Despite some sparkling performances thus far from the vast array of outfield talent that coach Ciro Ferrara has at his disposal, it is the ever reliable figure between the sticks that is proving he is surely the most important part of the Bianconeri's title winning puzzle.
After his mid-week performance against French champions Bordeaux, his next challenge was to shut out newly-promoted Livorno in this latest Serie A clash. Albeit there were long periods of dominance on Juve’s part, the away side tested the Azzuri’s number on more than one occasion. Had it not been for his heroics in denying the likes of Francesco Tavano and Cristiano Lucarelli, the game may have had a very different ending. The shot-stopper has now only conceded a solo strike from Roma’s Daniele de Rossi after four games of the season, and his fine form has also been replicated on the international stage in the qualification campaign.
A well-placed header from Vincenzo Iaquinta, and a delightful chip from Claudio Marchisio were enough to grab all three points, maintaining Juve’s 100% record in the league this season. However, surely with such a towering presence in goal, the ability to shut out opponents week in week out will prove to be just as important as firing in the goals to Scudetto glory. His undoubted talent is of course something that Juventus fans have had the luxury of experiencing over many years now, but with the league a realistic target for the first time in a long time, he will be more important than ever. The question I pose to you is this, had it not been for 'the Old Lady's' most reliable performer, would we be flying so high?
As is the usual case with a side containing so many stars, many of the plaudits will be directed toward the goal scorers and the creative players within the side. However, to buck the trend as it were, I feel it is only appropriate that Gigi is given the fitting praise he so rightfully deserves after this latest performance. If the defensive unit can continue to keep it tight at the back, and with a side brimming with potential goal-scorers and match winners, it can only lead to big things for the Turin giants this season.
All in all, another fine display sees the Bianconeri climb back to the summit of the table, albeit perhaps for only 24 hours. One thing is for sure, we can rest easy, in the knowledge that we are safe in the hands of Mr. Gianluigi Buffon.