It seems today’s victory was typical. Typical at least to the standards of 2013/2014 Juventus. Juve score a few goals, the opponents score none, and everybody is happy. The only big difference for today is that Juve quite possibly clinched the Scudetto.
There really is nothing to complain about from today’s game. The only thing close to an error came when Udinese nearly scored at the end of the match. Dani Osvaldo had a breakaway, he could have been free on goal (save for the goalkeeper) but of course just as soon as he had received the ball, he gave up possession.
Udinese quickly cut through Juve’s half and after a Martin Caceres error, they looked good for the goal. The ball hit the post, ricocheted back into Juve’s box, and Udinese lost the scramble. It didn’t matter though, as the play after the deflection was ruled offside.
That said, let’s rate these boys.
Buffon: 6. Didn’t have much at all to do today. Not an unusual story. Anyway, he was good the few times he was called upon.
Caceres: 6. Was having a pretty fine match until the error that should have led to a goal. He was saved by the post. Also had a few moments where he made a sloppy challenge and it worked, but much like the non-goal, this was down to luck.
Chiellini: 7. Our best defender today. If there was a ball in Juve’s area, you can best believe that Giorgio was clearing it. Even created a chance after galloping through to Udinese’s 18 yard box.
Ogbonna: 6. I actually think Caceres had a better game, but not by much. Ogbonna was the defender of last resort, meaning Chiellini and Caceres did most of the work today. This is not a slight against Ogbonna, Udinese just simply didn’t pose a big enough threat to force him into game more.
Asamoah: 7. We didn’t get a chance to see his (rapidly improving) attacking game much today. Asamoah was still a big player for Juve. He had the most tackles (six) and made Dusan Basta look like a little kid. This is a discussion for another time, but Asamoah is perhaps Juve’s best player so far in 2014.
Lichtsteiner: 6. The best part of his game today was his linking up with Paul Pogba. That and his sterling defense. I think Lichtsteiner could have had a goal today, as he was found by a pass right as he made a run into Udinese’s 18 yard box (think back to that game versus Parma at the start of the 2011-12 season) but he instead chose to generously pass the ball.
Isla (75′): s.v. Not involved enough to earn a score. Came on after the game was dead.
Pogba: 7. He bagged an assist today, which was nice. Pogba has worked back from his poor form, and I say he’s out of that funk entirely. The only thing missing when you compare this Pogba with “peak Pogba” would be the goals.
Pirlo: 6.5. Silently marshaled Juve’s attack. Flawless game if perhaps not a spectacular one.
Marchisio: 6.5. I used the word silent to describe Pirlo’s play, but it fits Claudio’s even better. He’s not always visible – on the television screen – but he is always working.
Giovinco: 7.5 Sensational first goal, nearly a second – denied by the post – in what has been perhaps his best start for Juve. That said he also displayed some of his weaknesses, inability to hold onto possession when pressured, for example. Had he not scored the goal, and nearly a second, his rating would be much lower. But hey, it’s a striker’s job to score. He did his job.
Vucinic (82′): s.v. Barely even noticed that he was on the field today.
Llorente: 7. Another “fox in the box” goal from Llorente, who has scored nearly all of his goals in the box. He also displayed his dribbling ability, or rather, his ability to escape from multiple markers while keeping possession. Sadly, this is usually followed by what I call a “filler pass” – one that keeps possession but lends nothing to build up.
Osvaldo (85′): s.v. Had it not been for him blowing what should have been a sure goal – at least a sure attempt on goal – I would not have noticed that he was on the field