Juventus vs. Bologna: 6 Things We Learned
With the early evening kick-off this weekend, Juventus hosted Bologna knowing that they were just eight points away from clinching their third consecutive Serie A title. That would be a historic achievement, something that neither Marcello Lippi nor Giovanni Trapattoni ever managed, marking out Antonio Conte as one of the most impactful coaches in the club’s storied history.
For Bologna’s part, Sassuolo’s win earlier in the day meant that they travelled to Turin knowing that a defeat would see them end the weekend in the relegation zone. That they had lost three of their last away matches against the Bianconeri meant this was likely, and Juventus eventually triumphed by a 1-0 scoreline.
Over the next few pages are six things we learned from this latest encounter.
Bologna Continue to Struggle for Goals
The Rossoblu have found it difficult to score with any consistency this term, especially since the departure of Alessandro Diamanti to China. Since the 30-year-old was sold in early February, Bologna have scored just five goals, and he still remains their joint leading scorer.
That ineffectiveness in front of goal saw them ranked as the third-worst attack in Serie A here and looks set to see them return to the second tier this summer.
Sebastian Giovinco’s Impressive Form Continues
In early February, a section of Juventus supporters jeered Sebastian Giovinco as the striker was substituted, disappointed by another poor display from the Turin native. That prompted Antonio Conte to defend his player and criticise those fans who booed the 27-year-old from the field, telling reporters at his post-match press conference:
I find it truly unfair this atmosphere that has emerged around Giovinco. I don’t even want to talk about it. Everyone should look to their conscience.
The diminutive striker has responded perfectly, putting on another fine display here, and he has netted a goal and two assists since that ugly incident. Scoring a superb strike against Udinese last week, he has proven his value to this squad as a substitute for Carlos Tevez.
Match Highlighted Juve’s Need for Variety
For large portions of the match, Juventus struggled to unlock the resolute Bologna defence, an issue which has raised its head on a number of occasions this term. It appears to indicate a need for variety from the bench, perhaps a pacy winger to open up these well-organised sides that come to Turin simply looking to lock out the Bianconeri.
Domenico Berardi’s return to goalscoring action against Chievo earlier on Saturday was a timely reminder of what the 19-year-old could offer. Co-owned by Juventus, the Sassuolo winger could well move to the champions this summer.
Paul Pogba Continues Outside-the-Box Excellence
Paul Pogba continues to be lethal from outside the box, notching the game-winning goal here and helping Juventus to another victory. The strike marked his seventh goal of the season, making him the fourth-leading scorer for the Bianconeri this term.
Juventus Can Win Without Carlos Tevez
Juventus have begun to depend on Carlos Tevez this term, the Argentinean netting 18 goals and seven assists so far in 2013-14. Antonio Conte chose to rest his most reliable striker here, and the Bianconeri still emerged triumphant, highlighting the depth of their squad.
Title Almost Secure
With their win, the two-time champions drew ever closer to their third consecutive Serie A title, needing just five points from their remaining four games to clinch the Scudetto. Despite Roma’s 1-0 win over Fiorentina, Juventus are closer than ever to lifting yet another league title.