Marchisio inspires record-breaking Juve to victory

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Claudio Marchisio celebrates his goal against Cagliari.GettyImagesClaudio Marchisio celebrates his goal against Cagliari.

Breaking records, scoring goals and collecting points is now a given for Juventus. No matter how tactically brilliant, confident or prepared a Serie A opponent is, it seems when the Turin giants want the victory, they get it. Winning 4-1 away at Cagliari, only Antonio Conte's men make a difficult game look easy as there's always an ace up the coach's sleeve, or a player capable of changing the game. Eleven consecutive wins, only two goals conceded. What a team, what a record.

Juventus may be predictable with their strength, but on Sunday Cagliari proved themselves anything but predictable by playing an excellent game to threaten the Champions. Tactically excellent, the Islanders showed no fear, played with confidence and fulfilled the promise their coach made in his pre-match conference. Diego Lopez vowed to deploy a side that would attack the visitors and he did just that.

Taking advantage of Juve's slow and laboured movements, Cagliari moved with pace to regularly threaten a hesitant Bianconeri back-line. Without Andrea Barzagli present at the back for the Old Lady, there were lapses in concentration, errors and a lot of confusion, which only served to fuel the home side's confidence in attack.

Every time Andrea Pirlo loses the ball in midfield, Juventus struggle and on Sunday, Lopez's men made the most of his error to eventually secure the set piece that led to the opening goal.

Blazing forward, looking for opportunities and closing down the spaces well at the back, Cagliari looked capable of a second, that was until Fernando Llorente made the most of a cross to net the equaliser.

Yet for all their attacking excellence, there's little the Sardinians can do about the sheer strength of a Juve side that play until the final minute. Cagliari began to tire, the Bianconeri needed to raise the tempo and thus brought on Claudio Marchisio for Pirlo to help push the team forward. The impact was almost immediate as Juventus played swifter, attacked ferociously and then managed the second, third and fourth goals.

With the victory, Juventus broke their record for most consecutive wins in Serie A, set by the 1932 Bianconeri side.

If David Moyes, watching from the stands, admired Marchisio before, he must worship him now. This blog has long hailed the footballing intelligence of the Juve youth product. A man who astounds with his ability to make the right runs, his finishing has suffered this season and his confidence has taken a hit but he's a midfielder worthy of attention and praise.

His arrival on the pitch changed the game. His presence allowed the team to quicken their movements whilst his rocket of a goal demonstrated his full range of skills. There is little he cannot do. Versatile enough to be played wide right, on the left as the link behind the striker or as defensive midfielder, Marchisio interprets his roles better than most, simply because he understands the game.

Many have criticised the alleged little impact he has made in the final third this season. Yet on analysing his performances, it's clear his teammates often choose to pass to the front two as opposed to the midfielder. His finishing has not been the best this season, but even if he is not being given the ball, his sheer presence and positioning is enough to drag defenders away and allow the likes of Carlos Tevez more room to operate.

Tevez is pure individual quality, based on instinctive play and extraordinary ability. Marchisio on the other hand is the perfect team player, who uses his understanding of the game to unlock opportunities. His true value becomes more apparent when the match being played poses a greater challenge as that is when Juve need to think rather than rely on superior technical quality.

Better than all their opponents in Serie A this season, Marchisio has seen less playing time than usual with Conte preferring the exquisite ability of Paul Pogba. However, when it came to the tough matches against Real Madrid, Conte is the first to recognise the quality the player adds to a team unit, describing him as the man he "relates to the most."

Was Moyes there for Marchisio? He knows him well and has tracked him before, but Conte is not willing to sell. Besides, who said he's there for only one player? He has also shown an interest in Davide Astori, but one thing that can be guaranteed: he's not there for Arturo Vidal. Juventus have made it extremely clear they will not let Vidal go, not even for all the money in the world.


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