Juventus conquered relegation battlers Sassuolo 3-1 today, despite the strong fighting spirit displayed by the upstart hosts. Simone Zaza took the lead for them after only nine minutes, aided by a deflection from Angelo Ogbonna. Juventus, ever the Scudetto winning side, kept calm and continued working towards a goal. It took 35 minutes, but Carlos Tevez created some magic and equalized for Juventus, assisted by Claudio Marchisio.

The game stayed even for a bit, but eventually Juventus picked things up in Sassuolo’s half. A Carlos Tevez sliding dispossession led the ball to Andrea Pirlo, who played a beautiful through ball to Claudio Marchisio. Marchisio poked the pass on with ease to give Juve a 2-1 lead. Marchiso had now bagged an assist and a goal.

Juventus stayed in control from there, and Fernando Llorente managed to score a goal – from right in front of goal, of course, he is a real fox in the box – to recover from what had been otherwise a poor game for the Spaniard. Stephan Lichtsteiner, Arturo Vidal, and, Leo Bonucci all saw some time in the second half. I assume this was to whet their appetite for the Europa League match against Benfica this Thursday.

Credit due to Sassuolo, who played well throughout the match but especially during the first half. For a team staring down the barrel of relegation, they weren’t very fazed by Juventus. With the win, Juventus are now eight points ahead of Roma, and with 93 points this season have set a new Juventus club record for most points in a season. This graph, by @1897j, shows how Juventus have stayed the course for the Scudetto this season, despite the very impressive campaign of A.S. Roma. It’s an interesting look at a now record-breaking season for Juventus.

Now, let’s rate the players.

Buffon: 6.5. He was beaten on that first goal, though the Ogbonna deflection helped, but recovered from it with a number of fine saves.

Chiellini: 6.5. Secure performance from Chiellini. With Ogbonna struggling at times and Barzagli a bit out of form, Chiellini had to be the rock tonight, and he delivered.

Ogbonna: 5.5. His night started poorly with that deflection on the goal, he was later bossed around by Simone Zaza again, and he seemed very shaky at times when called upon. He did have a team leading seven clearances, but many of these were “oh crap here’s the ball I better get rid of it as soon as possible” clearances, at least I thought so. I still have hope for Ogbonna, he’s somewhat young, and Bonucci had a rough first year and a half at Juve as well.

Bonucci (74′): 6. Speak of the devil, Bonucci only played about 20 minutes. Still, he was three for four on long balls and put in a solid set ahead of the important Benfica game.

Barzagli: 6. He didn’t make any mistakes, but Barzagli is clearly not at top form right now. He played fine but when you are used to Barzagli being an absolute stud in defense, a plain performance like today’s can be disappointing. He is has only recently returned to fitness after an injury, so it is probably just a matter of shaking off the rust.

Isla: 6. Not a great game by Isla by any measure. Had a few dangerous passes but compared to Lichtsteiner, who came on later, he wasn’t very effective. Isla has been much improved this season but he has still not been able to put together a run of good performances for Juve. I fear that, if he stays at Juve, he may be forever relegated to a vice-Lichtsteiner. We will have to wait and see.

Lichtsteiner (63′): 7. Assisted on Llorente’s goal with a nice cross. Seemed super comfortable in possession today and if he plays like that versus Benfica, our attack will be very strong on the right side.

Asamoah: 6.5. Another fine performance in what has been a stellar five months for Asamoah. Ghana will be hoping he keeps up this form through the summer, as he is one of Juve’s best players at the moment.

Pirlo: 7. Easily controlled Juve’s attack today, and his assist for Marchisio’s goal was superb. Another game where Pirlo is critical for Juventus.

Vidal (80′): s.v. It’s good to see Vidal playing after the scare with his knee. I’m still not really sure what happened with #KneeGate, but hopefully Vidal is fit and prepared to play, as we need him versus Benfica.

Marchisio: 7. Juve’s midfield was very strong today and Marchisio played a huge part in that. Troubled Gianluca Pegolo a few times and broke through with that goal, in addition to assisting Tevez’ goal. A very good match for Il Principino.

Pogba: 6. After performing well recently, Pogba had a dry game today. Didn’t do very much in attack but he fulfilled his responsibilities in defense. Took a shot on goal but it lacked the power of a true Pogbomb. Pogba’s definitely out of that funk he fell into earlier in the year, but we haven’t see “Pogboom” too much in 2014.

Tevez: 7.5. His goal really broke the game open. While Marchisio fed him a nice pass, Tevez created that goal for himself. It was a magnificent shout, as we have seen before this season. Now that he has broken his European scoring duck, I am hoping to see Tevez really produce on Thursday.

Llorente: 7. He was not good before he scored, but as I always say a striker’s job is to score goals. Thus, you can’t really say Llorente had a bad game.