Gonzalo Higuain a 9/10 and in total control as Juventus dismisses Atalanta
Juventus defeated Atalanta 2-0 to go four points clear at the top of Serie A, exerting their dominance yet again.
Atalanta always go into matches with the intent of providing a challenge in search of some points but found it especially hard to break down a disciplined Juventus side and didn't even manage to register a single shot on target.
Inspired by the form of their striker, Juventus looked to be in complete control of the game and grew stronger and more confident once the Argentine opened the scoring. Acting as both a No. 9 and a No. 10, he provided the assist for the second goal as Juventus cruised to another Serie A win without expending too much effort.
Another win means Juventus have gone four points clear at the top of the Serie A table and are favourites to collect another Scudetto. Moreover, they have yet to concede a league goal in 2018.
The team are still susceptible to silly errors in their game. Whether it be players proving imprecise with their passing or being dispossessed with ease, Juve must tighten up to ensure brilliance against the better sides that could exploit such errors.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Another well-prepared game in which Massimiliano Allegri's team dominated and took their chances. The squad played with chemistry, with fluidity and look to be in fine form in this critical part of the season. Excellent management of the game.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK, Gianluigi Buffon, 6 -- No shots on target by Atalanta granted Buffon an easy night in between the posts.
DF Stephan Lichtsteiner, 6 -- Delivered one fine weighted pass and tactically offered an outlet but struggled physically at times.
DF Mehdi Benatia, 6 -- Strong, alert and physical, Benatia is a reliable presence at the back even if he was a little anxious at times.
DF Giorgio Chiellini, 7 -- Nothing is as delightful to watch as Chiellini bursting through looking for goal. Brought down by Mancini, who earned a red for the challenge. Strong, authoritative and in excellent physical condition, Chiellini looked unstoppable. Always clearing, always intercepting.
DF Kwadwo Asamoah, 6 -- Nonstop action from the player whose passing proved very accurate. Knew how to overwhelm the opponent, how to deliver going forward and how to ensure defensive strength, although the yellow card at the end was silly.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 5 -- Not great from the set pieces and struggled to really elevate the level of play in midfield. Scrambled and worked hard to ensure defensive safety, but again, more is expected considering his level of talent.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 7 -- An interesting performance. He used available space better than he had in recent weeks, showed off his vision and employed his strength well but was still susceptible to moments of madness, such as giving the ball away to nearly allow Josip Ilicic a great chance. Scored the second goal.
FW Douglas Costa, 7 -- His pace makes the difference and allows him to create chances for the side as he learns to utilise his skills better. He's still not as perfectly precise in certain moments, shooting just wide, but a weapon Juventus can depend on in the final third.
FW Paulo Dybala, 7 -- Created moments of magic in an effort to elevate the level of play in the final third. Proved generous, read the game well and always created danger. But he must be a little more careful in possession, as he can be dispossessed easily.
FW Mario Mandzukic, 5 -- Not his day and clearly not at his optimum condition. Failed to provide to the overall quality of Juve's game.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 9 -- He's been spectacular in recent weeks in terms of how much he contributes to the overall play in the final third. Scored a wonderful goal, delivered the assist for Matuidi and created many more opportunities, including using his strength to keep off defenders and deliver a perfect ball for Costa, who shot just wide. A complete striker, he tracked back, pressed from the front and always looked for the ball.
DF Mattia De Sciglio, 6 -- Never lets his team down with his diagonal passing, finding Dybala to contribute to the second goal of the day.
MF Alex Sandro, 5 -- Combined well at the beginning but was then given a yellow for his ridiculous challenge. Inattentive.
DF Andrea Barzagli, N/A -- Barely on long enough to make an impact.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.