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Manu’s Grab Bag: Success in a final tuneup

Juve crush Frosinone in their last game before the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League

Juventus v Frosinone Calcio - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Let’s not kid ourselves here, folks.

Yes, Juventus games are always appointment viewing and seeing our favorite team is always fun and good. And there is a certain appeal in a Friday kickoff — especially since yours truly gets out outrageously early from work on Fridays. Get a couple beers in, relax, unwind, start the weekend off right.

In all honesty, I wasn’t all that interested in this game. Because it’s Frosinone and because the Champions League Round of 16 starts this coming Wednesday. That’s all I can think about about in my life right now.

But still, a game happened. And as far as games I’m not super interested in go, this was pretty good! Any game where Juve scores 3 goals, keeps a clean sheet, has no important injuries and takes care of business is bound to be a good game in my book.

A game happened, and you fine people expect a grab bag, so I will soldier on.

Let’s cook.

Learning is fun … Frosinone

Today in your beloved section, let’s talk about Frosinone, you guys! Feel the excitement!

For the second time in history, Frosinone is playing Serie A football. Unfortunately for them, it seems their second stint will finish just in the same way the first one did — relegation after one season, as they find themselves second-to-last in the table and with no particular reason to expect things to change.

Honestly, much like the club itself, there’s not a whole heck of a lot to talk about Frosinone. No digs to the city, which looks like a beautiful little town from pictures I found online. But, not a whole lot there.

You know what city is awesome, though? Madrid, where Juventus will play Wednesday and…

Right, no, Frosinone. Hmm, the cathedral looks OK. One of their sister cities is Cancun, Mexico, for whatever reason.


Trending Up: Paulo Dybala Stans

It is no secret my complete and utter bias towards my large adult son, Paulo Dybala. So, sure, sometimes I cut him a bit too much slack, amplify his successes and minimize his shortcomings. Whatever, sue me, that’s what loving parents do.

/extremely Stephen A. Smith voice/


Bias aside, he has been balling last couple of games and it could not have come at a better time. Dybala has a tendency to be a streaky player which does lead to frustrating spells of ineffectiveness, but when he is on ... I mean, look a this thing:

This performance also lends credence to Max Allegri’s statements during the week assuring that Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo can play together, something that had been a hit or miss proposition during the season. If they can continue playing at this level, it’s going to be very though for teams to stop them.

And if you needed any more proof that the chemistry between these two is no issue:

I am happy, that GIF makes me emotionally happy.

Winner: Mario Mandzukic

I want you to take a look at the third goal Juventus scored. Then tell me what you find unusual:

That is Mario Mandzukic, a nominal central forward and one that before Juventus had a reputation of being a somewhat stiff, physical guy, making a perfect run and assisting Ronaldo with a pinpoint cross like if he was a winger since the day he started playing football.

We don’t talk about it enough, but the fact that not only is Mandzukic a winger in the squad, but he is actually great is an unbelievable feat from both Mario to reinvent himself as a player and Allegri to coach him up to that level. In my opinion, he was the MOTM today and in a nice gesture, when Giorgio Chiellini was subbed out, Dybala gave him the Captain armband instead of keeping it himself.

It’s a small thing, but it shows how much the entire team respects Mario and the chemistry the team has right now.

As much as I like Douglas Costa, it makes a lot of sense to play Mario, an absolute beast that is probably the fourth best center back in the squad, with Ronaldo and Dybala who are not as much of a physical presence. I expect to see the same 3 guys spearheading the attack against Atleti on Wednesday.

GIF I sent Danny, hoping it was enough, so I didn’t have to write a piece

Did you know that Juventus is the only team in Serie A that has scored in every league game? Anyway, he said no, but here is the GIF:

Trending Up: Juventus Back Line

Well, hello, Leo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini! Happy, you’re back!

It’s Frosinone, sure, there was never going to be much of a threat, but it was nice to see them both play without any lingering health issues ahead of the Atleti match and for Leo to score a goal. He is the one who has been wildly inconsistent this season, whether due to a lack of confidence or him just simply not being the same player as he once was, I don’t know. But it can only help that before the most important game of the season to date, he gets a small confidence boost.

Parting shot of the week

Plus-14 on the table, admittedly with Napoli still having to play this weekend, but still, that’s a pretty nice lead to have in mid-February. Not to count my chickens before they hatch, but it doesn’t seem like a huge jump to conclusions to say that Serie A is … hmm, Vince Carter, would you care to explain?

Yeah, what he said.

Nice, tidy 3-0 win against a bottom feeder and Juventus’ second straight 3-0 score line after their win against Sassuolo last weekend. Chiellini and Bonucci are back, Dybala is on a roll, Ronaldo got out of his mini-slump — even though he still sucks at free kicks — and Miralem Pjanic is rested and ready to go.

Atletico Madrid is not going to be easy, but it’s hard to ask for more out of Juve coming into this matchup. The only competition that seems to matter for Juve fans resumes in a few days.

Let’s get it, boys.

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