Juventus has Serie A’s leading goal scorer on its roster. He was joined up front Wednesday night with a certain guy wearing the No. 10 who is sitting on 99 goals for the club. The “Dybaldo” tandem that a whole lot of folks were waiting for Andrea Pirlo to use got its play together for the first time from the start in months.
Yet at the end of Juventus’ 3-1 win over Parma, look at who scored the goals:
- Left back.
- Left back.
- Center back.
With two star strikers leading the line, it was the defense that did all of the scoring and preventing Juventus from another disastrous result at home against one of the worst teams in Serie A. With two goals from Alex Sandro on either side of halftime and Matthijs de Ligt’s header late in the second half, there was no disaster even though Juve had to dig out of a 1-0 hole. And considering everything going on around the club — yes, even more than how they’re barely hanging onto their spot in the top four — just what kind of team we would see was anybody’s guess. They looked the sluggish part early on, only to snap into action — or at least play a little bit better — following Gaston Brugman’s free kick in the 25th minute.
Thankfully, the defenders came to the rescue.
Although I’m sure nobody wants to make that a regular thing these final weeks of the season.
Regardless of what was happening outside of the field of play, see Juventus fall behind gave you that sinking kind of feeling in your stomach again. It was the “Here we go again ...” moment that we’ve seen so many times the last couple of years as Juve has regressed and been far from the dominant side many have looked at them as. But that latest in-game crisis was able to averted rather quickly instead of seeing Parma just hang around or even stay in the lead.
Let’s face it: Parma are bad. They’re almost certainly bound for Serie B in a few weeks and there’s pretty much nothing they can do to prevent it at this point knowing how much they have struggled this season. They’ve got the second-worst defense in the league. They’ve got the worst attack in the league and their goal differential is one that pretty much tells you why they are where they are with a month left in the season.
But when Juventus needed to get right, they got right.
With the help of their defenders.
Bless the defenders whenever they can contribute a goal or two over the course of a couple of weeks. But then scoring ALL OF THE GOALS? Well, you gotta take that and run with it.
So now Juventus are in third place for the next few hours until Atalanta face Roma, a game that I pretty much know how the rooting interest will shift toward Thursday night. Seeing how the top clubs in Serie A played Wednesday, this race for the top four is still completely unpredictable. And unlike the Super League, it’s not going to be imploding over the next few days.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Your go-to drinking game for the rest of the season should be a shot for every time they show Andrea Agnelli in the stands. Or maybe the way Juve’s playing these days will just make you want to drink in general, who knows.
- How to not properly defend your spot in the wall:
- Ronaldo was clearly not happy with how he personally played Wednesday night. You could have figured that out with him punting the ball in the final minutes and getting a yellow card because of it or the sight of him pretty much going right to the dressing room as his teammates celebrated a much-needed win. I don’t know, but seeing your highest-paid player not congratulate his teammates after the final whistle because he’s mad about his own struggles just doesn’t sit right. We always hear about how professional he is, but that’s not one of those moments.
- Danilo completed 87 percent of his passes in the first half, and you can’t help but wonder how high that number would have been if he didn’t send a handful of passes to the other team rather than one of his teammates.
- Entering Wednesday night’s game, Alex Sandro had all of one goal since the start of last season.
- In the span of four minutes Wednesday night, Alex Sandro scored two goals.
- In conclusion: Football!
- Every time they showed Federico Chiesa sitting on the bench he looked like the puppy who wants to go play with its friends but knows it can’t because he’s being trained on a leash. Chiesa clearly doesn’t want to be sitting there out injured as his team is playing, and the fact that he looked so completely uncomfortable sitting on the bench was proof. Hopefully when Juve play over the weekend, Chiesa’s really only on the bench for a couple of minutes because he’s been subbed off late in the second half after another standout performance.
- Paulo Dybala almost scored a goal with his right foot. No, seriously. It would have happened if not for a very good kick save by Simone Colombi. (Probably one of the few good things Colombi did in that game, by the way.)
- On top of the game-clinching goal that he scored — his first of the season, by the way! — Matthijs de Ligt had EIGHT clearances against Parma. That’s a lot.
- Arthur had some rough moments against Parma, but that goal-line clearance in the second half looks pretty damn important knowing how the rest of the game played out.
- Another game, another couple of assists for Juan Cuadrado. The man just keeps on racking up assists like they’re going out of style. He’s never had so many assists in a single season than he has this season, and he’s absolutely blowing past his previous career high in all competitions. There have been plenty of issues with Pirlo’s squad, but Cuadrado has shown time and time again that he is not one of them.
- Juventus now make the trip to Florence to face Fiorentina this weekend. DO NOT remind me how the last time those two teams played one another went. I’ve decided that is so far back in the schedule that it’s been pushed completely out of my brain.
- Juventus not faceplanting against a bad Serie A team — that’s good!