Juventus vs Pescara: Bianconeri Seem Liberated and the 10 Things We Learned
Perhaps losing to Inter wasn't such a bad thing after all.
It was a stunning display by the Bianconeri, who have looked like a completely different team since seeing their unbeaten streak snapped.
In this article, we'll take a look at what has changed and discuss what we learned from tonight's massacre.
Did Loss to Inter Liberate the Bianconeri?
It sure looks that way.
Mind you, we have to take into account that the two wins since that game came against inferior opponents. Nordsjaelland clearly aren't a European powerhouse and Pescara are a newly promoted team that lost most of its top players during the summer transfer window.
Still, the performances of the Bianconeri have been astonishing.
Juventus are playing the kind of free-flowing football we haven't seen since the win against AS Roma.
The pressure seems to be gone, and instead the Bianconeri are letting the ball do the work. There is a creativity to the game of Juve we hadn't seen all season.
Gone is the trademark "get the ball to the wing and fire in a cross."
Instead, the team is choosing to attack defenses right up the middle, and with great success. They are slicing apart opposing teams with crisp passing and timely runs, and creating space for the wingers to actually deliver quality crosses.
The result: 10 goals in two games.
Before the game against Inter, Juve had looked slow. A slow, passing team that waits for the other team to make a mistake or for a ball to fall in the right place.
Suddenly, they look fast. Like, really fast.
Everyone seems to be open pretty much all the time, and defenses can't seem to figure out where the ball is going to go next.
If this is the new Juventus, the rest of the Serie A is doomed.
Quagliarella Finding His Form
I've said this a thousand times before: Fabio Quagliarella is the best option the Bianconeri have when it comes to scoring goals.
And with enough minutes and a renewed confidence, he seems to be finding his form again.
It's not just about the three goals (more on one of those later.)
He's looking sharp and his movement has been excellent in the last two games. He's using every inch of space defenses are giving him, and creating tons of space for himself and his teammates.
On top of that, his finishing has been top notch.
Juventus have been looking for one of their strikers to step up, and Quagliarella seems to be doing just that. Combined with the energiser bunny that is Sebastian Giovinco, the Bianconeri might have found the answer to their biggest question.
Who Needs Strikers If Everyone Can Score?
How do you win a title without a striker that is capable of scoring 30+ goals in a season?
Make sure everyone else on the pitch can score four or five.
The scoring potential of this team is incredible. It seems like every single player on the field is more than capable of finishing any ball the team throws at him.
Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Kwadwo Asamoah, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Paul Pogba: all these guys seem to have a composure in front of goal that is very rare. To have so many players capable of finding the net at any given moment in support of your strikers is a luxury not many teams have.
In fact, I can't think of any at the moment.
Conte Cares About Discipline and Character
Speaking of Paul Pogba, fans might be wondering why he didn't make an appearance in this game.
It's really simple: he didn't travel to Pescara with the team.
He was punished by Antonio Conte for arriving at practise late. Twice.
Goal.com reported he and his agent weren't too pleased with that. Let's hope that doesn't linger.
The incident does point out how much of a premium Antonio Conte places on discipline and high character guys. In an age of whining divas and players pretending they're untouchable, it's refreshing to see a coach stamp down his authority.
Stadiums in Italy Aren't Always Empty
Who says people don't go to the stadiums anymore in Italy?
Pescara's Stadio Adriatico was packed for this game, and the atmosphere was amazing.
Never mind the beating their team took, the fans were just happy to get to watch a team of this calibre at their home ground. They applauded every Juventus goal and kept making noise.
A fantastic display by these fans.
Giovinco Was Fantastic (And I'm Not Above Admitting That)
If you're a regular reader of my articles, you know I've been really disapointed with Sebastian Giovinco so far this season. I'm usually a staunch critic of Giovinco, but tonight he was fantastic.
Not because he scored, mind you. Even though it was a great goal.
His runs and his passing are what stood out for me. He was very active and lively as always, but contrary to recent weeks, everything he did was actually useful.
He wasn't just a handful for the defense because he claimed a lot of balls, but because he was dangerous every time he touched one. His runs opened up space for other players, which is exactly why Giovinco was brought into the team. His passing was sharp and one of the reasons Juve scored five times before the break.
On top of that, he was confident in front of goal and could have scored three or four times.
His hard work really shone today, for all the right reasons. Giovinco played his best game of the season, and if he can play up to these standards every week, he'll make a believer out of me real soon.
This Team Is Ready for the Big Weeks Ahead
Have you taken a look at the upcoming schedule already?
If not, here it is:
Yeah, that's pretty heavy.
The next few weeks will be crucial for Juventus, with the top position in the Serie A table and a ticket to the next round of the UEFA Champions League at stake.
Juventus will need to be at their very best to be successful, but right now, that seems to be the case. The loss to Inter seems like a distant memory, and Juve is focused on the task at hand.
Italian Football Can Be Very Entertaining
So, Italians only play defense?
The seven goals don't even tell the whole story. Pescara actually had three or four really good chances, with Juan Quintero (If Juventus are serious about buying this kid, they have my blessing) hitting the upright with a free kick and players like Vladimir Weiss and Matti Nielsen; showing they can play some really good football.
Juventus could have scored 10 goals if they wanted.
This was a great game to watch, whether you were a fan or not. We saw some beautiful football and amazing goals.
I mean, two bicycle kicks in one game?
Juventus Are Still Favourites for the Serie A Title
Sure, Inter are playing some great football. Napoli have a good team. Roma can score with the best of them.
Make no mistake, Juventus are still the clear favourites to repeat as champions.
Top to bottom, no team has the same quality and depth as the Bianconeri. Gianluigi Buffon is still one of the top goalkeepers in the world, the defensive situation is as solid as can be, the midfield might just be the best in the world and the attack is starting to find its groove.
The title is Juve's to lose, simple as that.
Mauricio Isla Making Life Hard on Antonio Conte
I'm a huge fan of Stephan Lichtsteiner, and I can't envision a scenario where Mauricio Isla replaces him on the right wing.
Nonetheless, you have to be impressed with the play of the Chilean.
Isla is not perfect, but he brings the same hustle and energy to the table that we're used to seeing from Lichtsteiner. His defensive work is at a slightly lower level, but his crossing and penetration have been great in the past two games.
As a coach, I'd be hard pressed to ignore Isla's great form in favour of the Swiss international who's play has been less than perfect so far this season. It will be interesting to see who gets the nod against Lazio.
Goal of the Year?
I don't think I could describe this goal by Fabio Quagliarella in any way and do it enough justice.
Somebody please upload a video to Youtube or something so I can put it in the top window.
For now, you'll have to visit this link to see this amazing piece of athletic ability and timing.
Edit: Video has now been added to the article. You're welcome.