A Saturday evening clash between a couple of Serie A giants did not fail to impress as reigning champions Juventus welcomed a tricky Lazio side to Juventus Stadium.
Andrea Pirlo’s Juve may have arguably played their best match of the season on Saturday and what impressed me the most was the way they played as a team! With multiple players out, the squad was able to pull together and play as one!
The Bianconeri started very sluggish and it looked like we were in for a long night.
An early turnover by Dejan Kulusevski led to Joaquin Correa’s opening goal in the 14th minute. Juve continued to look very disorganized for the next little while.
But then in the 39th minute things looked to turn around. A great run by Adrien Rabiot who was then fed in the box, picked out the top of Pepe Reina’s goal making no mistake and nodding things up at 1. The rest of the half Juve continued to look good, even though Lazio still created some chances.
The Bianconeri started the second half much like they finished the first, on the front foot. Then finally, in the 57th minute an incredible interception, run and pass by Federico Chiesa led to Alvaro Morata’s cool, calm finish for his first goal of the evening.
Just three minutes later Dejan Kulusevski made up for his earlier blunder by finding a streaking Aaron Ramsey in the box who was then clumsily brought down in the box by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Morata stepped up to the spot and made no mistake slotting it home for the third and final goal.
Wojciech Szczesny – 7.5: Nothing he could do on the goal but was solid when he was tested.
Juan Cuadrado – 6: Not his most influential game. Definitely looked rusty.
Danilo – 7.5: Was solid in his CB/CDM role. Made some key interceptions and held possession well for the most part.
Merih Demiral – 7: Was not tested too much, but was solid when needed.
Alex Sandro – 7: Other than his clumsy elbow/forearm to Correa’s head (which he was lucky not to get booked for), Sandro was cool, calm and collected in his CB position.
Federico Chiesa – 8.5: Cannot say enough good things about this kid! Always running, always looking to create and take players on. Almost scored an incredible goal but that did not stop him, as he was integral in Morata’s first goal with a lovely interception and pass.
Adrien Rabiot – 8: Probably his best game all season! We finally got him to make those long striding runs and picked out the top of the net perfectly on his goal. Need to see more of this!
Aaron Ramsey – 7: Ramsey was quiet for the most part but was good in possession and made a very clever play when winning the penalty.
Federico Bernardeschi – 7.5: Another impressive match for Bernardeschi. Played his left-back role very well and was sound defensively. Got involved with the attack and delivered some good balls into the box.
Dejan Kulusevski – 6: Was to blame for the Lazio goal with a poor turnover but after that the young Swede settled. Always attempted to get involved and took players on. Was the one to found Ramsey when he was taken down in the box. Still room to grow for Kulusevski, but is a great creative and tricky player to have!
Alvaro Morata – 9: A monstrous second half from the Spaniard. Two crucial goals, was great in his holdup play and continued to press high up the pitch.
Subs: Ronaldo: 5, Arthur: 5, McKennie: 5, Bonucci: 5.5, Di Pardo: n/a
Pepe Reina – 5: When he was tested, he was beaten.
Adam Marusic – 6.5: Quietly was one of Lazio’s better players, playing slightly out of his normal position as the right-centre back.
Wesley Hoedt – 5: Arguably should have had a penalty against him for a hand in the box and overall just could not contain Morata on the second goal.
Francesco Acerbi – 6.5: Always makes galloping runs into attack but nothing came of it. Deserves respect for always giving 100%.
Senad Lulic – 4.5: Well past his time, invisible.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – 5.5: Probably one of the worst games I have seen the young midfielder play. Gave up the penalty, hit a crossbar. Just was not his day.
Lucas Leiva – 4.5: Quiet.
Luis Alberto – 5: Not his usual magical self. Looked discouraged.
Mohamed Fares – 5.5: Made some great runs going forward and arguably had a couple chances he probably should have scored.
Joaquin Correa – 7: Probably Lazio’s only bright spot today. Took his goal well and was tricky to contain.
Ciro Immobile – 4.5: No service, no real chances. Not a good day for Ciro at all.
Player of the Game:
MOTM for me could be easily given to a handful of players today. The likes of Danilo stepping up in a unique position, Chiesa always creating something out of nothing and an incredible play on Juventus’ second goal, Bernardeschi with another solid outing, Rabiot stepping up in a big game all deserve praise, however Alvaro Morata deserves the MOTM shout. Two big goals in the second half, leading the front by example and after just coming back from an illness, a truly inspirational match from him. Back to back solid games for Morata, hopefully we will see much of the same on Tuesday against Porto!