As soon as Gonzalo Higuain scored against Bayer Leverkusen there was a sense of inevitability about the result, in an almost Allegri-esque way with Juventus dominant and never truly troubled by their German opponents.
Yes, the Bianconeri gave Leverkusen plenty of the ball, almost challenging them to breakdown the Bonucci-De Ligt wall, but they never came close. At one point the Bundesliga side had 60 percent of the ball, which translated to exactly zero shots on target.
Bonucci led by example, and De Ligt looks ever more comfortable in the black and white, while Juan Cuadrado was a star from right-back. The Colombian, after a shaky first few moments, almost single handedly owned his flank, winning more duels than any of his teammates – 12.
Cuadrado also attempted more dribbles than any other Juventus player – 3 – and completed every single one of them. While after the game coach Maurizio Sarri commented that with some defensive awareness, he could become one of the best full-backs in the world.
Higuain is key
Another positive performance from the returning Argentine. Two assists and one goal in the Champions League over Juventus’ two games indicate he will be a fundamental pillar of Sarri’s side.
His work alongside Cristiano Ronaldo resembles that of Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, where the Frenchman essentially sacrificed his numbers for the Portuguese superstar. Higuain is the player who does Ronaldo’s running, and on top of that he still proves to be clinical when given a chance.
The Bosnian’s safety first attitude has often been derided in Turin. He is fine player, but never decided matches. With just two goals and six assists last season, of those only around half were decisive and won Juventus points.
In contrast over the first couple of months, he has already been a much more fundamental part of the Juventus attacking fulcrum. Spraying passes all over the field, keeping the side’s rhythm, but more importantly taking more risks, trying to find a killer ball a little more often. That is the Sarri effect.
Pjanic has essentially been unleashed by his coach. The 29-year-old is a wonderfully technical player and is now able to express himself a little more in Turin, which will only reap positive results for Juventus.