At long last, a game in which we could sit back and not stress all that much.
At least outside of a couple of minutes.
That’s the beauty of jumping into the Coppa Italia when Juventus has the last few years. Because it’s the round of 16, the likelihood of playing a team that is not very good at all is very much a possibility. And that’s what happened when Sampdoria came rolling into Turin on Tuesday night, entrenched in a slump that has seen Roberto D’Aversa essentially be fired for the second time this season.
At the final whistle of Juve’s 4-1 win at Allianz Stadium, it was very much a case of one team being vastly superior to the other. It wasn’t the craziness that was when the two teams met for the first time this season back in late-September. Far from it, really. This was the kind of refreshing, comfortable or any kind of other adjective that you want to insert into this space kind of win that we’ve rarely seen from Juventus this season. There was no hole-ing up after going up a goal and then sitting on that lead. Instead, you could tell that Juve wanted to add onto their lead — and then some.
What a welcome change, right?
And secondly, why can’t it be like that more of the time?
It’s one game against a struggling side that is four points out of the relegation zone. But, man, that was nice to see. Seriously, it was refreshing. Juventus don’t win games in that kind of way often — especially under a manager like Max Allegri (even though he technically wasn’t managing) who tends to be more on the conservative side when in the lead rather than pushing for more.
But on this night, after Juan Cuadrado scored Juve’s first goal from a free kick in months and months and months, there was a push for more. Maybe that second goal should have come in the first half rather than through a Daniele Rugani header seven minutes into the second half, but the second goal happened. Maybe the second time Juve needed to go up by two goals should have never happened because that meant Sampdoria scored, but Paulo Dybala was the right man at the right time after Samp’s defense made a massive mistake five minutes after he came onto the field.
(And yes, for the record, he did celebrate a whole lot more than he did over the weekend and it was a nice change from the discourse we’ve been having since Saturday night.)
No matter what, though, Juventus won a game and advanced in the Coppa Italia, did so with plenty of room to spare rather than scraping by with just enough and they now go into the showdown with AC Milan this weekend looking to be in pretty good shape.
This was expected. This weekend’s result will be a completely different story.
Either way, we’ve seen Juve’s attack wake up a little bit over the last few games — and yes, I know the opposition sucks, just go with me — and that’s better than what we’ve been able to say a good portion of this season.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- Juventus is undefeated in games “managed” by Marco Landucci this season. #OptaBWRAO
- Juventus has also scored four goals in both of the games “managed” by Marco Landucci this season. #OptaBWRAO
- JUVENTUS SCORED FROM A FREE KICK. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
- Death, taxes and Alex Sandro showing up late to mark his man on the far post before the opposition scores a couple of seconds later.
- Of course it was Sampdoria’s first shot on goal, too. Of course.
- If it ain’t him being offside, it’s VAR keeping Alvaro Morata off the scoresheet in the first half. And then him not finishing a chance right before halftime with so much of the goal wide open. Love the guy, but Alvaro gonna Alvaro.
- Plus, you know, it is pretty fitting that a backup keeper like Wladimiro Falcone goes and makes impressive save after impressive save like he did in the first half.
- Apologies if you were looking forward to seeing Emil Audero’s impressive jaw line, by the way.
- Juventus had nine corner kicks in the first half. That’s a lot.
- Playing Arthur in such a deep-lying role allowed Manuel Locateli to get further forward much in the same way that he did during the comeback against Roma two weekends ago. That was, definitely, nice to see, and if Arthur actually does end up staying this month and doesn’t head off to jolly old England, then this could be — hopefully? — something we see more of in the second half of the season. Just keep passing it forward, Art.
- It was nice to have Danilo back in the starting lineup. And while it was more of out of necessity rather than choice, it was interesting to see him playing as an out-and-out central defender. That might be something to pay attention of note.
- Daniele Rugani, scorer of game-winning goals, has started five games to begin the calendar year of 2022 and Juventus has three wins, one draw and one loss over that span. Not bad.
- Boy oh boy is Marley Aké fast. Like FAST FAST. So fast that he wins a penalty on what was his second or third touch after coming on. That boy can fly.
- I feel bad for Kaio Jorge because this is the kind of game that, if he didn’t start, then he should have played more than 10 meaningless minutes where Juve’s basically coasting because they’re up by three goals.
- Honestly, this should have been a lot more than just a 4-1 win, right? Like Juve could have had four goals by halftime, right? Sometimes you just have that many opportunities.
- And Juventus did, outshooting Sampdoria 27-4. Fifteen of those shots were on goal.
- Basically what I am trying to say is that four goals seems like the low end of what Juventus could have finished with in this game. I know that’s being greedy after a comfortable Juve win, but that’s just what happens when you TWENTY-SEVEN SHOTS.