Defense wins championships, from what we saw vs. Sampdoria these defensive performances and clean sheets will go a long way and return Juve to the bread and butter of what the history of this team is made of. Chiellini had a fantastic performance, good enough to win man of the match. You could sense his tenacity, his leadership and the grit which has long characterized him. He truly did help to keep the shutout with a phenomenal vintage Chiellini block to a shot that looked to almost certainly beat Sczesny. His cheers at the end of it definitely served to pump up his fellow defenders. Bonucci, Danilo and Cuadrado did good as well, forming a well composed line that seemed like it was used to playing together despite the constant rotations at the back.
Ronaldo played a good game even though it will not show up in the stat lines. He had a major participation in both goals. In the first in linking with Morata in a great one two which eventually fell to Chiesa and in the second with a beautiful field switching through ball to Cuadrado. The finishing was off for most of the night, but overall it was a sloppy game due to the conditions, one which was difficult for any team to take home a major advantage.
Arthur continues to be a positive revelation at this stage in the season. Often relegated to watching from the sidelines due to our crowded midfield, he has demonstrated that he adds something different to the games. That is two games in a row now where a lot of us have highlighted his performances. In this game in particular, he demonstrated a great reliability in pass accuracy and a tendency to calm the game down, dictating the tempo in the midfield. When trying to control and maintain a lead, this aspect is vitally important and it is great to know that Arthur can provide this.
Refereeing in the match was bizarre at times, while the weather conditions played a factor in a rough and tumble game, there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary fouls and the game flow seemed to lack fluidity because of this. One instance that could have changed the game in my opinion was a no call potential red card on Bentancour in the first half. After winning the ball back after an aggressive clean challenge in the final third it looked like Bentancour was through on goal, however he got tackled from behind in what looked to be a red card offense. The Juve players looked rightfully angry about this and made it known to the referee, to no avail and it stayed a yellow card. Another situation with Bentancour happened in the second half where he got a nonsense yellow card after a questionable foul call to begin with. In other games these types of decisions could cost us dearly, thankfully nothing came of it this time.
In the second half we saw the return of an assumable unsettled Coach Pirlo. While the game looked to be under control and with Juve ahead 1-0, Pirlo refused to make substitutions until late in the second half. His approach to often being cautiously optimistic, can feel counterproductive at times. In this game Sampdoria did have a few chances, while I don't believe they deserved to win or even tie, the game was still 1-0 until late on. Substitutions should have been made earlier to change the fluidity of the game to make it a 2-0 or a more comfortable lead. While Ramsey's substitution paid off in the end, bringing on Bernardeschi wasn't really adding anything to the mix. In fact, while he continues to be under constant scrutiny for his performances, Berna still puts himself in such positions. In this game he should have gotten a red card for an absolutely reckless studs up challenge in Sampdoria's corner. Hopefully his frustrations do not get the best of him in key moments as we move forward.