Juventus, fans convincing against Siena

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Valerio Pennicino/Getty ImagesAntonio Conte was fully in command of all of Juventus Stadium in Sunday's win over Siena.

Considering Juventus' recent form and Siena's ability to play with both pace and technique, Sunday's match against Antonio Conte's old club carried with it a few dangers. But a convincing performance by the Italian champions not only demonstrated the vast difference in quality between the sides, but highlighted how effective Juve's midfield can be when not properly closed down. Walking away with a 3-0 victory, Juventus now boast a seven-point lead at the top of the Serie A table over Napoli, who play on Monday.

- Serie A: Juventus open up seven-point gap
- Highlights: Juventus 3-0 Siena (UK & Ireland)

Juventus Stadium was particularly noisy with fans chanting "Juve!" at every opportunity to get the team going. After Conte criticised the lack of noise from the fans this season, he demanded an atmosphere similar to that of last season's that helped to push the team forward in a remarkable year. The fans duly responded and wilfully cheered the team for the entirety of the match. Their actions paid off and Conte went up to thank them afterward alongside several of the Bianconeri players.

Siena were surprising in how unambitious they were at the start. Seemingly accepting the fact they do not possess the quality to take on Juventus, they allowed the champions to dominate, especially in the first half.

Rarely pressing to win the ball back, not only did Siena invite pressure from their opponents, but limited their own opportunities going forward. Hoping to soak up the pressure before counter-attacking, Juventus instead focused on making the most of the time they had on the ball.

Whether it was Andrea Pirlo's interesting lobs forwards or Leonardo Bonucci's uninterrupted dribbles towards the final third, Siena made no effort to regain possession and catch the Old Lady off guard.

Instead of disrupting Juve's rhythm, the Robur allowed the home side to easily play the ball out from the back and rarely managed to close down Juve's more technical players. Struggling in particular with Mirko Vucinic's movement, the Juventus attacker had a great first half as he drifted in between the lines and produced key passes to create goal-scoring opportunities. It was his through-ball that eventually found Stephan Lichtsteiner to produce Juve's first goal.

With only 30 percent possession in the first half, Siena barely had time to construct attacking passages. Any creative movements initiated by their more technical players were quickly shut down by the Juventus midfield that barely missed the absence of dynamic midfielder Arturo Vidal.

On the other hand, the Old Lady played an assured game in the first 45 minutes. Adopting a direct approach, they created several chances in front of goal, only to see several squandered in true Juve fashion.

The second half started rather poorly for the Bianconeri, who struggled with precision, allowing Siena to start brightly. The visitors took greater command, had more time on the ball and were quick to react to Juve errors.

Innocent Emeghara, who could barely affect the game in the early stages, began getting the service he required, creating a few good opportunities.

However, wonderfully well-timed tackles and interceptions from Andrea Barzagli, in addition to several impressive saves from the ever-alert Gianluigi Buffon ensured the Old Lady kept another clean sheet.

Claudio Marchisio especially played a great match contributing to both sides. Always on hand to make well-timed runs from midfield to exploit gaps in Siena's defence, his defensive work proved more essential as he tracked back to close down space and limit Siena's movements.

The win was essential for the Old Lady's confidence, especially after her loss to Roma last weekend. While a clean sheet was important, Conte will be particularly happy the players who were one yellow card from missing the match against Napoli ensured their presence in Friday's key game.

The pressure is on for Napoli to respond Monday when they visit Udinese.

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