After last week’s loss to Roma, 3 points at home to Siena is a must. While Napoli did us a favor in drawing Sampdoria, they still earned a point and inched closer to us, while alleviating their schedule by crashing out of the Europa League. Seriously, they totally didn’t lose 5-0 on aggregate on purpose so that they can focus solely on Serie A. They were in it to win it.
Later this week Juventus head south to visit Napoli in a Friday fixture, facing Champions League duties next week in March. While considered outsiders for the UEFA Champions League this season, Juventus could be a dark horse for the trophy if they are able to maintain fitness and form for their key players. If you’d like to place a bet on sports such as football, wageronsports.com offers a complete easy-to-use guide on how to place online bets, including college football betting strategy. The second leg against Celtic will be played in Turin on Wednesday 6th March.
MATCH ANALYSIS by John Cascarano
Juventus lined up in the standard 3-5-2. Antonio Conte would have to wait at least one more week to start Giorgio Chiellini, who is just returning to fitness after a couple of months out injured. Federico Peluso started in his place on the left side of defense with Martin Caceres, who had been in good form, picking up a minor injury during the week.
In midfield, my personal teen idol Paul Pogba replaced the “injured” Arturo Vidal (seriously, he was totally not fit and had nothing to do with him sitting on a yellow card with Napoli coming up next week).
Meanwhile the strike partnership was comprised of Mirko Vucinic and Sebastian Giovinco. While Alessandro Matri had been in good form, Conte went with creativity up front to try and unlock Siena, giant-killers of late, who undoubtedly would look to defend first, and counter second.
3’ From the get-go, Juventus has been controlling possession, as expected, and creating chances. They need to score quickly so that they can capitalize on this and not tire out later on.
4’ Chance for Leonardo Bonucci in the middle of the box, which he completely swung and missed. Nice Alex Rodriguez impersonation.
6’ Giovinco with a nice run of play, doing what he does best and drawing a foul. Free kick right outside the area, and what happened? Well, i’m not 100% sure since Rai made the screen really small to show Atalanta’s goal against Roma. But it looked just wide from what I could see.
More chances for Juventus culminate in a corner kick, and at that moment Roma just *has* to frickin score again, and so I have no idea why this corner kick was flubbed.
15’ After a neat give-and-go Stephan Lichtsteiner takes an ambitious chip from the edge of the box which is just over the crossbar. Immediately followed by another neat build up of play with Giovinco’s cross unfortunately captured by Pegolo, and almost immediately thereafter the another run of passing between he and Vucinic end with nobody to be found to be the beneficiary of the tiki-taka-esque passing in the box. A predictable Siena counter-attack was immediately snuffed out. This game under control for sure, but a goal is needed.
21’ and another ambitious shot from outside, this time by Claudio Marchisio, is pushed wide by a diving save by Pegolo.
Juventus need to score soon, as the more time which passes with Pegolo playing out of his mind – which is what other keepers tend to do versus Juventus (i.e. Marchetti) – the harder it’s going to be. It’s almost like in NBA Jam for Sega Genesis, I can just hear Dick Vitale’s voice in my head right now… “He’s heating up…”
23’ Beautiful through pass by Vucinic to somehow thread the needle to Giovinco in traffic, who shoots with his left foot to the near post, and is denied by Pegolo.
24’ Yellow card Della Rocca, for a hard, dare I say cynical foul on Giovinco. A deserved booking, and yellow, as he was not in a clear-cut scoring opportunity. The resulting free kick leads to a nice lobbed pass to a Vucinic header, and a Siena player nearly doing us a favor and knocking Pegolo out for us with knee-to-knee contact. But neither a goal or a keeper sub were meant to be.
30’ GOAL, JUVENTUS – Finalmente!!! Lichtsteiner, making a trademark run into the right side of the box to receive a lead pass from Pirlo. Although Pegolo got to it first (duh!), the Swiss Express stayed with it, and was able to collect the rebound off the keeper’s sliding rebound, and knee the ball over the line. JUVENTUS 1-0 Siena.
35’ Marchisio to Asamoah, to Pogba, and the young French idol misses a perfect opportunity to put the scoreline at 2-0.
39’ Yellow card Bonucci, and a deserved one for a hard foul.
And…the match limps into halftime. A couple of thoughts:
Lichtsteiner has had a strong first half, bombing up and down the right side and scoring a goal. I’ve heard people call his goal “lucky,” and perhaps the fact that he converted with his knee was a bit fortuitous. But the goal was a perfect example of why anyone teaching youth soccer should stress the importance of hussle, hard work, finishing one’s runs, and chasing rebounds. It was more a testament to Stefan’s work ethic and style rather than luck. I’ve always said that the harder I work, the luckier I am. Lichtsteiner deserved that goal.
Pogba looked strong in the Vidal role, but he should have been more clinical after that pass from Asamoah.
Speaking of Asamoah, he has looked better and better as he gets back into the swing of things post AFCON. I liked what I saw from him thus far, and having a true left-footed player on that wing (albeit not a per se true left wing back), is something that has been missing.
Speaking of the left side, I can’t wait for Chiellini to come back. I would have liked to see Luca Marrone get some minutes today, although this Peluso guy is actually playing pretty well. Besides, he’s more of a left-side player than Mr. Brown is, a typical vice-Bonucci himself. Oh shit, I just jinxed it with Peluso, didn’t I?
Vucinic looks good, making nice passes and seemingly all over the final third of the pitch. Giovinco has not been great, but I think that a lot of the hate for him on Twitter right now is a bit over exaggerated. He can stand to make himself a bit more involved, but he’s not completely anonymous. And if *I’m* sticking up for the pocket poacher, that’s saying something.
I also want to be attracted to Simona Rolandi on Rai Sport really badly, but my wife once told me that she reminds her of one of my cousins. Fantasy ruined.
Anyway, onto the second half!
49’ A dangerous corner kick by Siena carroms around the box way more than I am comfortable with.
51’ Barzagli continues to be a wall. Best defender in Serie A over the past year, by far.
58’ A beautiful run down the right side by Giovinco, and a cross to Vucinic, but the Montenegrin just could not get to it in time. The run of play was so fast, that would have been a difficult cross/conversion for anyone.
60’ Vucinic asks for an ambitious penalty, immediately before Juventus get the ball back and Andrea Pirlo tries yet another ambitious shot from outside the box for Juventus, this time one of his famous cucchiaio chip shots. Just wide.
64’ SUB, JUV - Matri on for Vucinic. Interesting choice of substitution, as Vucinic was clearly the better of the two up front. Meanwhile, SUB, SIE - Nicola Pozzi for Francesco Valiani.
66’ An in-swinging cross into the Juventus box looks dangerous, but is tidied up by Pogba, who then draws a foul further up the field on a counter attack.
68’ Chiellini starting to warm up. Is it possible we could see him feature today?
Oh good. Another score in the Atalanta/Roma match. I care so much about both of these teams. Thanks, Rai.
71’ Terlizza versus Giovinco. LOL.
73’ GOAL JUVENTUS! Beautiful lead pass by Asamoah on the left side, and a beautiful left footed high shot, near post, by Sebastian Giovinco! How that went in, I have no idea, but that is a much deserved, and much needed second goal. JUVENTUS 2-0 SIENA!
75’ Gorgeous save by Buffon, to tape the ball into the crossbar! Seemed to have a word with some tifosi behind him in the curva, is that where the Siena fans are?
76’ SUB, JUV - Here comes Kaiser! Giorgio Chiellini on for Kwadwo Asamoah, meaning that Chiellini will undoubtedly swap spots with Peluso, who will move out wide to left wing back – where he belongs.
79’ Giovinco is limping, and looks hurt. Hopefully it is not too serious, and it doesn’t look it by what little I can tell. Oh wait, he’s back out there in the middle of play. At any rate, it wouldn’t shock me to see Anelka or Quagliarella soon.
81’ SUB, JUV - Well, I was half-right. Out goes Giovinco, in comes Giaccherini. Interesting to see how the team will line up from here on out. 4-3-3 perhaps?
DAMNIT I DON’T CARE THAT CATANIA SCORED AGAINST PARMA, AND HOW MANY EFFING TIMES DO YOU NEED TO SHOW THE REPLAY?!
84’ And ANOTHER nice save by Buffon. And this was followed by an absolutely ridiculous run of play, with Siena not giving up, continuing to attack, with Terlizzi smacking the post off of a volley. Buffon must be beside himself right now.
89’ GOAL JUVENTUS! Paul Pogba for a classic Teenaged Mutant Ninja Pogba goal, with a low shot from outside the box into the far corner.
Game. Set. Match. Man, I can’t wait til the number 6 away shirt I ordered comes in!
LE PAGELLE by John Cascarano
Gianluigi Buffon 8.0 - Although Siena were never really in the game until it was 2-0, San Gigi made sure that they would not even earn a consolation goal. Had an overall great day. Dare I say man of the match, a keeper, after a 3-0 win? You know what, I will. He’s had so little to do at most points this year, he stepped up big today to preserve the clean sheet.
Andrea Barzagli 8.0 - Owned the left side. Wall. Quintessential Barzagli.
Leonardo Bonucci 7.0 - Controlled the center of defense quite well. Another performance for which Boner is becoming known for.
Federico Peluso 6.5 - Not bad from Federico, either as a left-sided center back or as a left wingback. He’s slowly getting used to the weight of the black and white shirt, it seems.
Kwadwo Asamoah 6.5 - He’s looking better and better every match post-AFCON. And this good fortune cannot come too soon for Juventus.
77′ Giorgio Chiellini 6.0 - Did not have too much to do after he came on late in the second half, but Kaiser got himself some much-needed minutes. When called upon, did his job. I was tempted to give him an sv, but he deserved an above-average grade.
Paul Pogba 7.5 - Did well as Vidal’s understudy. Was unfortunate to miss what should have been the second goal, and would have put a nail in Siena’s coffin in the first half. Made up for it later, albeit at a far less crucial moment.
Andrea Pirlo 7.0 - Did his job dispersing the ball, nothing more, nothing less.
Claudio Marchisio 7.5 - Claudio being Claudio. Was everywhere, as usual, and while Juventus was in possession in Siena’s half, his off the ball movements constantly worried their defense.
Stephan Lichtsteiner 7.0 - Lichtsteiner owned the right side and broke the deadlock with what would be the winning goal.
Mirko Vucinic 7.5 - Had a very strong first half, dribbling and passing, and making things happen in the final third. Was definitely better than Giovinco, and I was confused as to why he was the one yanked for Matri early on.
65′ Alessandro Matri 6.0 - Made his runs and held up play.
Sebastian Giovinco 7.0 - Granted he was not *great* in the first half, and was definitely the inferior of the two strikers up front, but I still don’t think he was terrible. Became much more involved in the second half, and got himself on the scoresheet with a crucial second goal.
81′ Emanuele Giaccherini s.v. - I was surprised to see him come on in lieu of Quagliarella or Anelka.
Antonio Conte 8.0 - Conte successfully motivated a fatigued team after a toothless loss, and his tactics were spot on.
ANALYSIS WRAP-UP by John Cascarano
Prior to the game, Antonio Conte stressed that each match is as important as the next, and noted that in the past five rounds, Siena defeated Inter and Lazio. He also stressed the importance of this match, and for the tifosi to show up strong. The fans clearly responded, singing and chanting Antonio Conte’s name early on. Perhaps more importantly, the team did as well.
Having got some badly needed rest – 7 full days between matches this week – the team certainly looked fresher and played like they were. They controlled the game, save for a few scary moments scattered throughout the match, which were easily handled by the back line, Buffon, or both. Indeed, Conte’s motivational skills cannot be understated, as Juventus passed this test, the first of 13 remaining “World Cup Finals.”
An emphatic 3-0 is just what the doctor ordered to settle the team down from last week’s disappointment, as they prepare for a crucial fixture at the San Paolo on Friday.
ANTONIO CONTE IL NOSTRO CAPITANO!
Juventus 3-0 Siena – All 3 Goal plus Full Video Highlights