After the international break came to an end, Serie A offered one of the most highly anticipated games of the season, as champions Juventus hosted AC Milan on Saturday evening.
The game ended with a precious 1-0 victory for the Bianconeri, who were able to beat the excellent 16-years old Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the second half after Paulo Dybala finished a brilliant combination between Paul Pogba and Alex Sandro.
As the fierce rivalry between the two sides has been fairly one-sided in recent years (this was Juve's sixth consecutive win over Milan in Serie A), the game was equally important for both teams, as they were looking to rejuvenate their campaigns.
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The Bianconeri can certainly find more positives than their opponents after the narrow win, but let's have a look at few of the key points we can take from Saturday's game in Turin.
Hernanes is not Juve material
The ex-Lazio sensation looks a shadow of his former self, as the midfielder has been Juve's weakest link in each game he has played so far this season.
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Putting aside the fact he looked completely off the pace yet again, the 30-year-old lost the ball six times in just 45 minutes.
The ex-Inter man was substituted for Leonardo Bonucci at half time and Juve's coach Massimiliano Allegri justified his decision by claiming the ex-Inter man had suffered an injury.
However, rumours in Italy suggest the tactician used the non-existing injury just to cover up for Hernanes' poor performance. Guiseppe Marotta (Juve's CEO) is probably biting his nails now, as he only signed Hernanes following his failure to acquire any of the players in the Old Lady's wishlist which included the likes of Oscar, Julian Draxler and Marek Hamsik.
Gianluigi Donnarumma is a phenomenon
In case you are wondering who Donnarumma is and why he is a phenomenon, here is the answer - he is AC Milan's first choice goalkeeper at just 16-years-old.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, Donnarumma is starting ahead of two of the most experienced goalkeepers in Europe - Diego Lopez and Christian Abbiati. While Lopez's knee injury was the reason for Donnarumma to get his chance in the first place, Abbiati was the most logical choice to replace the Spaniard.
However, Milan's boss Sinisa Mihajlovic gave Donnarumma a chance and that might well prove to be his best decision since being appointed as coach.
Donnarumma made four saves against Juventus, two of which were simply outstanding, as the wonder kid punched away a deflected Hernanes free kick and produced an equally impressive stop against Paul Pogba's marvelous shot from outside the box. While everybody knows that Gianluigi Buffon represents the past and the present of Italian goalkeeping, there is little doubt Donnarumma signifies the future.
Juventus will challenge for the title
While few people doubted that before the start of the season, the Bianconeri's inconsistency allowed their rivals to gain a healthy lead at the top of the table.
The likes of Inter, Napoli, Roma and Fiorentina all registered a string of good results and still find themselves well ahead of the Old Lady in the standings.
However, Juve's win against Milan was their third in a row and as Allegri has finally started to sort his tactics out, his side has already started to climb up the table.
There are still 25 matches to be played in Serie A, which means there is plenty of time for the nine-point gap between Juventus and league leaders Inter to dissolve. Certainly not an easy target, but Allegri has enough talent at his disposal to ensure his men will challenge for the top spot at the end of the season.
Both sides need to improve quickly
It's obvious Juventus have already developed significantly recently, but Milan have earned just one point from their last two games and that was a 0-0 draw against Atalanta at San Siro.
The Rossoneri had to thank the aforementioned Donnarumma for the point, as the young custodian pulled several top-class saves to earn a clean sheet for his side.
Mihajlovic has much more work to do. His men need to be more aggressive and stop relying so much on the miracles performed by their goalkeeper, who after all, is only 16-years-old. The Serie A season has reached a very crucial point now and the next few games will define the realistic targets of the teams.
If Milan continue to slide down in terms of results and performances, they will probably miss out on the Champions league for a third consecutive season, a devastating dent towards any revival of the once-upon-a-time feared Italian giants.
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