Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to help Juventus fly past stubborn Spezia in a 4-1 victory for the Old Lady in Turin.

Juventus started the game in a much brighter fashion, as they lined up in a traditional 4-4-2. The interplay between the players while going forward oozed confidence and swagger as Juventus came to an early goal via Alvaro Morata. The goal, like midweek, was disallowed at first but then remained after a VAR check.

All good things of the first period faded towards the last 10 minutes of the half, as Spezia started exploiting the space between the defence and midfield lines of Juventus. Spezia equalised in the 42nd minute, courtesy of a Tommaso Pobega strike from the edge of the penalty box.

The two flat lines of four needed some tweaking, and in the second half, Weston McKennie became more compact with Juan Cuadrado coming a little forward – making it a 3-5-2. Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance since recovering from COVID – 19 and scored after just 3 minutes of having come on. He took Morata’s pass perfectly in his stride with a beautiful first touch and then rounded the keeper to pass it into an empty net. It was pure class.

The Portuguese’s strike was followed by a fantastic goal from Rabiot as he skipped past a couple of defenders cheekily and sneaked it into the bottom corner. Ronaldo capped the super sub’s show with a deft panenka from the penalty spot after the tricky Federico Chiesa was brought down in the box. Juventus certainly needed this victory, and boy, was it comprehensive.

Gianluigi Buffon 6

Buffon had a rather quiet game and didn’t have much to do, although there were a couple of shaky moments coming off his line and while distributing the ball too. Could not do much for the goal conceded as the gap between the defensive and midfield line got exposed.

Danilo 6

Danilo played a brilliant pass to find McKennie’s run for the first goal. The Brazilian had a busy afternoon, facing a lot of challenges on his flank. Danilo was defensively sound for large parts of the game, but the goal did get created from his side, and he would feel that he could do better perhaps. Danilo’s attacking input decreased as he became more like a central defender.

Leonardo Bonucci 7

The captain, Bonucci, put in a much more assured performance this time around after facing a lot of issues versus Hellas Verona. Bonucci was the chief distributor of the defence and did a stellar job at it. He led his team well and addressed the problems faced for the brief spell at the end of the second half.

Merih Demiral 7

Demiral was sent off in midweek versus Barcelona and he redeemed himself with a convincing defensive display. The Turkish centre-back made 3 interceptions and 2 clearances as he prevented Spezia to just an odd goal. His passing accuracy was also high, but he did not attempt any long balls.

Juan Cuadrado 6

Cuadrado left Juventus exposed a lot of times, as he attempted to go forward and make things happen. The Colombian failed to contribute offensively, as he completed 0 crosses and didn’t have any shots on target. His attacking impetus was reduced as he looked a lot more reserved in the latter parts of the game, which worked well for him as he finished the game with 8/10 successful ground duels won and made 3 interceptions as well.

Weston McKennie 8

McKennie was arguably the best player of the first half for Juventus. The 22-year-old played with profound confidence and looked extremely solid. He displayed a fine range of passing, terrific tenacity to drive at the defence and cause them problems. His brilliantly timed run and unselfish assist to Morata for the first goal was spectacular.

Arthur 6

Arthur was not one of the impactful ones on the pitch, but the Brazilian did a fine job at recycling possession and keeping the ball rolling. He did take up the deeper role in midfield and screened the defence as well. Completing 92 passes at an accuracy of 95% is a fine display of his skill.

Rodrigo Bentancur 6

For all the short passing done by Arthur in the middle of the park, Bentancur brought the final balls from midfield. The Uruguayan sprayed through balls to either flank and put in a real shift on the pitch. Guilty of disappearing for parts of the game, Bentancur was ultimately subbed off for Rabiot in the 62nd minute.

Federico Chiesa 8

Chiesa returned from Serie A suspension and made his way straight into the starting line up. The promising young Italian was on the top of his game. The role of a left wing-back didn’t hold him back from creating an impact in the offensive phase.

Chiesa assisted Rabiot’s goal with a beautiful chipped long ball and also won the penalty with some great trickery. He did not see much of the ball throughout the ninety but was extremely tricky and direct every time he was in possession. He should have also had a goal to his name in the first half as he pulled a shot narrowly wide from a one versus one situation.

Paulo Dybala 5

Dybala started the game over both Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski, but failed to justify his selection yet again. So far, it has been a season to forget for the Argentinian as manager Pirlo claims there is a physical issue with Dybala. His performance versus Spezia was nothing short of ordinary.

Dybala failed to match his performance versus Hellas Verona as he failed to deliver an accurate cross or hit the target with a shot. It was a wasteful display from La Joya who seemed to lose the ball cheaply and cause several transitions in favour of Spezia.

Alvaro Morata 9

Tipped to be the one to watch this game, Alvaro Morata continued his rich vein of form and found the net again. He also continued his consistent run of having a goal disallowed in each game, as the Spaniard was denied by VAR yet again.

Morata was absolutely on point versus Spezia in all departments. He made clever runs in behind the defence and used the space offered with a lot of speed. He also combined well with McKennie and Chiesa in the first half, creating chances for both players; in the second, he set up Ronaldo’s first goal. It was a fantastic performance indeed.

Substitutes

Cristiano Ronaldo 9

Ronaldo came on in the 56th minute in place of Dybala, and it took no more than 3 minutes for the Portuguese to get onto the scoresheet and put Juventus clear of Spezia. Ronaldo scored the first goal in style. His first touch was absolute class as he got away from his man with it and then rounded the keeper to slot home in an empty net.

The Portuguese maverick then capped his impactful performance with a cheeky panenka from the spot. His presence is simply crucial to Juventus as a team. He will play a key role in steadying Pirlo’s ship.

Aaron Ramsey 6

Ramsey came on at the hour mark in place of the lively McKennie to gain some match fitness but did not perform up to expectation. He was largely anonymous for his time on the pitch.

Adrien Rabiot 7

Rabiot came on for Bentancur and scored a wonderful goal, almost literally passing the ball into the net from close range. Rabiot displayed some fine dribbling skills as he completed 3 dribbles in his short cameo. Overall, he influenced the game positively for his time on the pitch.

Dejan Kulusevski N/A

Was terrific versus Hellas Verona last weekend, and probably deserved t0 start this week.

Gianluca Frabotta N/A

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