Juventus had to wait until added time to snatch victory against Udinese through Fernando Llorente’s third goal in as many Serie A appearances, but the statistics show that it certainly wasn’t a bolt from the blue.
The multiple times Zebrette goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic was forced to be at his very best to deny the Bianconeri’s onslaught gave the impression during the game that Antonio Conte’s men had the upper hand, and the post-match figures confirm that the victory which takes them three points clear of second-placed Roma was much deserved.
Sitting on top of Serie A going into the match, Juventus faced extra pressure as the hunter became the hunted. But they didn’t falter. Despite playmaker and passing maestro Andrea Pirlo departing the action with less than 15 minutes on the clock, Juve still managed to control 58 per cent of the possession and play 198 more passes than the visitors.
Udinese proved themselves capable of causing problems in attack, hitting the target five times from a total of six shots to force Gigi Buffon into pulling off some vital stops on the way to extending his run of Serie A clean-sheets to six.
But the Bianconeri managed to create 18 shots in total, many of which were the fruits of the 29 crosses they whipped in; 18 more than Udinese were able to supply.
As well as the solid team performance, credit should go to the superb individual efforts of Giorgio Chiellini, who regained possession no less than 30 times and also finished the game with the most successful passes made, and to the determination of Carlos Tevez, who was always an option going forward and set Brkic’s nerves jangling with a total of eight shots.