Juventus in the last half a dozen games? Six wins, six clean sheets.
That has been the story of a season that domestically at least has been completely turned on its head after a miserable start that looked like a fall to midtable mediocrity was in store after myriad injuries and indifferent performances plagued the team.
Instead, they go into the early winter break — for some global tournament or other FIFA shenanigans, who knows — sitting in third place only two points off defending champions AC Milan, and ten off the otherworldly Napoli who are threatening to break the league points record (also set by Juve).
Today’s tidy dispatching of Lazio 3-0 in Turin had a bit of everything that this recent avatar of Juventus is becoming known for - industrious youth, veteran savvy, goals when required and a suddenly tightened defence.
Speaking after the statement win today, coach Massimiliano Allegri commended his side for their performance.
“The lads did well, especially after a tough month. It was not easy against Lazio, we had the patience to close their passing channels, allowing them practically nothing until the final minutes.
“We raised the technical quality of the squad when introducing players like Di Maria, Chiesa and Paredes once Lazio had run out of steam and we controlled the ball well.”
On one hand Allegri will be relieved for the break especially with the long list of walking wounded, but at the same time with the form his side are in, he would have wanted more games to play too.
“We have too many players with question marks over them and now we have the opportunity to get them back fully fit, for example Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba. We needed this break to have a breather.
“I think when we do resume, there will be a game every three days, we will try to go all the way in the Europa League and there will be space for everyone to give their contribution.
“Substitutions become decisive now too, as the final 30 minutes become a different game.”
There was a shift in tactics from Allegri with Adrien Rabiot closer to Manuel Locatelli to keep dangerman Sergej Milinkovic-Savic quiet, and it resulted in the sixth clean sheet in a row for the team that already led the league with the least goals conceded.
“The whole team works hard, that is why we have the best defensive record. The spirit has improved, it helps to win and create momentum.
“I would’ve been angry if we conceded in the final minute tonight, so keeping these clean sheets is another step.”
Moise Kean has endured some issues in the last couple of seasons, but he has struck a rich vein of form too and nabbed a brace today.
“He is far more balanced mentally, as when you are young and he is so exuberant, it all gets a bit much. He is working hard, he weighs 5-6kg less than last season and you can see he has a different mental approach.”
What had Allegri changed fundamentally to cause such a turnaround in fortunes for the Bianconeri?
“I don’t like giving explanations in football, as things can change so quickly from one day to the next. Football is simple really, you have to win games, there are different ways of doing that. I can only thank the lads for their performances.”
Is a Scudetto dream even possible, especially given the searing pace Napoli are setting at the top of the table?
“Napoli are having their own separate season with a remarkable pace. I don’t think the Scudetto can be won with less than 90 points this year.
“We’re a long way behind. Just six rounds ago, nobody believed we would be third in the table, so that is a step forward. Now we need to recharge our batteries and be ready to resume in January.”