A read of any of the top sports papers in Italy on Monday morning would help lift faith in Juventus and their title credentials this season.
The narrative of Scudetto redemption was clear.
“So much Juve” cried La Gazzetta dello Sport; “Juve are looking scary” said Il Corriere dello Sport; “not enough” was the stance from Tuttosport – the pro-Juventus paper which always goes beyond the realm of reality.
It’s a common theme for Antonio Conte’s men so far as they rekindled their relationship with the top of the table courtesy of an unchallenged 3-0 win over Palermo.
Lets face it, image is important for a team trying to forget about Calciopoli (2006 Italian football scandal) and Juve have been able to add that extra touch of gloss to matters on the pitch in high-profile games.
Juventus had not beaten Palermo in four years heading into battle, but the Sicilians’ record away from home has been poor this term.
They are yet to win. And so when Simone Pepe headed in the first goal, the crowd inside the Juventus stadium knew there would only be one result.
Further goals from Alessandro Matri and Claudio Marchisio followed as Juventus showed their 22 days without a game because of a cancelled fixture against Napoli and subsequent international break did not distract them with a near-flawless display.
Conte’s men have, perhaps, redrawn the map for honours this term, but the big question is whether they can continue their good start to the season and overshadow the central figures fighting for the title.
AC Milan, Napoli, Lazio, Roma and Inter are all eager to contest with the Turin-based outfit.
Some may find it surprising Lazio are joint top alongside Juve – that could change this Saturday when the two teams meet in Rome.
A 0-0 draw against Napoli set Edy Reja’s boys apart from their hostile neighbours who had all the chances at San Paolo. But, an in-form Federico Marchetti helped his side expand borders as they start to believe in a Roman revival.
The big disappointment of the weekend arrived from Milan’s game against Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi.
With Barcelona at San Siro on Wednesday night in the Champions League, the Serie A champions played out a typical 0-0 draw with the mindset clearly framed on the Spanish side as Clarence Seedorf got a rare start. Massimiliano Allegri’s side were dominant and forceful. Seedorf had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, and Alexandre Pato hit the post later on.
For Fiorentina though, the draw must have felt like a win as Delio Rossi’s first game in charge following the sacking of Sinisa Mihajlovic earned them an unlikely point.
Across town, a tinkered Inter side showed faith and tolerance against Cagliari, but they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel for a 2-1 win at San Siro. Thiago Motta and Philippe Coutinho struck before Joaquin Larrivey scored a late consolation for the visitors.
Claudio Ranieri’s mish-mash mix of players did the job, but that’s about all they were able to conjure up. It was scrappy with substance, but a performance which raises genuine doubts as to whether it will be sustainable heading into 2012.
Bologna 0-1 Cesena; Catania 1-2 Chievo; Genoa 1-0 Novara; Parma 2-0 Udinese; Siena 2-2 Atalanta; Roma 2-1 Lecce.
Tags: Juventus, Lazio, Palermo, Serie A, Simone Pepe