Roma implosion gives Juve tenth straight win

Posted by Mina Rzouki

When the biggest Serie A challenge ends with a 3-0 victory for Juventus, it's difficult to see how any side can truly overcome this Antonio Conte-led winning machine. Their tactics against Roma were smarter, their individuals were better and their experience and mental strength made the difference. Roma were a challenge, but one that the Old Lady handled well.

- Report: Juventus 3-0 Roma
- Gladwell: Juve team attack sparks win
- De Martinis: All goes wrong for Roma

Undefeated in the league, the Giallorossi had not conceded more than two goals in a match this season. They talked the talk but when their backs were against the wall, they allowed frustration to overwhelm their quality and the side imploded. They may have the quality and a style of play that pleases the gods of football, but when placed under pressure, they showed weakness in character.

Every team needs a slap every now and then to develop and grow. Last year Inter defeated Juventus to end their invincible run and the Bianconeri reacted as champions should. They learned from their mistakes, played with greater determination and went on to secure comprehensive wins. This year, Fiorentina dealt Juve the harsh blow necessary to awake their sleeping ambition.

Since that catastrophic game, Juventus have gone on to win their next 10 league matches, conceding only one goal in the process. Defeats are a blessing in disguise -- sometimes even necessary and Roma will learn that. What's important is how they will react to this painful defeat.

Based on previous games, the capital club have suffered the most when opponents have stretched them and widened the gaps in-between to stop their compact and determined style of play. Allowed time on the ball with a player like Francesco Totti on the pitch, they can be terrifying to play against. Their passing game that slices open defences coupled with their variety of options up top meant Juve needed to dominate as noted in the last blog.

Instead, Conte opted to play a calm and composed game. He asked his Juventus side to sit deep and give Roma the ball, robbing them of the opportunity to counter-attack. He believed in the quality of his players and in the strength of his defence.

However, in their attempts to absorb the pressure, the Bianconeri frustrated with how often they conceded possession so cheaply and how long they took on the ball at times. Rudi Garcia's men dominated and played with confidence to demonstrate how much they have grown under the current regime.

Yet despite their aesthetically pleasing passing game and how dangerous they seemed every time they pushed forward, that final ball eluded them. They looked almost toothless and with Juventus sitting too deep, they were forced to take many of their shots from outside the box.

Interestingly, on the 15th minute, you saw Juve's centre-backs push up and adopt a higher position, passing the ball between themselves on the halfway line. Roma were in their own half, anticipating an assault and it came as exactly one minute and three seconds later, Arturo Vidal scored after some brilliant work done by Carlos Tevez. Pure individual quality from the Argentine followed up by perfect Chilean finishing demonstrated teamwork, but it also proved Totti incorrect. Man for man, Juve are better. They have the individual quality to make the difference.

That was merely the beginning.

The second half started poorly for the opponents as Juventus quickly scored the second and heads began to drop. Once again, just like they did against Milan, Roma conceded from a set piece and they could taste defeat. They searched for ways forward but found no way through.

Garcia made a double change to play a 4-2-3-1 formation but frustration kicked in. Juventus looked strong and capable of striking when the iron is hot and with Chiellini showing off his pace, Daniele De Rossi's emotions got the better of him. Roma slowly began to implode. A dangerous tackle saw him receive a red while Leandro Castan's sending off reduced the team to nine men.

De Rossi may be a World Cup winner but he, alongside Chiellini are always susceptible to moments of madness and rash challenges when under pressure. However, he wasn't the only one to blame. Adem Ljajic received a yellow card for a silly challenge and Castan lost his head as he handled a la Luis Suarez. A defeat was too much to bear for the Romans and thus raised the devil within.

Garcia still has some work to do with the side psychologically. They are not far off Juve but they are missing that cynical edge and more importantly, humility. Juventus learned their lessons and sitting eight points clear on top of Serie A, it's difficult to see how they won’t manage yet another Scudetto. Let the boredom of victory continue.


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