On Sunday, league leaders Juventus hosted Bologna in Turin and prevailed by a score of 3-0 thanks to a Gonzalo Higuain brace and a Paulo Dybala penalty.
Here’s how we rated their performances.
Norberto Neto (6.0): The Brazilian keeper deputized for Buffon and did what was asked from him. Neto could have assumed his regular position on the bench and would have received just as much action as his defence closed down every threat Bologna posed.
Stephan Lichtsteiner (6.0): After a rough end to 2016 and with transfer rumours circling about his future, Lichtsteiner needed a good performance. While the Swiss international didn’t have the best of games and turned the ball over needlessly on many occasions, his lung-bursting run to burn Adam Masina on Juve’s third goal, was vintage Lichtsteiner. Juventus will be asking for more of that going into the new year.
Andrea Barzagli (6.5): The Juventus defender closed down plenty of Bologna’s attacks and along with Chiellini, reduced Mattia Destro to a complete non-factor in this game. Business as usual for Barzagli and co. at the back tonight.
Giorgio Chiellini (6.5): Like his defensive partner, Chiellini put in a typically solid performance and offered the visitors nothing in the final third. Gave away some cheap fouls to Bologna’s tricky wingers, however, nothing really come from them.
Kwadwo Asamoah (6.0): With Patrice Evra left out of the squad due to his imminent departure, Asamoah stepped into left back and was solid but unspectacular. Made one particularly nice recovery run on Godfred Donsah in the first half, which set the tone for the rest of his performance. As Alex Sandro nears his return to the pitch, the Ghanaian might just prove to be an ideal backup and a marginal improvement over Evra.
Sami Khedira (6.0): An improved performance for the Germany international as he got the better of Blerim Dzemaili and had a positive impact on the game. While recently he’s gotten criticism for not influencing games, Khedira played an integral role in Juventus’ third goal and got forward with success regularly. More games like this are needed from him if the Italian champions are to push on in Europe.
Claudio Marchisio (6.5): Not many players can do what Marchisio does for this Juventus side and it continues to show week in, week out. When he’s not dropping back to make a timely interception or block, Marchisio is at the heart of the midfield dictating tempo. Where would the bianconeri be without him pulling the strings?
Stefano Sturaro (6.0): The former Genoa midfielder offered some much needed dynamism in the midfield and made a few important tackles in the defensive third. Outside of the penalty he won, however, the Juventus man left a lot to be desired in the final third as his limited technical ability continues to plague him. All in all, a decent performance from Sturaro.
Miralem Pjanic (7.0): The Bosnian thrived behind Dybala and Higuain tonight and registered his seventh assist of the season on Juve’s first goal with a perfectly executed lob. Like Khedira, Pjanic has gone invisible at times, however, this was not the case tonight. As Pjanic, Higuain and Dybala continue to build an understanding with one another, the bianconeri’s frontline continues to look scarier.
Paulo Dybala (7.0): Fresh off his penalty miss in the Supercoppa against Milan, Dybala was eager to get on the scoresheet. Once Sturaro was taken down for the penalty, the Juventus man immediately stepped up to take it and slotted it home expertly. Judging by the expression on his face and celebration, tonight’s goal clearly meant a lot to him. Dybala scared lots of Juventus fans when he went down clutching the same hip flexor that kept him out of action earlier in the year, however, the injury proved to be nothing serious.
Gonzalo Higuain (7.0): A true striker’s brace for Higuain tonight as the former Napoli man made a brilliant run for his first and was in the right place at the right time for his second. It’s almost needless to say that he’s looked infinitely better with Dybala alongside him than Mandzukic, as demonstrated tonight. With five goals in his last three games, the Argentine is heating up at a crucial stage in the season.
Juan Cuadrado (6.0): Came on for Pjanic in the second half and added some speed to Juventus’ front line. That being said, his end product was lacking at times.
Mario Mandzukic (N/A): After coming on for Higuain, the Croatian didn’t really have an impact on the game.
Tomas Rincon (N/A): Tomas ‘El General’ Rincon made his Juventus debut coming on for Khedira late in the second half and had a few neat touches. By that same token, he didn’t have enough time to truly demonstrate what he’s capable of.
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