Pjanic 8/10 as Juventus rout Bologna, climb to second in Serie A
Thumping Bologna 3-0, Miralem Pjanic was exceptional and helped earn Juventus the win that put them second in Serie A, one point behind Napoli. In truth, Bologna played with no ambition and looked to be a little intimidated by the opponent. They not only never pushed up the pitch in search of a goal but created close to nothing, managing only one shot on target throughout the match.
Juventus were firmly in control throughout but were never really forced to play to their full potential, aware the goals and the win would be achieved with ease. With Pjanic scoring the first from a free kick before creating another for Mario Mandzukic, Blaise Matuidi scored the third to secure the win and leapfrog Inter in the league table.
Looking finely balanced in midfield, Juventus can be most proud of their defensive solidity, having kept six consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- More compliments for Massimiliano Allegri, who continues to ensure domination and goals despite leaving Paulo Dybala on the bench. Juventus are not only back to their defensive best but the midfield looks balanced and the win was secured without the need to exert too much energy.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Wojciech Szczesny, 6 -- Barring a sharp stop to deny Godfred Donsah, the goalkeeper had little to do at the back.
DF Mattia De Sciglio, 6 -- Getting better and better with every game, De Sciglio is playing with confidence as he pushed forward on the right, made timely runs and covered ground.
DF Mehdi Benatia, 7 -- His long balls are accurate and his interceptions are valuable. He's quickly become very important to this Juve team.
DF Andrea Barzagli, 6 -- Wise, authoritative and disciplined.
DF Alex Sandro, 6 -- A better performance from the full-back who combined well with Mandzukic, pushed forward effectively and remained alert at the back.
MF Sami Khedira, 6 -- His presence allows for balance in midfield but Khedira is not playing at his usual levels. He still tends to make the right decision on the ball but isn't proving his worth.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 8 -- A man of the match performance, Pjanic demonstrated his ability on the ball, his perfect movement and his vision. He scored the first goal, delivered the assist for the second and provided the creativity as well as the fight to recover possession.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 7 -- Scoring his first Serie A goal, Matuidi proved excellent tonight as he ran into the right spaces, pressed the opponent and delivered precision.
FW Douglas Costa, 7 -- When he is confident, his play is to be admired. His technique is delectable and he always looks to create danger, but he must play with less flash and more substance at times and avoid overcomplicating certain moves. Still, he's an attacking force to be reckoned with.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 6 -- A good game of sacrifice as he was largely kept quiet by Bologna. The forward raised the level of quality in the final third but perhaps should have attacked the ball better.
FW Mario Mandzukic, 7 -- A great finish to score Juve's second goal, Mandzukic needs to continue scoring like this if we are to remember he's a forward. Showed determination, heart, intelligence and efficiency to help secure the win.
FW Federico Bernardeschi, 6 -- Provided fancy football and some entertainment.
FW Paulo Dybala, NR -- Came on with desire to make an impact and immediately provided a threat. It's only a matter of time before he returns to the starting lineup.
MF Claudio Marchisio, NR -- Wasn't offered enough time in which to make an impression.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.