Seventh consecutive win, seventh consecutive clean sheet

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Claudio Villa/Getty ImagesArturo Vidal celebrated his contract extension by bagging a first-half goal for Juventus against Bologna earlier this month.

It wasn't the most exquisite of performances but as Juventus has been teaching us this season, they don't need to be at their best to defeat most of the teams in Serie A. Stefano Pioli's men showed heart in their attempts to find an equaliser to Juve's early goal and even gambled with their tactics, but they did'’t do enough. The Bianconeri won 2-0. Seven consecutive wins, seven consecutive clean sheets.

- Report: Bologna 0-2 Juventus

In many ways you have to applaud a Juve side that managed yet another win despite resting their usual striking duo, Leonardo Bonucci and the familiar wing-backs. Essentially, five of the preferred starting XI (do note, Stephan Lichtsteiner has only just recovered from injury) were benched, yet Juventus started strongly, managing the goal and exposing the weaknesses in Bologna's defence.

Noting the fragility of the Rossoblu defence, Antonio Conte opted to start Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella in hopes that their constant movement would overwhelm the opposition. With defenders being dragged out of position and gaps exposed, it was a perfect game for Juve's runners from midfield. Claudio Marchisio had a superb time exploiting the spaces and making the right runs to push forward even if the final ball and finish left a lot to be desired.

The Old Lady started strongly, creating chance after chance as they rotated the ball. Playing at a high tempo, the beauty of their game lied in the many options they had going forward. Runs were made from midfield; the wingbacks were creating a wide threat whilst the forwards caused all sorts of problems. Wherever the home side looked, they found an opponent ready to do something.

It took only 12 minutes for Federico Peluso to deliver a perfect assist for Arturo Vidal to score the opening goal. What a way to celebrate his contract extension.

Juventus spent much of the first half demonstrating their superior levels of talent while the home side struggled to get their best men on the ball.

In Alessandro Diamanti, they boasted a champion -- their hope. Dropping deep to pick up the ball and then drive the team forward, he was the heartbeat of the side, the creative mind. His passing accuracy and excellent vision aside, his cunning ability (furbizia) is reminiscent of Alessandro Del Piero and Mauro Camoranesi. The player always knows when and how to draw out a foul in a dangerous position. With him on the pitch, Bologna always had a chance.

Conte was caught barking from the sidelines, asking his side to raise the tempo and keep passing the ball around in the box in hopes of piercing through for another goal. He was desperate to ensure his men did not drop their energetic level so that they could secure the result.

Not willing to accept the defeat, Pioli immediately started to tinker with the side at the start of the second half to spark his team back into life. Taking off Diego Perez to introducing Diego Laxalt, the hope was to stop Paul Pogba delivering passes forward and allowing more time on the ball for Diamanti. It didn't work and if anything, the tempo slowed down.

As such, Pioli moved to introduce Jonathan Cristaldo, a player who excels with his dribbles in hopes of raising the tempo. He made an impact, threatening Juve's men with his acceleration but not even he could find that equaliser.

Unfortunately for the home side that played with heart, Juventus simply possessed more talent within their ranks, finally sealing the win thanks to a Giorgio Chiellini header that arrived from a Carlos Tevez corner. They ought to have finished off the game a lot sooner considering the manner in which they controlled the match, especially in the first half, but Pioli's tactics were always going to force the Bianconeri to work for it.

Now sitting six points ahead of Roma, albeit temporarily at least until Roma play Fiorentina, it's difficult to see a side match the consistency shown by the current champions of Italy. Neither tactics nor passionate displays are enough for sides to neutralise the danger of the Bianconeri.

With their mind now focused on the match against Galatasaray midweek, it is important Conte's men demonstrate that their brilliance is not only restricted to domestic matches. Another Scudetto is the dream, but Juventus must advance to the next round of the Champions League.


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