Only this Juventus side could make the easiest of contests look so difficult. The Bianconeri battered a depleted Genoa on Sunday night, but the contest was somewhat in the balance up until the 82nd minute.
Heroics from Salvatore Sirigu in between the Rossoblu sticks combined with some woeful Bianconeri finishing ensured the contest never got beyond the visitors. But, Andriy Shevchenko’s side were horribly off the pace as they failed to register a single shot in Sunday’s bout. According to OptaPaolo, it was the first time Juventus haven’t conceded a shot in a game since 2004/05.
Here are three takeaways from the Genoa victory.
Luca Pellegrini’s precautionary substitution
We may have seen Massimiliano Allegri adopt a bolder, more progressive approach in Juve’s last two outings. But that doesn’t mean he can’t sprinkle in some of his vintage pragmatism.
On Sunday night, starting left-back Luca Pellegrini was unfairly booked for a crunching but fair tackle in the first half. The referee’s hasty caution forced Allegri into action at the break, with Alex Sandro appearing for the second half as opposed to the all-action Pellegrini. Some speculated some sort of injury to the Italian while the majority lamented the manager for returning to his conservative ways by re-introducing one member of the faltering old guard.
The reasoning for Pellegrini’s substitution was obvious and Allegri clarified his decision post-match: “Pellegrini? I took him off because he was booked and I preferred to bring on Alex Sandro at the start of the second half. I’m happy with Luca, he played an excellent game,” he told Romeo Agresti.
The manager was right to be pleased with Pellegrini despite his booking. The young Italian is a breath of fresh air down the left-hand side with his exuberance and energy proving infectious. You can’t help but love the guy. Still, while Allegri’s decision to remove him from the contest was a tad overcautious, there was no need to risk being reduced to ten men in a game Juventus were in total control of.
Alex Sandro was unspectacular but functional as his replacement, but the difference between the two full-backs is light and day in some aspects. We saw 45 minutes of Allegri’s two favoured left-back options on Sunday night and Pellegrini’s superiority was pretty distinct. The Italian deserves a sustained run in the side.