Weston McKennie was not, it’s truthful to say, significantly recognized for his aim scoring throughout his time with Schalke, however he has developed one thing of a style for it with Juventus. He scored, spectacularly, at Camp Nou in opposition to Barcelona late in 2020, and his 2021 began with a celebration in one other of European soccer’s nice cathedrals, San Siro, on Wednesday night time.
McKennie’s aim sealed an important 3-1 win for Juventus in opposition to A.C. Milan, one which retains Andrea Pirlo’s group in touching distance of Milan, and Inter, on the summit of Serie A, and preserves, for now, the dream of a 10th straight title.
Pirlo’s first few months as a coach have been — as is to be anticipated, actually — a little bit blended: His Juventus beat Barcelona and misplaced by 3-Zero at dwelling to Fiorentina within the house of a few weeks in December. There are moments when his imaginative and prescient of an ultramodern, swift, ruthless aspect comes into focus, and moments when that appears distant as a dream.
However what stood out most of all, on Wednesday, was how atypical the sport felt, given each its stakes — an outdated rivalry, two title contenders, the final unbeaten group in any of Europe’s main leagues in opposition to a aspect that will have successfully surrendered its title with defeat — and its location.
It’s unusual, actually, how highly effective the thought of Italian soccer as inherently defensive has proved to be. Serie A has not been like that for a while, not for a decade, maybe longer. Groups like Atalanta and Sassuolo are as attack-minded as anybody in Europe; Serie A video games, on common, had extra targets final season than the Premier League.
Wednesday at San Siro match that new picture of Italian soccer completely: a rapid-fire trade of punches, a startling absence of warning, a breathless, faintly frenzied tempo. Even at two targets down, with the sport pretty much as good as completed, Milan saved pouring ahead. The stereotype has been outdated for some time. It could be time to dispense with it for good.