Juventus couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2020 after registering a comfortable and, at times, dominant 4-0 victory over Cagliari on Monday.
Although the Bianconeri only broke the deadlock four minutes after half-time thanks to some laughable defending by the Isolani, it was one-way traffic from kick-off. The often criticized Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey both put in their best performances of the season, while Merih Demiral showed why the Old Lady are right to turn down any offers made for his services by putting in a solid 90 minute shift.
It’s no surprise then that the overall team performance resulted in Juve’s sixth clean sheet of the season, their first since a 1-0 victory over AC Milan on November 10, 2019. It’s also just the second time Maurizio Sarri’s men have registered four goals in a Serie A match, only the last time they did it came in that heart stopping 4-3 victory over Napoli back in August which signalled alarm bells for how easily the Juve defence capitulated when put under pressure.
Instead, Monday’s match was the type of defensive performance often seen under Massimiliano Allegri as Cagliari offered next to nothing going forward. The Isolani struggled to break through the Juve midfield, and on the rare chance they did, the backline was there to cancel out any sniff of danger.
While things in attack were certainly more Sarrian than Allegrian, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who turned back the clock to finally put in the kind of performance he showed with regularity while at Real Madrid.
Monday’s hat-trick was his first in black and white – a perfect way to get his 2020 started after some criticism in recent times, with some suggesting Juve were being forced to drag along the somewhat underperforming Portuguese ace.
Instead the 34-year-old showed what he is capable of, making the most of a distracted Cagliari back-line to fire home three times in the second-half. Now second in the goalscoring table with 13 goals, a mere six behind Lazio’s Ciro Immobile, you couldn’t help but feel that Ronaldo is ready to make a strong push for top spot given how seamlessly he and Juventus dismantled the sixth-place Rossoblu.
Although Ronaldo’s post-match wish to see Inter drop points against Napoli didn’t come true, Juve will no doubt settle for more of the results delivered on the field Monday over anything else.