Juventus Top Perfomers – Round 20 vs Sampdoria

Juventus got past Sampdoria with a commanding yet unspectacular performance, where they came out aggressively in the first half but had a dip in the intensity in the second half, which almost allowed the opponents to come back into the game, but the back-line was extremely sturdy in this one.

Giorgio Chiellini (five points): it was arguably the best defensive display of the season as, on top of keeping a clean sheet, which is not necessarily anything new, the adversaries did not manage to create any major chance, which was a nice improvements compared to the last tilts, where Wojciech Szczesny often had to bail everybody out with superb saves. It was not the case on Saturday night, as he was rarely called into the action, while the grizzled captain made a plethora of plays in the box with vintage physicality and alertness, with the icing on the cake being a great block on a point-blank attempt by Fabio Quagliarella.

Juan Cuadrado (seven points): it was a pretty uneventful game for midfielder up until the stoppage time, when Cuadrado beat the offside trap on a long-ball and perfectly head faked a defender and the goalie before gentling teeing up Aaron Ramsey for a goal in the empty net. The Colombian winger was also tidy in the back, and it was not a given as he had to face challenging opponents on that side. The whole midfield excelled in the passive phase in this one, Rodrigo Bentancur in particular, who pretty much initiated the first goal with a quick recuperation plus vicious pass forward that caught the opposing back-line out of position and made things easier for the forward. Arthur continues to be money in the back with the ball on his feet, also in nerve-wracking situations, but there is always the feeling he could do something more with it but he is reluctant to attempt difficult plays.

Federico Chiesa (six points): in a match that mostly progressed at a slow rhythm, his change-of-pace plays were much needed, even though all in all fairly numbered. He gets the nod mostly because of the precious goal at the 20th minute, which allowed the Bianconeri to sail fairly smoothly for the rest of the contest despite the small advantage. The tap-in was easy, but the combination between the three strikers to set it up was lovely and had pristine timing. Cristiano Ronaldo’s slow January scoring-wise continued, but he was instrumental in both goals with two secondary assists, while Alvaro Morata (two points) directly fed Chiesa and was very active when it came to countering. The squad left something on the table in that area of the game as the second goal could have arrived much sooner with sharper fast-breaks.

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