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Manu’s Grab Bag: Eighth straight title in sight

Juventus beat AC Milan to get closer to their eighth straight Scudetto. GIVE ME MOISE OR GIVE ME DEATH.

Juventus v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

It’s Juventus vs Milan! I know AC Milan is not the AC Milan of our memories, entering the weekend sitting in fourth place, battling for Champions League positioning and being a clown car in general for the last few years. Still, it’s always a great rivalry and an important match as you could see from the packed Allianz Stadium and the general “Big match” vibe.

It was a very entertaining match ± especially the second half, which was a back and forth affair with chances galore. But in the end, as it’s common now, we finished with Juventus beating AC Milan 2-1.

I have a question: Has Milan ever won in the Allianz Stadium? I think not.

Let’s get to it.

VAR Controversy of the week.

Everyone’s least favorite section is back again with another 50/50 call. In the first half, with the game scoreless, Alex Sandro slid in the box to stop a Milan cross that got deflected by his outstretched arm.

Like always, you can call it either way — the ball is absolutely deflected from his arm. You could argue that the arm being outstretched is part of the natural motion of the slide therefore it’s not a handball, for what it’s worth that’s what the ref called. I lean towards it being a PK — sure the arm could be a natural motion, but it is also very removed from the body and it affected the play. It didn’t really matter because as the old adage goes, ball does not commit perjury, therefore a few minutes later Piatek scored the Milan opener after a brutal Leo Bonucci mistake, speaking of which!

Loser: Leo Bonucci

I’m not going to rehash the whole controversy regarding his comments last game. For what it’s worth, I think they were pretty dumb and tone deaf at best, “Good people on both sides” at worst.

But it seems that people already made up their mind about them and there’s not going to be any mind changing around here. Still, not great when the Latin American commentators spend a solid five minutes criticizing his comments and then he immediately commits the blunder that led to the Krzysztof Piatek goal.

Either way, all things considered, consider me not a fan of the Leo Bonucci redemption tour.

Panic Button Update: Who starts at left back against Ajax?

Alex Sandro had a rather quiet game in the first half, but had a stronger showing in the second half. Leonardo Spinazzola was announced as a starter, but did very little in his time at the pitch. To be fair, he was being played out of position in order to get some rotation, so hard to judge on him that harshly.

Spinazzola has been by far the most in-form player this month and balled against Atletico in the Round of 16, while Sandro has been underwhelming as of late, but has the most experience in big games.

We are nitpicking here, honestly I’m not that worried about who starts, considering both guys are capable of a great display. If you forced me to choose, I would go with Spinazzola, just because I adhere to the philosophy that you have to go with the hot hand, but there are no wrong choices here.

Panic Button Update:

Winner: Moise Kean

True story: I bet a friend of mine who roots for Atletico Madrid that Juventus would go through. The loser of the bet would have to buy the other one the official jersey of the winner’s team, so a Juve kit for me or an Atleti kit for him.

I won, so he got me the black alternate kit. However, we couldn’t get the name printed online, so I’m waiting for the kit to arrive in order to stamp a player’s name on it in a physical Adidas store. I was very set on making it Paulo Dybala’s No. 10.

But now … check me out in my Kean, No. 18, kit. It’s coming soon to a bar near you.

Parting shot of the week

Contingent on what Napoli did this weekend — they ended up drawing with 10-man Genoa on Sunday night — Juventus could have clinched Serie A this weekend. Not a typo, not a mistake, THIS WEEKEND. Early April. How crazy is that?

This team might have not always played to the hefty expectations laid before them or displayed flashy, beautiful football week in and week out. But you don’t eke out a lead so big and so authoritative without being a top squad.

To put is simply, this was a team of grown ass professionals. Almost business like in their approach, and sure some people didn’t love their up and downs or their passive style of play here or there. But despite those peaks and valleys, always worth mentioning that those peaks and valleys more often than not ended up with a W for the Black and White.

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