Juventus earned an emphatic 3-0 victory against Lecce with all three goals coming in the second half of this Serie A Matchday 21 encounter.
Dusan Vlahovic made the difference for the Bianconeri, scoring twice for the Italian giants, and he is now experiencing a purple patch in form. Meanwhile, Weston McKennie is showing that he can be an effective performer in midfield, even if he is yet to score a goal this season.
Meanwhile, Lecce look nothing like the team that was in the Champions League places earlier in the season. One of the reasons for this slump is the lack of goals, especially from Montenegrin striker Nikola Krstovic.
Vlahovic setting Juventus up nicely for the remainder of the season
Vlahovic has been in excellent form for Juventus in recent weeks, and he continued his good run with a brace against Lecce.
Kenan Yildiz had the initial effort saved by Wladimiro Falcone, but an Andrea Cambiaso cross from the left was struck by the Serbian striker, whose strike took a bounce before finding the back of the net. His second goal came after cross from Filip Kostic was sent in the direction of McKennie, who headed the ball towards goal and the Serbian directed it into the net.
Vlahovic has now scored six goals in his last five Serie A appearances for Juventus. As the season progresses, the true contenders emerge and having their key striker score regularly will be of great benefit for the Bianconeri.
McKennie progressing as a midfielder at Juventus
When Juventus acquired McKennie from German club Schalke 04 in the summer of 2020, the Bianconeri were getting a midfielder known for his work ethic and stamina. Perhaps not the most accomplished player on a technical level, you could not fault the United States Men’s National Team player for his effort.
Prior to the start of the 2023/24 season, the American had an unsuccessful loan spell at Leeds United, and La Vecchia Signora tried to sell him, but to no avail. Failing to sell the 25-year-old has turned out to be a blessing as he has been one of the unsung heroes of the Bianconeri midfield.
McKennie can play as a right wing-back or as a box-to-box midfielder. Although he has not scored yet, he has supplied four assists in his last five competitive matches including that one for Vlahovic against Lecce, and those assists show that his passing has improved significantly.
With his improved ball delivery, the American has gone from being a workhorse to one of the most complete midfielders in the Juventus squad.
Lecce need Krstovic to start scoring again or risk relegation
Lecce are desperate for goals, having found the back of the net 20 times, and a dry spell from Nikola Krstovic has not helped their situation.
The 23-year-old scored in his first three Serie A matches for the Salentini and they were as high as third in the table. Since that spell, his last goal was against Sassuolo on Matchday 8 and he has gone 13 matches without scoring in the Italian top-flight. He was replaced with Roberto Piccoli in the 72nd minute after another quiet evening.
With Piccoli scoring just three times, Krstovic does not have much competition for the centre-forward role. However, Lecce need him to start firing again if they are to avoid being dragged into the relegation battle later in the campaign.