26 December 2016
Juventus' 2016 began the same way 2015 had ended – with a victory. The Bianconeri came into the new year on the back of a seven-match winning run in the league which had seen them climb up the table and close in on the top teams following a tricky start to the season.
A hectic fixture list awaited them after the festivities, though, with seven matches scheduled from 6 to 31 January.
The Bianconeri kicked off with a 3-0 success over Verona at Juventus Stadium, Paulo Dybala, Leo Bonucci and Simone Zaza getting the goals as Juve edged ever closer to top two Inter and Napoli.
Four days later Massimiliano Allegri's men travelled to Genoa to take on Sampdoria. They started both halves strongly and were 2-0 up by the 46th minute thanks to strikes by Paul Pogba and Sami Khedira. Antonio Cassano reduced the arrears midway through the second period but it proved to be little more than a consolation goal.
Here's what the Serie A table looked like after that match:
The Bianconeri's upwards surge continued the following Sunday with a swashbuckling 4-0 demolition of Udinese. If you need reminding of the goals - a Dybala double and one apiece from Khedira and Alex Sandro - take a look at this video:
On 20 January the Coppa Italia holders faced a testing quarter-final tie away to Lazio. Stephan Lichtsteiner netted the only goal of the game against his former employers as we progressed to the last four.
Four days later Serie A duties resumed with an 11th straight win courtesy of a 77th-minute winner from Dybala. Another step towards the summit...
Before the month was out Juve still had time to notch seven further goals: three against Inter in our Coppa Italia semi-final first leg on 27 January (two from Morata and one from Dybala), then four more at the Bentegodi against Chievo on the 31st (another Morata brace plus goals by Alex Sandro and Pogba).
And so we move into February – a big month for Juve with a head-to-head showdown against table-topping Napoli and a Champions League last-16 first-leg meeting with German giants Bayern Munich.
We'll look at those two games in more detail tomorrow but before then let's wrap up this first part of our 2016 review with another two wins.
The Bianconeri beat Genoa 1-0 on 3 February with an own goal by Sebastien De Maio after Juan Cuadrado had jinked his way in from the touchline and delivered a cross that was too hot to handle.
Four days later the Colombian wing wizard got on the score sheet himself - together with Dybala - in a 2-0 defeat of Frosinone, which you can read about here.
So nine games, nine wins, eight clean sheets, 21 goals scored and one conceded. Not a bad start to the new year - and there was plenty more to come!
Join us again tomorrow for the second instalment in our end-of-year Bianconeri review.