Juv-st too strong – part two

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Let me first underline that I am not a Juventus fan.

In fact I will, not unlike the legendary 90o minuto presenter, Paolo Valenti, never reveal which team I support.

Thing is, I like a large number of Italian teams, for all kinds of reasons.

Like them or not, it’s hard impossible not to recognize Juventus for what they currently are: a ruthless, perfectly organized team with tons of quality on the pitch, on the bench and in the upper offices of a superbly run football club, in the Genesis-like land of confusion that Italy is these days.

Juve were showered with praise following their ruthless elimination of Barcelona last Wednesday – yes, that Barça everyone wrote off as “disappearing”, “not as good as before”, led by a Leo Messi “not the man he used to be”. That Barça bounced back to win the Clasico in spectacular fashion – nuff said.

Meanwhile, last night in Turin, following a string of surprising, late-season results (Empoli & Crotone’s upsets of Milan and Samp), Sky Italia doomsayers said Juve had to look out for Genoa, the team who beat 3-1 them neatly in the first half of the season.

No such luck. Juve were their usual, cinematic, comic book heroes selves, using their superpowers on hapless opposition.

Fantasized Dybala could have been tired? WHACK! He scored his team’s 2nd goal looking like he was flying above the surface.

Thought Manduzkic had lost his eye for goal after being deployed for so long on the left attacking midfield line? KAPOW! A first touch missile flew past the goalie to make it 3-0.

And how about Bonucci, such a strong defender, scoring from distance after a solo run? BOOM! 4-0 and buonasera.

The race for Serie A is almost over (in fact, it never really started) and so Italian radio phone-ins already have all set their sights on the CL final in Cardiff versus Real Madrid.

It’d be a mistake to underestimate Monaco and Atletico Madrid, a bit like the French media are doing with the Présidentielles and Emmanuel Macron’s apparent shoe-in in two weeks’ time.

But today’s bottom line is Juve are just too strong for the rest. How strong they will be in early June is a question for, well, early June.

 

Juv-st too strong

JuveBarcJuventus proved way too strong for Barcelona in the CL.

Just as they are annoyingly better than the rest in Serie A, now they are slowly but surely making their mark in Europe as well.

Wednesday night’s performance at the Nou Camp had it all – even though it finished 0-0: Fort Knox-like defence, solid yet creative midfield and a powerful and participative attacking line.

Oh, we were also forgetting: a great manager. Massimiliano Allegri said before the game he would field his usual quartet of star attackers: Higuain, Dybala, Mandzukic and Cuadrado.

What a difference it makes compared with Jose Mourinho’s ultra-defensive tactics in 2010 when Inter clinched their qualification to the CL final through gritted teeth. It takes balls to go to the Nou Camp with 4 forwards.

Two things were particularly impressive on Wednesday:

  1. Juve never looked threatened and gave the impression to control the game with Fonzie-like cool. They made defending their 3-goal advantage even easier than it seemed and didn’t burn vast amounts of energy preserving their goal untouched.
  2. The Turin giants have so far conceded just two goals since the start of their European campaign. Bonucci is arguably the best defender in the world these days, but the rest of the defensive back four is not too shabby either.

Now with a little luck they will face Real over two legs in the semis and Monaco in the final… because they’re not only good, but they also enjoy culo! Italians will understand this one.