Although the likes of Andrea Barzagli, particularly for a crucial goal-line clearance with the score at 1-0, Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani naturally caught the eye, Saturday’s success that now sees the Bianconeri lead second-placed Napoli by nine points, was built on the discipline and commitment of the entire team from front to back in a true team performance.
+9 and the numbers behind it
Further forward, first Claudio Marchisio, sadly withdrawn through injury, and then Mario Lemina provided stability at the base of midfield, Paul Pogba and Sami Khedira supplied the box to box energy to contribute significantly at both ends of the field and frontmen Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic once again covered every blade of grass in the Palermo half to keep the Bianconeri permanently on the front foot.
Ultimately, a commanding lead at the top of the table is the reward for the champions’ defensive labours: for the fourth year in a row, the Old Lady heads into the final five fixtures of the season with at least an eight-point lead over their nearest challengers.
As the dropdown menus below will demonstrate, Massimiliano Allegri’s men gave absolutely nothing away to their relegation-threatened visitors.
Once in front early on thanks to Khedira’s excellent take and volley, the home side monopolized possession (61.8 per cent), won their duels with twice as much frequency as the Rosanero (60.4 per cent vs. 39.6 per cent), all while completing significantly more passes (547 vs. 336).
No one in black and white is in better form than Paul Pogba at the moment. The Frenchman’s fine first-half assist for Khedira was his ninth of the campaign, seeing him rise to third in the league-wide standings, and marked the fourth occasion this season in which he has both provided and netted for the Bianconeri. Paul has now played a part in seven of Juve’s last 11 goals.
There were also to be individual landmarks for the aforementioned German and Alvaro Morata. With five strikes, this season is now Sami’s second most productive in front of goal behind a 2008/09 campaign that saw him net eight times while in the colours of Stuttgart.
Morata meanwhile provided two Serie A assists in the same game for the first time since arriving on these shores in July 2014; impressive given he was only the field for 23 minutes.
- Leonardo Bonucci: 72 completed passes and 12 successful long balls, a team high.
- Juan Cuadrado: unsurprisingly, the dribble king reigned supreme once more, completing more dribbles than any other player (five), one of which led to his magnificent second-half goal.
- Mario Lemina: Seven recoveries for the Gabon international who quickly settled into the game after taking the place of the injured Marchisio.
- Paulo Dybala: five chances created by the ex-Palermo striker, a match high.
- Patrice Evra: A typically no-nonsense showing from the veteran Frenchman who won five tackles, more than any other Juve player.