The following is a guest post from Patrick Gullaci – You can follow him here on Twitter.
Another clean sheet. That’s now a phenomenal 11 clean sheets across our last 12 matches in all competitions with only 1 goal conceded. Our defense has been exceptional across the past three months, largely due to the fact that both injury prone defenders Medhi Benatia and Giorgio Chiellini have managed to stay fit across the course of this season. There’s no doubting that when both are on the pitch, they form one of the most uncompromising and lethal partnerships in Europe.
Lichtsteiner and Mandzukic’s performances. 34yr old veteran Stephen Lichtsteiner’s performance may have surprised many with the Swiss Express turning in a vintage, lung busting performance down the right flank. Lichtsteiner has been subject to unfair criticism this season from pockets of Juve fans, with them labeling him ‘past his expiration date’ but the Swiss continues to step in when called upon and is proving serviceable off the bench. Another turning in a fantastic performance was Mario Mandzukic. The Croatian set up Douglas Costa’s winner with a delightful, well weighted ball and provided plenty of energy on the left side of midfield.
Lackluster performance. Perhaps the biggest factor contributing to today’s performance was the lack of rousing support inside the Juventus Stadium. With the Curva Sud absent, there was a lull inside the stadium for the clash against Genoa and it certainly seemed to take effect with the team who looked flat and disoriented without the noise and full voice of 40,000 Juventini. One can argue it’s a poor excuse but the ability of the Curva to motivate the team cannot be understated.
Another game, another goalless Pipita. That’s now 500+ mins from Higuain without a goal. A worrying sign heading into the vital stages of the season with the Argentine looking out of sorts and frustrated with himself. However, Allegri must persist with the 90 million euro man as Higuain has the highest ceiling among Juve strikers and is capable of proving to be the difference maker should his run of form swiftly improve.