A fifth consecutive victory for a depleted Juve side

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Carlos Tevez celebrates with Kwadwo Asamoah after wrapping up the victory.GettyImagesCarlos Tevez celebrates with Kwadwo Asamoah after wrapping up the victory.

Two great goals from Juventus ensured Livorno were defeated 2-0 and left still searching for their first Serie A win against the Bianconeri in 71 years. Stamina and defensive solidity made it seem that the home side were capable of at least a point but the class of Juventus can never be dulled as the front two of Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez scored both goals to ensure a win and top place in the league, at least until Roma play on Monday.

This was always going to be a tough test for Antonio Conte's men considering the many absences. Livorno are defined by the tenacity of their play and when a squad is both tired and depleted, the Amaranto are hardly the best opponents to face.

It was made abundantly clear that Livorno planned on soaking up the pressure before countering with their pace and strength. In fact, the Amaranto's best goal scoring opportunities came after the Bianconeri's corners. They would intercept, get hold of the ball and dribble with pace to threaten Gigi Buffon's goal.

The only problem is that their players often took too long to make a decision, to release the ball and to identify the correct pass. Despite playing with a make-shift defence, Juve's back-line were rarely tested due to the poor play of the Livorno forwards.

However, defensively the Amaranto were a sight to behold and Davide Nicola's teachings were made clear for all to see. His solid defensive side displayed their stamina and strength and doubled up on their opponents to ensure Juventus struggled. The Bianconeri were simply incapable of penetrating and with so many Livorno players back and eager to snatch possession away, Conte's men needed to be quicker and play and with greater intensity if they hoped to overcome their enthusiastic opponents.

However, on a tactical level it was interesting to see the movements of the Bianconeri. Paul Pogba regularly exploited any available space in midfield in the first half, whether on the right or left, drifting wherever he thought best. In turn, this also forced Claudio Marchisio to adopt different positions and the two would diagonally exchange roles during transitions, with Pogba attacking from the left at times and Marchisio defending close to Simone Padoin on the right during the defensive stage of the game.

It's logical to assume that any side defined by its dynamic performance would tire in the second half. Whilst Livorno seemed more determined to push forward after the break, energy levels soon waned. It's difficult to keep up the kind of intensity the Tuscans managed in the first half and once the Old Lady struck her first, confidence levels dropped to further slow down the hosts.

Juventus displayed their class and their superior technical levels in the second half. Their fluid movements and wonderful link-up play demonstrated exactly why they are still the team to beat in Serie A.

Padoin did an exceptionally good job on the right, allowing his side to attempt most of their offensive penetration down that wing. His clever positioning and improved crossing created trouble for his opponents and his consistent running up and down the flank was pleasing to watch.

However, in the few times the Old Lady opted to go forward via the left-hand side, they were rewarded by the quality of Kwadwo Asamoah, who proved much better at getting past his opponents and delivering the ball. His beautiful turn on the ball led to the accurate pass to Pogba -- the man who assisted Fernando Llorente's goal. Juventus broke the deadlock.

Effective in both the defensive and offensive side of the game, the only sour note of Asamoah's display is the yellow card he picked up, which will rule him out of Juve's next Serie A clash against his old club Udinese.

Yet we cannot mention the good efforts of the wing-backs without complimenting Llorente for a majestic performance up top. His wonderful vision, ability to hold the ball up and growing understanding with the teammates around him saw him dominate the game. Not only did he score the Bianconeri's first but he assisted the second too and the manner in which he was celebrated for his efforts by his teammates only goes to show how important he is for that dressing room.

Their fifth consecutive victory, it's time to applaud the strength of this Juve side. They were heavily criticised earlier in the season for lethargic performances, whilst questions were asked of the side that may be forgiven for losing their motivation after so much domestic success. However, that defeat to Fiorentina lit the fire of passion within and they've been unstoppable ever since.

Now they need to replicate their domestic form in Europe and manage a win against Copenhagen to demonstrate their ability to fight it out with the best in the continent.


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