TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 02: Claudio Marchisio of Juventus FC celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AC Milan on October 2, 2011 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Serie A 2011, Week 11: 3-0 Win Over Palermo Takes Juventus Top Of Table

Juventus, captializing on the sexy combination of Alessandro Matri and Claudio Marchisio, beat Palermo 3-0 to go top of Serie A.

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Juventus Vs. Palermo: Comfortable 3-0 Win Takes Juventus Top Of Serie A

Palermo didn't come to Turin looking for a draw, but after the second Juventus goal, the rosanero just...gave up. By the third goal, they looked almost ready to applaud the skill of Claudio Marchisio and Alessandro Matri. I guess when you've yet to score a goal away from home, you set off on your travels with very little expectations. Juventus, meanwhile, are unbeaten in ten matches, and have moved to the top of the table after Udinese's loss to Parma.

Simone Pepe opened the scoring for the Old Lady with a strong header off a great cross from Giorgio Chiellini. Pepe was inexplicably unmarked in front of goal, and made the rosanero pay when the ball bounced past Alexandros Tzorvas. But Palermo weren't prepared to give up just yet, closing the first half with Fabrizio Miccoli assisting Josep Ilicic, but the Slovenian's shot was saved by Gigi Buffon.

But the majority of rosanero hope drained away just after the restart, when Matri scored the second for Juve. Stephan Lichtsteiner put in a through ball for the forward, who was racing up the right. With pinpoint precision, Matri kept the shot low, putting it under Tzorvas and into the back of the net. With his fifth goal in Serie A, Ale took the Juventus scoring lead -- but could only keep it for about twenty minutes.

Then came Claudio Marchisio, scoring his fifth goal of the season, and showcasing just how well Antonio Conte's training ground routines are translating onto the pitch. Mirko Vucinic, coming up the left, wisely laid off from a shot on goal, instead passing to the center. Rather than take the ball himself, Matri let it slide between his legs and on to Marchisio, who neatly finished. Pure. Sex.

Miccoli had the best chance for Palermo, but it didn't come until the dying minutes of the match. The Palermo captain sent a great shot through the Juventus defense, but Buffon was there with a fantastic save to preserve the Juventus clean sheet.

The question now isn't whether Juventus have enough gas to capture the scudetto. No, the question is why on earth does Claudio Marchisio not have his very own personal cameraman?

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Juventus Vs. Palermo, Serie A Round 11: Juventus Really Turning It On...Or Something On

Claudio Marchisio is hot hot hot, but Alessandro Matri is pure sex on a football pitch. It was Marchisio who scored the third goal for Juventus against Palermo, notching his fifth bianconeri goal this season, but it was Matri who got everyone's knickers in a twist. Mirko Vucinic, who for once decided it might be best to not shoot, sent the ball through to the center. Rather than pounce, Matri executed a perfect dummy, letting the ball slip through his legs and on to Marchisio, rushing up the right. Marchisio connected perfectly, sliding the ball past a diving Alexandros Tzorvas.

Watching great football is one of the best ways to spend a Sunday. But when the calcio on display is super-sexy, it moves up into the top three. Add in Matri's long-lashed eyes and Marchisio's penetrating stare, and suddenly, nothing is better. At least, nothing legal that you can do alone in your living room.

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Juventus Vs. Palermo, Serie A Round 11: Alessandro Matri Makes It 2-0 For Juve

The second half between Juventus and Palermo has kicked off with a bang -- a smart, snappy shot from Alessandro Matri, showing why he's the top scorer in bianconeri. Stephan Lichtsteiner sent the ball to Matri over on the right side, whose positioning was simply perfect. The shot was low, sliding under Alexandros Tzorvas and into the back of the net.

A tougher road for the rosanero now, but not an impossible one. For all the thrill in their attack, the Old Lady still have a bit of weakness at the back. Just a moment of mental weakness would allow the likes of Fabrizio Miccoli or Josep Ilicic to slip behind and put one past Gigi Buffon. Rather than concentrate on defending a two-goal lead, it might be wiser for Antonio Conte's side simply to keep scoring as many goals as possible.

And if you're not a Juventus sympathizer, at least it's always fun to watch the numerous ways Mirko Vucinic can miss the goal.

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Juventus Vs. Palermo, Serie A Round 11: Simone Pepe Gives Juventus The Lead

It took twenty minutes for Juventus to record the first goal in their match against Palermo, but the bianconeri looked intent on scoring right from the starting whistle. Shots from Alessandro Matri and Claudio Marchisio missed the intended target, but Simone Pepe neatly put one past Alexandros Tzorvas. Giorgio Chiellini sent a lovely ball in from the left side, floating over the heads of the rosanero defenders, to where Pepe, unmarked in front of goal, was waiting to head it into the back of the net.

If this is the sole goal in the match, it will be mighty surprising. Before the goal, Palermo had already shown they came for all three points, unlike some squads (ahem Lazio ahem) this weekend, who were content with a draw. Josep Illicic had a great chance on goal, which Gigi Buffon managed to push away from its path to the bottom corner. Fabrizio Miccoli, too, wanted a piece of the action, but his shot went wide and high.

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Juventus Vs. Palermo, Round 11: Lineups

Palermo may have beaten Juventus in their last three visits to Turin, but it's stats such as this one that really have no bearing on the actual match before us. The rosanero travel without Mauricio Pinilla and Abel Hernandez, making it difficult to imagine that this will be the day Palermo record their first away win of the season. Juve, meanwhile, have no significant injuries, and will be doing their best to protect their unbeaten record.

 

Juventus Starting XI: Gianluigi Buffon, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini; Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo; Simone Pepe, Arturo Vidal, Mirko Vucinic; Alessandro Matri

Juventus bench: Marco Storari, Paolo De Ceglie, Michele Pazienza, Eljero Elia, Emanuele Giaccherini, Fabio Quagliarella,  Alessandro  Del Piero

Palermo Starting XI: Alexandros Tzorvas, Eros Pisano, Matias Silvestre, Mauro Cetto, Federico Balzaretti; Guilio Migliaccio, Armin Bacinovic, 5 Barreto; Edgar Bertolo, Josep Ilicic; Fabrizio Miccoli

Palermo bench: Francesco Benussi, Andrea Mantovani, Ezequiel Munoz, Francesco Della Rocca, Afriyie Acquah, Eran Zahavi, Ignacio Lores

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Fiorentina Vs. AC Milan, 2011 Serie A: Boring Scoreless Draw Drains The Soul Of Every Observer

Say hello to the return of boring Serie A. Fiorentina (with a little help from the linesman) were able to hold the big guys of AC Milan silent and never really looked like they wanted more than a scoreless draw out of the match, which left the visitors with a lot of possession and not really that much to show for it.

They were unfortunate not to go ahead in the first half after Zlaten Ibrahomivic flicked on a cross into the path of Clarence Seedorf, who buried his shot past Artur Boruc only for the linesman to incorrectly rule the goal out for offside. From then on it was a matter of Milan pouring bodies forward only to find half the Fiorentina team encamped in their own penalty area, leading to a lot of crazy pinball in the box but no actual goals. Aside from a brief spell of second-half pressure, the hosts barely ever strayed over their halfway line, playing dull, defensive football that rather diminished the match as a spectacle.

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Napoli Vs. Lazio, Serie A Round 11: Encouraging Performance By The Azzurri, But Federico Marchetti Preserves 0-0 Draw

Ninety minutes of utter frustration for Napoli fans, as Lazio turned up at the San Paolo looking like last season's side, the one that played for the draw, the one content to sit back and simply defend. While that strategy often got the best of the biancocelesti last season, this year they've got Federico Marchetti in front of net. While Fernando Muslera was well known for his bumbling errors in Serie A, Marchetti didn't put a finger wrong, earning Lazio a deserved point in Naples tonight.

While Napoli didn't look their best in the first half, they came storming out in the second. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in that dressing room, knowing what, exactly, Walter Mazzarri said to have the partenopei suddenly buzzing around the pitch, threatening from every angle. While the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and company managed to get behind the Lazio defense, they simply couldn't catch Marchetti off-guard.

The most potent example of the ex-Cagliari keeper's tremendous game came in the dying minutes of injury time. El Pocho, convinced he'd found a way to get the winning goal in zona Napoli, sent his shots through the legs of a Lazio defender. The ball was headed for the bottom corner of the net but Marchetti somehow managed to spot it, get his gloves on it, and push it away.

And so a 0-0 draw in the end that preserves Lazio's unbeaten streak at eight matches running. What was encouraging from Napoli, though, was their second half performance. In the league, the azzurri have oft looked a shadow of their last season's self, but their play was near-perfect for the last 45 minutes (excepting a shot from Walter Gargano, which should never be allowed), and on another day, they would've picked up all three points.

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Napoli Vs. Lazio, Serie A Round 11: Goalless At Halftime

Well, the first half of Napoli vs Lazio has not been nearly as fun as the goalless first 45 between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, but it hasn't been an utter bore, either. Unfortunately for neutral watchers, Edy Reja knew just what he was doing in this trip to the San Paolo, and the visitors have dug in their heels, sitting back in front of goal, content to every once in a while make a half-hearted attempt on goal. Djibril Cisse had a good go, stinging the hands of Morgan De Sanctis, but that's the only real talking point from the Lazio attack. Cisse has also picked up a knock, which will likely cause a bit of panic for the biancocelesti, who have little else to offer up front.

As for Napoli, they've been well and truly smothered. They've been resorting to shots from distance by Gokhan Inler, Marek Hamsik, and Blerim Dzemaili. Dzemaili, in general, has been the weakest link in this Napoli side, taking the title even from Salvatore Arnoica. The midfielder has constantly lost possession, cheaply giving away the ball, or simply not knowing where to find his teammates to complete a pass. Partenopei fans must be hoping Walter Gargano gets a few minutes in the second half.

For those hoping this would be another 4-3 thriller, well, it might be best if you just tune out now. Barring a significant change in tactics from Walter Mazzarri -- and what can he do, really, other than put a fourth attacker on? And we've seen how well that has turned out thus far this season -- it's likely the only goal in this will come from a set piece, if it comes at all.

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