Juventus 3-1 Inter Milan: 6 Things We Learned
Juve took another step closer to a third successive scudetto with an emphatic 3-1 victory over Derby d'Italia rivals Inter on Sunday.
The Bianconeri strolled to victory and led 3-0 with goals from Stephan Lichtsteiner, Giorgio Chiellini and Arturo Vidal.
Inter were abject and hopeless at the back, but they managed to reduces the deficit through a Rolando goal, but it was too little, too late.
Here are six things we learned.
Pirlo Merits Extension
Andrea Pirlo was magnificent on Sunday against Inter and proved once again why he deserves to receive an extension to his deal that expires in June.
The Azzurri legend was in fine form against the Nerazzurri, spraying passes all over the pitch.
The ball he played into the path of Lichtsteiner was sensational, and Italian commentary described it as half a goal, due to the little work that the Swiss international had to do once he arrived into the penalty area.
Pirlo's game time will need to be managed, but if he can continue to put in 10 or so performances of this calibre, he will have two or three good years remaining in his glittering career.
Asamoah Continues to Frustrate with Good and Bad Moments
Kwadwo Asamoah is not totally comfortable on the left flank, but Antonio Conte trusts the Ghanaian to play out wide.
It has to be said that Asamoah blows hot and cold, and his position remains a weak point of the team.
Often his hesitancy will slow a move down and stagnate momentum created by the perfect timing of a Pirlo pass.
On other occasions, Asamoah can inject a burst of pace into a move and force the opponents to gift possession back with his relentless pressing.
It remains to be seen whether Asamoah is a player who can fully establish himself in this position and provide a bit more composure to help the 3-5-2 system succeed in Europe.
It is also possible that Conte will continue to search for a left-sided player with more guile than Asamoah, despite the continued great results.
Nagatomo Does Not Offer Enough from the Left in the 3-5-2
Yuto Nagatomo fails to offer enough from the left side of Inter's formation, which could part of the reason as to why Walter Mazzarri signed Danilo D'Ambrosio last month.
The Japanese international is as fit as they come and works tremendously hard for the team, but Inter must require more if they are to improve on their mediocre current position (sixth).
Often Nagatomo ignores teammates and fails to get his head up when he dribbles forward, isolating himself from other options.
It is not to say Nagatomo cannot be useful to the team, but in the current setup, Nagatomo is not suited, so a change in personnel or a change in system must be implemented to benefit Inter's left wing.
Hernanes Might Be Best off Being Deployed in a Deep Role
Hernanes was unable to play on Sunday, but once his paperwork is cleared on Monday and he is ready to play for Inter, Walter Mazzarri must decide where to deploy the Brazilian.
The former Lazio star was most seen in advanced areas, often as the Biancocelesti's trequartista, but it could be quite different when he pulls on a blue-and-black shirt.
Inter are bare in the midfield due to an injury to Esteban Cambiassio and the drama surrounding Fredy Guarin's non-move away from the club during January.
Hernanes has impressed in a deep role for Brazil, probably due to a wealth of options further up the pitch for the Selecao; however, this could also be his future for Inter.
Because Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Saphir Taider and Mateo Kovacic could not hold on to the ball, their defence was constantly under severe pressure from a relentless Juve outfit.
If Hernanes can be the bedrock of a possession-based game, Inter will begin to improve.
Kovacic Is Not Ready to Flourish for a Club of Inter's Size
Mateo Kovacic is a wonderful talent, but his Inter career has yet to take off.
The Croatian is lauded as one of the best young players in Europe, but I feel that he is burdened by the expectations and the weight of the shirt, rather than being overwhelmed by the competition he is up against.
Mazzarri has given the player plenty of opportunities, too, but having failed to show any encouraging signs that he can develop with Inter, the time for a change could be close.
A loan move would be preferable, because a permanent deal could come back to haunt Inter.
Kovacic needs a guaranteed place, perhaps with more assurances surrounding his place in the team. While he makes plenty of appearances for Inter, he cannot be guaranteed a start, let alone a starring role.
Osvaldo's World Cup Place Could Be in Doubt Without Games Here
Pablo Osvaldo may have jumped at the chance to play for the Italian champions, but it could prove a tough ask now to generate enough games to justify Cesare Prandelli keeping him in the squad, let alone the starting line-up.
With Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez blossoming as a partnership and Mirko Vucinic welcomed back into the fold and known to be a favourite of Antonio Conte, Osvaldo will have to discard his ego and be patient at a club this size.
As while his behaviour was questioned at Southampton, he was at least guaranteed a start and opportunities to work his way into some fine form ahead of the World Cup.
Osvaldo now must attempt to force his way into a dominant side whereby the starting line-up appears settled after another superb result and performance.
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