Juventus 1-0 Fiorentina: 6 Things We Learned
The Bianconeri barely reached the heights that they are capable of, but they managed to grind out the points, as they have done for most of the season.
Kwadwo Asamoah's outrageous piece of skill and powerful finish broke the deadlock, and Fiorentina never reacted.
Here are six things we learned from the first of three matches between the sides inside two weeks.
Conte Has a Tough Decision on Whether to Buy a Left Midfielder
Antonio Conte has accommodated Asamoah on the left side since his move from Udinese.
The fact that the Ghanaian was always a better player through the middle for the Zebrette suggested that the Bianconeri were wasting the player by pushing him out wide.
But Asamoah has adapted well and is flourishing this season, suggesting that Juve may not need to invest in a left-sided player this summer, as was previously the talk from Juventini.
Asamoah is adding a cutting edge to his game and looking more dangerous in the final third.
It would be harsh if Conte were to invest in a new player to displace Asamoah, given his transition over the past couple of seasons.
Now that the transition seems to have been completed, Juve can reap the benefits of a phenomenal athlete adding excellent tactical understanding to his game.
Juve Will Be Too Strong for Fiorentina in the Europa League
Juve proved on Sunday that they are a superior outfit to Fiorentina and that while the Viola managed to upset them earlier in the season in Florence, over two legs, it will be a very tough ask for Vincenzo Montella's men to even make it a close tie.
Juve barely got out of second gear at the Juventus Stadium, and you sensed that with the league wrapped up, they will focus fully on the last 16 Europa League tie, meaning they will be an even tougher opponent for the Viola.
There is animosity between the sides and the fans, which should make for a good spectacle, but ultimately, while they will be enjoyable matches, the outcome is unlikely to be a surprise.
Montella Is Relying on Gomez Finding His Form to Save Their Season
Montella must be worried, as the Viola have completely lost their cutting edge up front since Giuseppe Rossi picked up a serious injury.
Mario Gomez has also suffered a long-term injury, and the German must return to form quickly in order to rescue Fiorentina's season.
Alessandro Matri arrived from Milan in January, but it has not really worked, and without a trusted forward, Fiorentina are a blunt side.
With their wonderful passing midfielders, sides will allow them to keep the ball in deep areas, knowing that if they mark their strikers tightly, they are unable to be able to score.
Montella has toyed with the 4-3-3 and 3-5-2, searching for the best solution to upping their contributors in the goals column.
The Coppa Italia final is something to keep in mind, but the league form needs to pick up, starting with Gomez returning to form.
Fiorentina Need to Be Wary of Disintegrating
Fiorentina have been battling a tough schedule in recent weeks, but the squad is thin, and the injuries have finally taken their toll on them.
The Viola were always outsiders for third place but seemed to be clinging on to Napoli's coat tails, perhaps more to do with Rafael Benitez's side failing to open up a gap, rather than Montella's men maintaining pressure on their rivals with a great run of form.
The Viola are sitting in fourth place, but Inter Milan have suddenly hit some form and are one point behind.
While Parma are just a further point adrift and have gone 15 matches unbeaten in what will surely put Roberto Donadoni in contention for manager of the year.
The Gialloblu actually have a game in hand, meaning that they could usurp both Inter and Fiorentina if they beat Roma when their game is rescheduled.
It would be harsh on Fiorentina to slip down as low as sixth and potentially risk losing out on European football, as injuries have evidently played a part in the team fizzling out, but Montella must maintain focus.
There is a Coppa Italia final to come, but the league form must drastically improve to give themselves the best chance of beating Napoli in May and capping off a great season.
Failure to do so could mean huge disappointment and an ultimately poor season, despite the circumstances.
Conte's Side on the Verge of Greatness Thanks to Their Fortress
Juventus' success this season has been predicated on some remarkable home form.
The Bianconeri have strung together 14 consecutive wins in the league at home, and that includes every match this season.
They can create history by maintaining this devastating form to catch the record-holders Bordeaux, who achieved 18 wins in a row in 1985.
Juve is now 4 wins behind Bordeaux's 1984/85 team (18) for most home wins in a row in Europe's history— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) March 9, 2014
That feat seems within in their grasp, with their next home matches in the league against Parma, Livorno, Bologna, Atalanta and Cagliari, who were the last side to take something off the Old Lady at home in the league.
Parma will be the toughest hurdle, but the record is certainly achievable and can help legitimize Conte's claims that they are one of the greatest Juve sides of all time.
Borja Valero Is Sorely Missed
Borja Valero's suspension really hurt Fiorentina, and given that it came from a lack of discipline, Montella will be quietly seething.
Despite the length of the ban handed out, which appeared to be inconsistent with other cases of a similar nature this season, Montella will know that the Spaniard's ill discipline has cost his side.
Valero knits everything together superbly, picking the ball up from the deep-lying playmaker, David Pizarro, before weaving a way through the opposition's crowded midfield.
Without him, the Viola became rather predictable, knowing that Mati Fernandez was the only midfielder who could move with the ball at feet, so Juve used tight marking in the middle of the mark and often doubled the Chilean to stop him from gaining a step and spinning into the space behind Juve's midfield.
Valero should be extra motivated to return and make it up to his team-mates, starting in the Europa League against Juve next week.
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