Juventus won their second consecutive game to maintain their perfect run in the 2018/19 Serie A season, This time, they didn’t have problems to defeat Lazio in their home opener at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, thanks to goals from Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic. Here are four things we learned from this game:
No one should worry about Cristiano Ronaldo’s “goalless” run
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus this summer and was arguably the biggest transfer in the world. However, some people were already asking Ronaldo to become a goal machine right away. Fans tend to forget that football players are humans, and that they need an adjustment period. Especially when it involves making such a drastic change as the one Ronaldo did this past summer.
With that in mind, fans shouldn’t worry about Ronaldo not scoring in the first two games of the season. He is going to “bounce back” – even though he is not playing poorly – and it’s not like he is not trying either. He looked very active against Chievo Verona, and assisted on Mario Mandzukic’s goal in the second half, It’s only a matter of time before the Portuguese star finds the back of the net.
No Buffon? No problem for Juventus
There was a lot of criticism towards Wojciech Szczesny following his performance against Chievo Verona, in which he conceded two goals. However, he bounced back in a big way and kept a clean sheet against a Lazio side that scored a whopping 89 goals last season. That’s quite a step forward, but some fans still believe Juventus should not have let Gianluigi Buffon leave the team this past summer.
However, fans should not worry about Buffon’s departure. Between Szczesny and summer signing Mattia Perin, Juventus should have not problems to feature a top defensive unit once again. After all, changes are always positive.
Lazio are not ready to contend yet
Entering the 2018/19 season, it seemed as if Lazio were ready to take a step forward. After all, they finished in fifth place in the 2017/18 campaign and they only miss out on a potential Champions League qualification after losing to Inter Milan in their final match of the season. However, things have not gone as expected. And if we take a look at how they have played thus far, the verdict is clear: they’re just not ready to contend yet.
Lazio wasted a 1-0 lead in the season opener against Napoli, and lost 1-2. Furthermore, they struggled in this one against Juventus since they only accounted for three shots on target, 43% of possession and a mere two corner kicks. Safe to say, that’s not enough when facing a top team. If they don’t turn things around soon, they might be forced to settle with another Europa League berth as their most realistic expectation.
It will be extremely hard to take down Juventus
Juventus have only played two games this season, but they already account for two wins, five goals scored and one clean sheet. Even though the season is still young, we can already see how it is going to end. The Old Lady will definitively improve as the calendar progresses, and Cristiano Ronaldo should play better as the season goes on, as well. Considering they also added Leonardo Bonucci to bolster the defence and Emre Can to add depth in midfield, the writing is on the wall for the rest of the league.
Don’t expect Juventus to slow down and leave the domestic campaign aside just because they have set their sights on the UEFA Champions League. They remain the top candidate to win the league title this season.
Juventus: Szczesny; Joao Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira (Betancur, 84′), Pjanic (Emre Can, 69′), Matuidi; Bernardeschi (Douglas Costa, 59′), Manduzkic, Ronaldo
Subs not used: Perin (GK), Pinsoglio (GK), Rugani, Barzagli, Benatia, Cuadrado, Dybala
Lazio: Strakosha; Wallace, Acerbi, Radu; Marusic, Parolo (Badelj, 64′), Lucas Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic (Durmisi, 79′), Lulic; Luis Alberto (Correa, 64′); Immobile
Subs not used: Proto (GK), Guerreri (GK), Bastos, Caceres, Basta, Cataldi, Murgia, Rossi, Caicedo
Goals: Pjanic (1-0, 30′), Mandzukic (2-0, 75′)
Referee: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)
Yellow cards: Alex Sandro, Douglas Costa, Emre Can (JUV); Parolo, Milinkovic-Savic (LAZ)
Red cards: None
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