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Manu’s Grab Bag: A win is a win

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Undeserved, sure, but Juve gets the W in Rome and is plus-11 atop the Serie A standings.

ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

What a game, folks.

Juventus, much like myself in college, put forth an embarrassing display for the majority of the day and somehow failed upwards and got the result. Some people might chalk it up to good luck or to Lazio missing a multitude of chances, but I do want to give credit to Juve. There is something to be said about being the type of team that can have a very bad day at the office and still get the result. As an admitted Real Madrid hater, that was something that I always recognized in that team and what you’re supposed to do when you are an elite club.

Still, five shots on goal! All game! Feels like getting away with robbery getting three points out of Rome. As the old adage goes, winners win and bottlers will Lazio. Or something like that.

Let’s cook.

Winner: Wojciech Szczęsny

Woj! When Lazio was overrunning Juventus in the early stages of the game, Szczesny showed us all Mattia Perin stans why he is the rightful starter for Juve. Making a bunch of key saves and keeping them in the game when, by all accounts, they should have been down by a couple scores at least.

Following up the GOAT was going to be an issue for anybody, but Woj is showing why the Juve brass felt so comfortable letting Gianluigi Buffon go to Paris Saint-Germain. He is truly one of the top keepers in football, and he showed it on Sunday.

Winner: Paulo Dybala

LOOK AT MY LARGE ADULT SON THRIVE

Sure, he had kind of a bad game but still, captain of men! All of us Dybala stans will be on the right side of history against those folks that were proposing selling him to bring in a midfielder this summer. I will die on this hill.

Winner: Miralem Pjanic

Even while not playing, Mire was a winner. Why? Because without him, Juve’s midfield was in complete shambles. Rodrigo Bentancur and Emre Can are two young, talented midfielders, but they showed on Sunday that they are not at the same level as Pjanic, with Juve’s midfield being completely overrun all game long.

It was an honest to god worrisome performance with Champions League play just around the corner, which brings me to…

Panic Button Update on: Juventus against the press and Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s been a recurrent issue for Juventus the fact that they can’t deal with a press. It was last year against Tottenham in the Champions League and it was an issue against Lazio, so this panic button has been pressed all the way down since last year. Having a good ball playing center back like Leo Bonucci definitely helps, however, with him coming out of the game injured and out for a bit only hurts matters and forces Juve to play either Daniele Rugani or new comer Martin Caceres in important games. Rugani played a pretty good game on Sunday, but would you feel 100 percent comfortable with him starting in Madrid? Yeah, same.

Panic Button: Pushed.

And Cristiano Ronaldo? Well, he had another pretty bad game after a poor display last week as well. He did score the penalty to give Juventus the win, so there’s that, but this was far from the best we’ve seen from the Portuguese star.

Two bad games are not a trend for sure but might have to monitor what’s going with him if he puts forth a couple more performances like this one. An in-form Ronaldo is going to be key in Champions League play.

Panic Button: Not even looking at it.

Game’s MVP: Joao Cancelo

The most impactful signing of the summer, in a summer in which Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo. Cancelo is an absolute beast and should be the first name on the teamsheet every time out, he is that good.

Along with Federico Bernardeschi, he changed the game when he was subbed in and ended up scoring his first goal with the Juve shirt. Cancelo is legit one of the 10 most important people in my life.

Have yourself a game, Joao.

Take of the week

Riad, writes in:

“Allegri claiming Khedira was going to be like a new signing, because I do in fact believe that what he said is indicative of the Juve we’ve all come to both love and hate.”

I’m the furthest thing from a Sami Khedira apologist, but Max Allegri is not entirely wrong to suggest that. This season Khedira has been either ineffective or hurt, was the ineffectiveness related to his injury? Maybe.

People forget that last year, Khedira was just as bad in the first part of the season. But was pretty good to close out the year, I don’t expect a turnaround like that this year, but with no incoming transfers on the horizon, Khedira will in fact be kind of a January transfer.

Song of the week for … SS Lazio

In the End, by Linkin Park!

Poor Lazio, played exactly the type of game they needed to play, thoroughly dominated Juventus for most of the day and came away with nothing to show for it.

Sometimes you give it your all and it’s still not your day. For Lazio, In the End, it didn’t even matter.

Have a take? Question? Want to send me design ideas for my Joao Cancelo tattoo? Write in to BWRAOmailbag@gmail.com to get featured.