Juventus
    18.12.2016 13:30 - in: Serie A S

    #JuveRoma: five talking points

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    No shortage of talking points from Juventus Stadium as Higuain nets again, Rugani impresses and Juve reach 100 points for 2016
    1. Higuain...again!

    Gonzalo Higuain is capable of scoring every kind of goal possible but Saturday night’s winner against Roma was one of the best examples of his own personal trademark.

    Much like at Torino the previous weekend, shrugging off a defender while bringing the ball under control on the turn before smashing into the net, Higuain’s decisive strike this time was entirely his own doing.

    As Juventus’ number 9 received the ball right of centre from Sami Khedira 25 yards from goal, it seemed as though there were few options for him besides returning the ball back from where it came and making a run into the penalty area.

    Yet, a mix of strength and good fortune put marker Daniele De Rossi on the ground, a dart from in to out from Mario Mandzukic opened the space and suddenly Pipita was one on one with Roma centre-back Kostas Manolas. Within three touches, Juve were in front and Higuain had his 10th Serie A goal of the season. 

    The first took him clear of Kevin Strootman, the second took Manolas out of the game, the third, the cleanest of hits with his left foot smashed off the post and into the net to bring an already boisterous Juventus Stadium to its feet.

    After a quiet spell through November, the Argentine has now scored four times in his last three matches and has found form at just the right time. Super Cup matchwinner, anyone? 

    2. 100 up for 2016!

    2016 has been pretty good to Juventus. It brought a fifth consecutive Scudetto and a history-making double domestic double.

    It brought a record-breaking 15 wins in a row, propelling them from mid-table to the top of the table in the space of a few months.

    It brought confirmation of Gianluigi Buffon’s status as one of the finest goalkeepers of his generation after going 973 minutes without conceding a goal, a Serie A record.

    Last night at the impenetrable Juventus Stadium, the Bianconeri added two more jaw-dropping achievements to the collection.

    Victory over Roma not only secured the champions’ 100th league point of the calendar year (33 wins, one draw) but also saw them equal a club-record for consecutive home wins (25), first set between August 2013 and November 2014. 

    Since drawing with Frosinone on 23 September 2015, the last instance of points dropped on home turf, Massimiliano Allegri’s men have kept 15 clean sheets and found the net 60 times at a rate of 2.3 goals per game. Long may it continue. 

    3. Delightful Daniele

    Classy, composed, timely in the challange and also among the goals of late, Rugani is quickly developing into an outstanding defender that coach Massimiliano Allegri believes has what it takes to be a key Juventus player for many years to come, and, after the latest in a series of stellar performances from the youngster, it is easy to see why.

    Tasked with keeping joint topscorer Edin Dzeko (12) quiet on Saturday, Juve’s number 21, alongside Giorgio Chiellini, was imperious in his duties, the pair limiting the in-form visitors to a handful of attempts on their captain’s goal.

    By the end of the night, Rugani had eight clearances, five interceptions and just one single foul to his name, offering a perfect demonstration of his intelligent, incisive and efficient defensive qualities. You would have had to have watched carefully to pick out Daniele’s interventions, but then again, that is the art of good defending.

    Another superb showing from a player who will be a key part of Juventus’ future until at least 2021. 

    4. Winter champions

    On 18 December 2015, Juve were six games into a 15-match winning run and after defeating then leaders Fiorentina 3-1, sat in fourth place in Serie A.

    Fast forward a year and the Bianconeri occupy the league’s top spot with a commanding seven-point advantage over Roma, nine over third-placed Milan.

     

    Seventeen outings into the campaign, Allegri’s men are now guaranteed to end the first round of fixtures as Serie A leaders; tellingly, the top team in the division at the halfway point has won 12 of the past 13 titles, with the exception being Napoli last season.

    Should the Old Lady go on to defeat the Rossoneri in Doha in the Super Cup final next weekend, it will be a clean sweep for her early season objectives: reach the Champions League last 16 as group winners, top Serie A, lift a trophy. 

    5. Buffon...again!

    After a crucial home victory over a title rival, it is only natural that this week’s talking points are rounded off once again by the skipper. 

    @gianluigibuffon, proof that every win matters. #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve #InstaJuve #NumeroUno

    A photo posted by Juventus Football Club (@juventus) on

    Last night’s was Buffon’s 200th Serie A clean sheet for Juventus in a match in which he has featured for the full 90 minutes. Although rarely tested by the Roma attack, our Numero Uno did show his undoubted athletic abilities in terrific fashion as the game approached full time, scurrying from his goal to leap and claw a bouncing ball back into play to prevent a Giallorossi corner.

     

    Not all superheroes wear capes. 

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