A 3 week rest for Juventus, thanks to the international break, a postponed match and no European obligations turned out well for Juve, finally breaking their Palermo jinx and easily beating the Sicilian visitors 3-0 with goals from Simone Pepe, Alessandro Matri and Claudio Marchisio.
It was a year ago when Javier Pastore gave one of his finest performances, certainly his best till then, as Palermo easily beat Juventus in Torino, making a name for himself and adding a zero to his price tag while the Bianconeri problems were just starting in a very depressing 2009-2010 season. A year later, and Juventus lead the Serie A, the only undefeated club in Italy.
The reasons? The new stadium, perhaps. Maybe the change on the sidelines, as Antonio Conte, who played so many years for the club seems like a perfect fit for the side aspiring so badly to renew its dominance in Italy and later on, Europe. Wise acquisitions since January – Simone Pepe, Alessandro Matri, Andrea Pirlo Arturo Vidal, Stephan Lichtsteiner and more. Those who remained seemed to have become even better for it. More than all, Claudio Marchisio.
At 25, finally Marchisio has found his place on the pitch, where he causes the most damage to the opposition. The arrival of Pirlo has given Marchisio freedom to attack and leave the playmaking for player who do it better. His ability to join the attack in the 4-2-3-1, while Pepe and Vucinic draw constant attention from more than one player just help the international prove again and again his scoring ability. Five league goals after scoring only 13 previously in his career.
Palermo, despite another solid start, once again, don’t have enough to challenge for the title. Juventus were the only top 6 side to win their match this weekend, but Palermo’s inability to win away from home (one draw, five defeats) while remaining perfect as hosts will keep them behind Juve, Milan, Lazio and Napoli. It’s hard to believe Roma and Inter will stay so low for so long as well.
It’s too soon to declare Juventus as champions. They have won their big matches – beaten Inter away, Milan at home and now Palermo. Home draws against the likes of Genoa and Bologna raise some doubts. The upcoming week, with matches against Lazio and Napoli back to back, away from home, will teach us much more about how good this Juve side really is.