Juventus Top Performers – Round 15 vs Lazio

Juventus brought something close to their A-game in the first half of the Saturday night game, but the game took a turn for the worst right before intermission and they ultimately, down to ten men, they could not contain a superb Lazio team, suffering the first loss of the season

Wojciech Szczesny: every defender had their fair share of troubles in this one, but the Polish goalie at least kept the score close for a while with an outstanding double save on a Ciro Immobile penalty and the subsequent rebound. He tried his best not to foul Joaquin Correa there but still brough him down and was hung out to dry by his teammates on the other two goals. Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro were caught no man’s land on the first goal, with Luiz Felipe slipping right in the crease between the two, while Matthijs De Ligt mistimed his intervention on a long-ball and let Sergej Milinkovic-Savic get by him on the second one. Major credit goes to Luis Alberto’s terrific assists, but the defenders could have played it better in both occasions.

Rodrigo Bentancur (2 points): he is the beacon of the midfield these days and as a matter of fact the drop after he was forced to sub off was dramatic. He does not score a lot but if he can continue assisting at the recent rate that is still a satisfying offensive contribution. Miralem Pjanic has strung together few underwhelming performances in a row. In particular, he and the midfielder should have carried the squad in the key moments of the second half but they looked stunned and overwhelmed for too long after the Juan Cuadrado red card. That call by the referee was a little questionable but surely not obscene and the Colombian international should have handled the situation better since he is one of the few that can keep up with Manuel Lazzari on the open field. Sometimes his defensive short-comings creep up in the worst possible moment and he was way too cavalier with his passes even before that mental mistake. Emre Can is getting every opportunity to succeed as the last man healthy man standing, but he keeps flopping.

Cristiano Ronaldo (4 points): one of the few bright spots of the night is that the Portuguese ace is looking healthier and healthier, he resumed scoring on open play after a month a half and he is back to being the massive nexus he has always been. Paulo Dybala had a very solid first half and dished the usual classy plays, but that squandered opportunity on a defensive howler was one of the key episodes of the match and he definitely should have passed there. Federico Bernardeschi provided the customary precious tactical work but rarely shows up in the areas or actions where he could really make a difference.

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