschi gets. It’s science — and just like in August and September, this version of Fede is the one that’s at his best.
  • Wojciech Szczesny was as busy as he’s been in a Juventus jersey on Sunday. And he answered the call every single time. There was nothing he could do on Emre Can’s own goal, and was probably the biggest reason as to why the game was scoreless at halftime. Not all of his five saves were tough ones, but there were a couple of them that were really, really good — especially the one right before halftime.
  • Based on how that game played out, I still have no idea how Juventus finished with more possession than Lazio.
  • We’re going to have to go back into the archives and find a game where Douglas Costa played 70 minutes, touched the ball 54 times and done just about nothing of note. For as huge of an impact he’s made in the last couple of weeks, this game was not like those games.
  • Joao Cancelo, though, man. What a freaking signing he has been.
  • This game, man. Go ahead and show somebody the first half and ask them what the final score will be. If it’s a 2-1 Juventus win where a Lazio player doesn’t actually score a goal, then you’d probably laugh in their face. And yet...