There was a lot of anticipation preceding Juventus' visit to the Stadio Friuli as they ventured to face 15th place Udinese. Both over whether they would be complacent against the theoretically inferior opposition and fail to maintain their perfect record this season, and over the return of one conspicuous superstar: Cristiano Ronaldo.
On his return to the starting XI, Ronaldo emphatically doubled his new side's lead, following an Rodrigo Bentancur's earlier goal.
Bentancur: “It’s the game the Coach wanted to see and we’re very happy, Clearly, I am very happy with the first goal of my career with Juve, but I am even happier than we got the victory. I dedicate it to my Mother, who is watching over me.” pic.twitter.com/f5bXvYFNu6— Juvefc.com (@juvefcdotcom) October 6, 2018
Key Talking Point
Udinese came out and executed what been requested of them from manager Julio Velazquez: to absorb as much of the inevitable pressure as possible, by maintaining composure and integrity at the back. And despite the couple of instances where they of course conceded, they performed to a satisfactory level.
They knew that they were engaging with superior opposition, and unlike so many other teams in recent years, didn't capitulate.
However, Udinese were maybe too content remaining on the defensive, and ultimately that complimented Juve's offensive style. They allowed them to maintain the possession and that was the cause of their demise.
Starting XI: Scuffet (7), Stryger (6), Ekong (5), Nuytinck (7), Samir (6), Fofana (6), Behrami (6), Mandragora (5), Barak (6), De Paul (5), Lasagna (6)
Subs: Teodorczyk (5), Vizeu (5), Pussetto (5)
Star Man - Simone Scuffet
Good to see Scuffet having a fine game.— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) October 6, 2018
Constantly under duress, with the only significant aid in front of him coming from Bram Nuytinck, but despite conceding some two goals, he made a number of fantastic saves to keep his side in the game.
Worst Player - William Troost-Ekong
There was nothing truly terrible about his performance, as he did what was asked of him, but he is awarded the dishonour purely due to the futility of his efforts. As a collective, the defence remained as stubborn as possible, but a couple of momentary lapses in concentration were more than enough for their opponents to capitalise upon. These aforementioned lapses of concentration were more often than not, from Troost-Ekong.
Key Talking Point
One word: imperious. It's what Juventus were tonight, and it's what they've been all season.
La Vecchia Signora continues their incredible run of form with an extremely impressive performance in Udine on Saturday evening. Judging on current form, it's hard to imagine any team in Europe - let alone Italy - stopping them anytime soon.
Starting XI: Szczesny (7), Cancelo (7), Bonucci (7), Chiellini (8), Alex Sandro (8), Bentancur (9), Pjanic (8), Matuidi (7), Dybala (7), Mandzukic (8), Cristiano Ronaldo (9)
Subs: Can (6), Bernardeschi (6), Barzagli (5)
Star Man - Cristiano Ronaldo
A constant threat to the Udinese defence, Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return to the Juventus starting XI with a fantastic goal.
Worst Player - Joao Cancelo
Allocated worst player simply because he didn't have a great burden to have to deal with.
Juventus have considerably more difficult opposition in their next tie against sixth placed Genoa, but will be playing hosts at the Allianz Stadium and will be expecting nothing less than another comfortable win.