Juventus Top Performers – Round Eight vs Bologna

Juventus appeared in cruise control for most of the Bologna game, even when they were not actually winning and the contest demanded a bit more focus on intensity. The dagger did not arrive despite plenty of possession and few juicy chances in the second half, but the three points did, maintaining the perfect record at home and the lead in the standings.

Alex Sandro: other than that improbable volley by Danilo, the back-line was pretty stifling tonight and conceded something only late, when the Felsinei were attacking furiously. Sandro had the most demanding task, but managed to hold in check Riccardo Orsolini and often took it to him phisically. He also produced the early run that led to the initial goal. Gianluigi Buffon was forced to make just one save, but it was a game-saving one late on a Federico Santander point-blank attempt. A pretty good performance by both Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs De Ligt, who were not super sharp, but got the job done and avoided gross mistakes. The Dutch youngster almost had an unfortunate handball in the box late, but this year’s rule changes saved him.

Miralem Pjanic (4 points): his hot stretch continues and the most surprising part is that his goals are coming on open play. He is seemingly everywhere on the pitch: orchestrates the beginning of the action, and was superb in particular at the start of the second half, but he is also often on the edge of the box bombing away. He pounced on a loose ball in the box, which he slyly contributed to creating nudging two opponents to crash into each other, for a relatively easy goal. Adrien Rabiot was at times unceremoniously targeted by the crowd, but he had by far his best display in black-and-white, playing with much more pace and creating some dangerous situations with his runs. He still lacks some chemistry with the teammates though and it showed in some plays. Sami Khedira was again pretty anonymous, while Rodrigo Bentancur is specializing in these energetic 30-minute stints where he is pretty useful. Juan Cuadrado displayed massive improvements in his defensive reads and scampered up and down the right flank, always providing a wide outlet and sending in some tasty crosses.

Cristiano Ronaldo (4 points): he burned Lukasz Skorupski with a snapshot on the near post, which technically should never get in, but the goalkeeper returned the favour later on by denying him on a pair of clear-cut opportunities. The diamond formation is giving him acres of spaces and he is feasting, both as finisher and as a creator. Gonzalo Higuain could have easily had a goal too for his production in the final third, but lacked just a little of touch on his efforts. Federico Bernardeschi had more pep in his step compared to the last time he was out there and put on some moves on the defenders, but in the end it did not amount to much.

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