Milan 0-2 Juventus: 6 Things We Learned

Jack Alexandros Rathborn@@jackrathbornContributor IIIMarch 3, 2014

Milan 0-2 Juventus: 6 Things We Learned

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    Juve completed a perfect week to extend their lead in the league and get a win over rivals Milan, compounding their miserable season.

    Goals from Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez were enough to give a below-par Bianconeri side a victory that is worrying for the overall standard of Italian football.

    Juve appear so strong that they do not even need to be remotely close to their best and they are capable of taking three points from one of the toughest away trips in the league—regardless of the Rossoneri's dismal season.

    Here are six things we learned.

Tevez Should Go to the World Cup

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    Carlos Tevez has risen to the cry from Juventini to deliver in big games and this week he has owned two of the more important contests in the context of the Old Lady's season.

    Victory in the Derby della Mole was expected, but Torino put up a great fight and Juve were able to edge over the line thanks to El Apache's wonderful half-volley.

    Carlitos came up trumps again at the San Siro on Sunday with a wonderful long-range strike, which dipped with swerve from side to side to bamboozle Christian Abbiati.

    Tevez provided his usual industry and selfless work for the side and it really does pose the question as to why this man is likely to not go to the World Cup.

    Tevez has not played for Argentina in almost three years and has never been called up by Alejandro Sabella.

    And while Argentina aren't exactly short of attacking options, there is no Argentine striker in better form currently.

    Simply put, Tevez deserves to go to the World Cup.

Llorente Also Deserves to Be on His Way to Brazil This Summer

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    Fernando Llorente is proving to be the perfect centre-forward for Juve and is finally developing an understanding with Tevez, with both scoring in the same match for the fourth time—previously, the pair struck together against Livorno, Atalanta and Hellas Verona.

    Llorente has battled hard to hold down his place in the side and has completely solidified that with a fine run of form that has seen him score 11 times in 23 league appearances.

    Those stats do not seem that impressive compared to the goal-heavy stats often seen in La Liga, but Serie A is a far tougher league to score in, and considering the year before he barely played for Athletic Bilbao, it is a remarkable transition achieved by the Lion King, as Juventini affectionately refer to him as.

    Diego Costa will surely be the No. 1 striker and while Vicente Del Bosque is not mad on centre-forwards, surely he will include at least two back-up options—although only Alvaro Negredo is a recognised striker in the current squad after the Atletico Madrid frontman.

    Llorente is proving he can adapt to a new style of play and his style should be an asset to Spain, even though it contrasts to their identity somewhat.

    He can be that live presence when La Roja are forced to play around the edges of the penalty area by a stubborn, disciplined defence.


Vidal Missed Sorely, Despite Top-Class Back-Ups

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    Arturo Vidal missed the big clash on Sunday through suspension, and despite Claudio Marchisio obviously being a great replacement, the Chilean was sorely missed.

    Without El Guerrero, Juve struggled to control the match, with Milan more than good value for the lead at several points in the match and surely undeserving of a defeat over the 90 minutes.

    His energy and work rate, particularly moving off the ball to provide an extra option for a team-mate in possession, are to be admired.

    And this is what seemed to be the problem for the Bianconeri versus Milan: a lack of options whenever in possession and those without the ball often too static.

    Conte will be glad to welcome back Vidal next game, as he will know that without him, they got away with one.

Serie A Title Race Is over

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    Unfortunately for the league's sake, the title race is over for another season, with this win more or less cementing a third successive title.

    Juve moved 11 points clear of Roma, who have a game in hand, which basically ends the Giallorossi's hopes of claiming the scudetto.

    Yes, there is a match between the sides at the Olimpico to come, but even if they win this game, they would need to overcome a further five points differential over the remaining 12 matches.

    It is an historic achievement for Juve, one which has not been done for 79 years.

    When the inevitable happens, this Juve side will have to be ranked as one of the best ever and the discussion will begin as to who should be considered greater than Conte's men.

Juve Can Concentrate on the Europa League Now

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    With an 11-point lead in the league, attentions will now turn to the Europa League.

    It may only be a consolation prize after a disastrous Champions League campaign, but with the final in Turin, it has to be one that they take seriously.

    It is a great opportunity to build a foundation of success in Europe with this group in order to build upon for next season as they look to make inroads into the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

    A tie with Fiorentina will be tough, especially after the Viola destroyed them 4-2 at the Artemio Franchi earlier in the season.

    But with Vincenzo Montella's men still harbouring hope of claiming third place in the league, the advantage will be with Juve in the build-up, with the ability to rest players in the league games before they meet.

    Conte will be bright enough to realise that this is a great opportunity to embed the mentality of European football into the group, familiarising them with the concept of two-legged ties and the different strategies and tactics that will be implemented.

    A Serie A and Europa League double will still be considered a success, despite the nightmare experienced in Istanbul. 

Buffon Back to His Best

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    Gianluigi Buffon was in imperious form on Sunday as it was a rare occasion when Gigi was needed to be on his game with Milan peppering the Juve goal throughout the game.

    To ensure a clean sheet was kept was a remarkable achievement by Buffon, especially given the opportunities and pressure exerted by the Rossoneri.

    Buffon was rated the man of the match by Who Scored, and it was clear to see with the naked eye, in addition to examining the statistics, why the Azzurri No. 1 came out on top.

    Buffon pulled off eight saves, with the one to deny Kaka especially impressive.

    Interestingly, Buffon achieved more touches (60) of the ball than any other Juve player (per Who Scored), which was absolutely necessary.

    Milan's relentless pressure, particularly in the first half, forced Juve's defenders to use their keeper more often than usual as a sweeper.

    On occasions, Buffon would launch the ball downfield, but quite often he was clever enough to maintain possession by spreading the ball to the opposite flank.

    With 11 accurate long passes (Juventus" target="_blank">per Who Scored), more than in any of the previous five matches, Buffon's distribution was key to Juve launching counter-attacks to relieve pressure absorbed and counter themselves in a more ruthless fashion than usually associated with this team.