Last night, Juventus emerged victorious over Empoli with two unanswered goals at the Carlo Castellani Stadium, courtesy of Danilo and Federico Chiesa.
Was this result enough to satisfy the thirst of the vengeful Bianconeri who were on the receiving end of a humbling beatdown at the same ground last season?
Perhaps we’ll need another few commanding displays like this one to erase that haunting memory. But for the time being, Max Allegri is happy to return home with all three points and keep his side in striking distance with the leading Serie A trio.
So here are our three takeaways from the Old Lady’s convincing win over the Azzurri.
At this point, we just have to accept the truth. Paul Pogba might never be able to reclaim his role as a stalwart similar to his first stint at the club.
The Frenchman was enjoying a fine cameo after replacing Fabio Miretti at the hour mark, even scoring a fabulous volley that was unfortunately disallowed.
But once again, the midfielder’s body failed him in what has become a cringely recurring theme since his return to Turin.
While we still don’t know the extent of this new injury scare, the writing is on the wall for all of us to to see: Pogba is being reduced to a part-timer – an extremely hefty one considering his wages.
With his unparalleled technical skills, the 30-year-old adds a certain flair that no other Juventus midfielder is able to provide at the moment.
Yet, we’ll only be able to witness his breathtaking touch periodically depending on the signs we’ve been receiving (and perhaps trying to neglect) over the past 15 months.
Light Schedule Has Negative Effects
Many analysis have been made regarding Juve’s light schedule this season. Some pundits even consider the Bianconeri as the Scudetto favorites since they’ll be able to focus on the domestic league, first and foremost, amidst the lack of European commitments.
Yet, this uncharacteristic absence also has negative effects on the squad, as some players will be inevitably reduced to benchwarmers.
For instance, Moise Kean and Arek Milik both enjoyed positive cameos last evening. But with Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic identified as the starting duo, the other two could be left starving for playing time this season, which could eventually take its toll on their form and goal instinct.
The same could be said for others, including Hans Nicolussi Caviglia and Samuel Iling-Junior.
Not Enough From Kostic
Last season Filip Kostic was the ultimate starter on the left flank and rightfully so. The Serbian is a classic winger who’s often able to deliver pinpoint crosses to the box.
While his displays last term were generally impressive, he still had some underwhelming runs were he failed to produce the goods.
However, the 30-year-old can no longer afford to suffer a dip in form with two young contenders breathing down his neck.
So while it wasn’t a weak display from Kostic by any means, he’ll have to do better than that to ward off the stern competition of Andrea Cambiaso and Samuel Iling-Junior.
The Italian in particular might be an ideal fit for the role, proving to be an upgrade on the experienced Serbian when coming off the bench last night.
So if Kostic fails to reclaim his starting berth in the coming weeks, a January divorce could be the most reasonable solution for all parties.