Juventus played with fire by flipping the off-switch too early after getting early lead, allowing Spezia to equalize, but fully exploited the prairies left by Spezia in the second half, celebrating the return of Cristiano Ronaldo in style with an healthy win.
Danilo: another solid all-around display by the Brazilian defender, who was not particularly bothered by the opponents that played on his side and was instrumental in a pair of good-looking plays with his precise passing, in particular initiating the first goal with a splendid through ball for Weston McKennie and springing Federico Chiesa past the back-line few minutes later. Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a monster save on a Julian Chabot point-blank header that would have made it two-all, while the Tommaso Pobega’s shot was deflected right in front of him. Leonardo Bonucci was in his element as he could focus more on intercepting passes rather than in closely guarding an adversary and was sharp with his distribution, instead Merih Demiral was pretty sloppy both in the back and with the ball in his feet.
Weston McKennie (2 points): Andrea Pirlo walked back on his recent statements and fielded three central midfielders at the same time, but the young American had a very loose role and constantly put pressure on the opponents with off-the-ball cuts. He was rewarded right away and generously fed Alvaro Morata for a freebie, which is the opposite of what Adrien Rabiot (3 points) did in the second half after slipping behind the defenders, as the Frenchman took it upon himself to dribble past an opponent, with a decent dose of luck, and finish. He did not pick up bonus points, but Arthur was the key man in the middle today with his inspiring ball-handling and, if he manages to keep it up and improve his stamina, he might single-handedly change the configuration of the team. Rodrigo Bentancur was a little sprier than in past performances, but he is still ways away from his best self.
Alvaro Morata (6 points): the Spaniard brought it once again, nudging it home on a square pass and setting up Cristiano Ronaldo (8 points) with a slide-rule pass. The Portuguese ace will understandably get the headlines for his clinical brace, which is just what the doctor ordered given Juventus’ recent funk, but Morata has been nothing short of brilliant while filling in and not just for his scoring. Federico Chiesa was intermittent but had some major flashes as he picked up an assist by feeding Rabiot and drew a penalty kick, instead Paulo Dybala was rather unconvincing, missed an early sitter and appeared to have little juice while trying to move around, but he will have to take his lumps to get into playing shape.
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