Juventus' team attack sparks win over Roma

Posted by Ben Gladwell

Arturo Vidal jumps for joy after giving Juventus the lead at home to AS Roma.GettyImagesArturo Vidal jumps for joy after giving Juventus the lead at home to AS Roma.

TURIN, Italy -- Under Antonio Conte, Juventus' strength -- or at least one of their strengths -- has been their ability to share the goals throughout the team and not rely too heavily on their strikers.

It was no different on Sunday night as the Bianconeri extended their lead at the top of Serie A to eight points with a 3-0 win over their nearest but still distant challengers, AS Roma.

Yes, Carlos Tevez is the first Juventus player to have gone beyond 10 goals in a season since Conte took charge, but that's still an astonishing statistic when you consider the club have won back-to-back titles

Arturo Vidal (10 last season -- the same as Mirko Vucinic) and Claudio Marchisio (nine in 2011-12, when Alessandro Matri led with 10) were among the Bianconeri's top marksmen in the past two successful seasons. With Juve, the goals can come from anywhere, and that is what makes them so unpredictable. It is what makes them so strong.

Vidal, it has been claimed, demanded Alessandro Del Piero's No. 10 shirt in the summer, prompting heated discussions among Juve fans as to whether he would be a worthy heir to that symbolic jersey.

Opinion may have been divided then, but had anybody inside the Juventus Stadium in the 17th minute been asked if the Chilean could pull it off -- pulling that shirt on -- then they would certainly not have begrudged him it. It was the current possessor of that shirt, Carlos Tevez -- Juve's current top marksman with 11 goals -- who teed him up to put the Bianconeri in front with a fine finish threaded inside Morgan De Sanctis' near post.

Roma, up to Sunday night, have proven their ability to keep the ball out of the back of the net. No other side in Europe's top divisions had conceded fewer than the seven the Giallorossi had shipped in 17 games before Vidal's strike. The success of Rudi Garcia's men, which in practically any other Serie A season would see them blazing a trail at the summit, has been built on solid foundations. But they had not faced Juve.

The Old Lady are not just one hitman, there are 10 of them, Gianluigi Buffon the exception. If the Italy goalkeeper started scoring, too, then they really would take some stopping. While the Roma defence focused on the aerial ability of Fernando Llorente and Paul Pogba, they failed to notice Leonardo Bonucci creeping around the back to slide in and convert Andrea Pirlo's free kick to double the home side's advantage early in the second half. Once again, it was not a striker on target.

Leonardo Bonucci scored Juventus' second goal in their top-of-the-table clash with Roma.GettyImagesLeonardo Bonucci scored Juventus' second goal in their top-of-the-table clash with Roma.

Giorgio Chiellini was about to make it three non-strikers to find the back of the net when Leandro Castan turned into the Roma goalkeeper to push his header out, earning a red card less than 60 seconds after Roma captain Daniele De Rossi had been sent for an early shower for a foul on Chiellini, interpreting once again the role of winger.

Vucinic stepped up to the spot to become the exception which proves the rule, tucking in a penalty to make it three and leave the nine men of Roma facing 15 minutes of damage limitation with their proud defensive record in tatters.

They can take some solace from not being the only side to have been demolished so ruthlessly at the Juventus Stadium. Lazio and Sassuolo conceded four, Napoli three. In fact, the only two sides who have come away from Turin unbeaten this season are Real Madrid and Galatasaray.

While Juve may have made it 10 league wins in a row with Sunday night's victory, and nine out of nine at home, they still have some work to do transforming their undoubted domestic superiority into similar success on the European stage. Having a defence and midfield which can score goals when the attack is less pungent has proved not to be enough when facing continental opposition.

With the final of the Europa League in Turin this year, and with a comfortable gap opening up at the top of the table as Juve search for a third straight Scudetto, there may be time for them to focus even more on getting it right beyond the Italian border. If they do, a Serie A, Coppa Italia and Europa League treble may not be beyond them. Part 1 looks accomplished already.


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