Pirlo particularly pleased with Bonucci's opening goal
Seven games remain in the current campaign, with Juve arguably facing the tougher run-in of the two sides. Games against Lazio and Roma are yet to be negotiated by Antonio Conte’s men, while Inter aside, the most knowledgeable of calcio fan would expect Milan to take maximum points from their remaining games despite their loss at the weekend.
Juve: Lazio (h), Cesena (a), Roma (h), Novara (a), Lecce (h), Cagliari (a), Atalanta (h)
Milan: Chievo (a), Genoa (h), Bologna (h), Siena (a), Atalanta (h), Inter (a), Novara (h)
However, the key component in the race for the Serie A title from a Bianconeri perspective is that it is now in their hands. While it is natural to monitor the results of Max Allegri’s side, the fact is that Juve must remain focused on their fixtures with seven wins standing between them and a surprise Scudetto. A sentiment echoed by Conte:
“I always prefer to lead because that way you depend on nobody except yourself. I know it’s better to be in front, because as a player and a Coach I have been in these situations.”
The commitment, desire and most importantly belief have been on show in the last few matches, from the win in Florence via the Derby d’Italia victory followed by wins over Napoli and Palermo. The likes of Leo Bonucci have begun to silence the critics, not only contributing to the best defence in Italy, but scoring vital goals. The unbeaten run now stretches to 31 games, while it is now just 17 goals conceded in that time.
The biggest shock of the weekend came courtesy of the myth, the legend himself ending a goal drought lasting almost a calendar year. Former Juventus ‘striker’ Amauri, of whom I’ve always been a huge fan...struck the killer blow at the San Siro on Saturday which indirectly helped his old club and sent the handful of Viola fans in the third tier of the Curva Nord into delirium. However, the Brazilian-born forward was keen to stress he wasn’t too interested in the impact his goal had on his old friends in Turin;
“Did I do a favour for Juventus? I do not care, all I care about is doing a favour for Fiorentina.’
Err...thanks anyway Amauri. Juve host Lazio on Wednesday night, 24 hours after Milan travel to Chievo hoping to reclaim top spot. Gigi Buffon has often admitted that he prefers to play after their rivals, giving his side a further incentive to match or better their result. That ideology will continue this week, as Juve will hope to widen the gap and take the first of seven steps to the Scudetto.
Can Juve go on to win their remaining seven games and secure the Scudetto? Do you feel more comfortable leading rather than chasing, knowing that the outcome of this title race is now in the hands of Conte & Co?
For more of my ramblings on Juve and Serie A, follow me on Twitter @italiafooty