All Stories, Match Review Serie A

Juventus 3-0 Bologna Match Report and Player Ratings

January 9, 2017

It didn’t take long to ease past the concerns which come naturally after the Winter break. Had Higuain overdone the christmas pudding? Was Sturaro still wearing his Santa hat? Had Allegri refused to allow the festive spirit to calm his wrath born in Doha? The answers to all these questions were swiftly found as we cantered our way to a comprehensive 3-0 victory over a fair Bologna side.

Player Ratings

Neto – A rare outing for the Brazilian who barely warmed his gloves, such was the dominance of his outfield colleagues. 6

Chiellini – Resolute, muscled his way to winning every challenge and covered the rearguard with aplomb. 7

Barzagli – Wonderful to see the old timer return to the ranks and he appeared far from rusty. Indomitable and dealt with the lively Di Francesco when called upon. 7

Lichtsteiner – His physical conditioning has made great strides and this was a return to the Swiss Locomotive we have all known and enjoyed for many moons. Stephan was up and down the flank like a dynamo, conjured a goal with a perfect cross and caused the opponents steady bother. Despite the fact that most of the offensive thrust of our opponents came through Di Francesco on his side of the field, it was our right armoury which provided our most obvious threat going forward. A welcome return to form. 7

Asamoah – Finally a solid performance from the returning Ghanaian, who has seemed understandably out of sorts in his bit-part action thus far this term. Reprising the role of LB, the African was dependable at the back and industrious going forward. Credit to the player for forsaking the ACON to further work on his fitness and focus on Juve. 7

Marchisio – Rather subdued at times, but worked damn hard and kept the ball moving swiftly. Was in the right place at the right time to make countless interceptions. We must take on board not just the lengthy lay-off but the injury itself, which can take players many months to recover from fully, that is, if they are even able to return to previous heights. The early signs of Marchisio’s return continue to prove very promising. We are always a better side with his technique, intelligence and experience on the field. 6.5

Khedira – Seemed more spritely than the jaded offerings witnessed towards the end of last year. The big German was tidy on the ball, set up several good chances for team-mates and was deep to cover when required. One of the smartest and most experienced midfielders in the game operating anywhere near the top level. 7

Sturaro – I am quickly coming to once again enjoy his hustle and bustle, and remain jolly to find the youngster gaining sharpness and stamina. Another who missed pre-season and many more weeks of the Serie A calendar before re-entering the fray. He won the penalty, could have done better with a chance in the box, other than which covered so much ground and never gave the opponents chance to breathe. All that is missing is a few goals, which will come. 6.5

Pjanic – Miralem did nothing wrong, and played his part in the victory with yet another assist –  a beautiful chipped through ball for Higuain to power home inside the box – yet such was his absence from large parts of the game I had actually forgotten to include him in the ratings until now, when nearing the end of this calm, measured report deep down below. He was so much more integral and vibrant in everything offensive at Roma and I hope that we can conjure the same from the Bosnian in our colours. Despite his impressive stats, up until now, he has not quite fit our system and tends to drift out of the action for such lengthy periods that I forget he is even playing. 6.5

Higuain – Took his two goals superbly and looked bright and fierce. Much happier in a more central role yet he does roam powerfully and purposefully across the line and far more effective when not tasked with dropping deep as is the case when Mandzukic partners him up top. 8

Dybala – I am glad he plundered the penalty with guile, besides which he was clearly lacking sharpness. His shooting was wild, as confirmed by ending a beautiful fast flowing move by blasting horridly high and wide in the box. His movement is fine, but the sooner he regains his rhythm the better for all concerned. 6

This was a comfortable victory against a side which played well, made serious attempts to test us, but fell short on quality in key areas of the field. The result was never in question, it was more a matter of how many would we score and could we keep a clean sheet.

Perfect return for Barzagli, whose experience will be key as we approach the business end of the season. The back four were rock solid, offering very few, if any clear cut chances from anywhere near our goal. Both fullbacks were impressive; Lichsteiner back to somewhere near his swashbuckling finest and Asamoah able to show he still has much to offer, albeit against weak opponents. The decision to allow Evra to depart may well suggest that Allegri is content with other options to back up Sandro and he will have been pleased with the performance of the Ghanaian, who at 28 years of age could still provide superb squad depth if he can maintain his fitness.

The midfield triumvirate of Khedira – Marchisio – Sturaro is by far the strongest we have deployed this troublesome season with Rincon slotting in for a late but encouraging cameo. Only Pjanic continues to perplex and leave me feeling he is capable of so much more. Whilst his output in terms of goals and assists and set piece deliveries is splendid, he has yet to find himself truly in sync with the team and tactics. If we are to continue with the 4-3-1-2, which I assume we will, the Bosnian will have every chance to bed in more meaningfully and potently. His talent is never in question and even when he is drifting in and out of games, his top notch technique comes to bear when it matters. I just seek more from one of the most naturally gifted players in the squad.

We were missing Benatia, Bonucci, Sandro, Lemina, Alves and Evra, yet still able to deploy a side more than a match for a well organised, confident and determined Bologna. This is the major positive to take from the game. Other than the return of Asamoah, Barzagli and especially Dybala, for all three of them could yet play a prominent role in our quest for glory on several fronts.

If we can continue this decent form through January and February, recover more players and slowly introduce Pjaca into proceedings, our future feels and looks ever so bright and gilded.

A pleasing start to 2017, with our 26th home victory on the trot breaking the top flight record.

I can’t help but grumble when I accept that this wondrous winning streak has come at the cost of 9 goals conceded! Such is the success and dominance I have become accustomed to as first Conte, then Allegri, with plenty of cunning assistance from Beppe and Paratici, have dragged our beloved Juve from fallen giants, back to the upper echelons of continental football.

The beauty of this current Juve side is that the potential to improve is vast.

Prior to Christmas our form was haphazard, often abject, which was almost solely due to injuries. Despite these constant demands to chop and change personnel and tactics to accomodate the same, we have fared well in Europe, and achieved a healthy lead domestically. Allegri deserves more credit for this feat than he receives, and yet his real test will come when a close to full squad becomes available. We have superb strength in every position on the field. World class talent aligned with industrious determination and belief. The only question which remains is…If Lady Luck offers the opportunity, can Allegri conjure a historic treble’? We have the talent. It is now up to Max.

Forza Juve


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  • Dar Black

    Comfortable victory. Penalty was right, not soft like I saw some suggested. The biggest talking point for me GP is the vast empty spaces in the stadium. What the hell is wrong with people? Many would have been season ticket holders. Is it still holiday season in Italy? So many thousands of empty seats last night it is embarrassing (it must be for Agnelli looking on). It’s actually worse than at Man City, which is saying something! Trouble is white seats make it look really obvious on TV.

    • E.Micallef

      Yesterday was pretty cold in the stadium. If a lot of season ticket holders do not show up they add up to at least 75% of the capacity and do not put their ticket up for sale which should be done 10 days prior the match pretty much sums the answer. However i was in the stadium at those tempretures its not that comfortable to walk and go.Still being maltese mine is an experience i take twice a year people who live in Italy and live far away from the stadium look at it in different ways. I dont know if it snowed prior the match as well.

  • E.Micallef

    In my opinion Pjanic deserves more credit. Yesterday we outclassed our opponents. Special mention to Asamoah Khedira and Pjanic and of course H9.:)

  • Jas

    DGP much love brother but I am starting to resent the constant critique of pjanic. Sure he has world class potential but it’s only his first year yet he is probably the second most dangerous set piece taker in the world after Messi. By seasons end he will have about 15 goals and 15 assists, which is pure class man. Dybala has been largely unimpressive as of late and really the only two producing much have been Gonzalo and pjanic. I understand we all want magic from him on every touch but in reality he has been the second most impressive player this year. With one touch he changes the game, if we start to expect every touch to be magic I think we’d be fooling ourself, the point is he contributes probably more than anyone.

    • Carlinho

      Agreed. With 5 goals, 5 assists and 36 chances created, in 1100 minutes played out of about 2200 in all competitions, his stats tell us that he’s been pretty much influential. Somewhere around the top 10 Serie A players.

    • I do not see any direct criticism of Pjanic, my friend…questioning how he fits our system? Yes, without doubt, but perhaps you did not see him at Roma, where he was week in week out far more involved and entertaining to watch. This is mainly due to a vastly different system, different team-mates with different responsibilities and of course, markedly different tactical offerings from our opponents. Teams generally set up to defend, contain and hit on the break against Juve, whereas against Roma, they sense much more of a chance to earn points so play a more open game, which creates space for the offensive players of Roma. The fact remains, Pjanic was a more entertaining player at Roma. He was more consistently exciting to watch as he had more time on the ball and more space to play with. Yet this could be said of Roma as a side and of Napoli this season, both play more attractive football than Juve, but at the top level, attractive plays second fiddle to winning. Ideally we can marry the two…

      Indeed, Dybala has been up and down, yet is presently returning from a lengthy injury lay-off so is expected to be rusty.

      • E.Micallef

        Pjanic with Roma was a star with us he is a team member however if he invents one two throughballs per match he has done enough. He with Khedira is the link to foward players. Khedira is more involved in defensive pressure and defensive area. But i dont see anyone set up goal chances for higuain and dybala better then him.

        • Indeed, as I outlined mr M…its a different role, in a different team, with different goals. I guess it is the first time I have really noticed such a thing, as in a player far more enjoyable to watch at lesser teams than when they fit into our system…Yet there is more to this matter. As a side we have not been playing consistently entertaining or fluid football this season. Our form and performances have been very average, barely a game sticks out wherein many players performed brilliantly, it has been more a sporadic offering of key individuals performances. I retain the assumption that once the injuries clear up and Allegri has a close to full strength squad to pick from, our form will improve…

          • E.Micallef

            When deploying a 4312 that 1 is the most difficult role to get. A player has to have the ability of vision dribble and touch. Apart from Messi there are few in todays football that can play the role. Pjanic have the vision and the touch but he cant dribble. Thats why in my previous comment i said if he gets one two throughball a match he has done enough. Our beloved team have been in search of that figure for years ala zidane. You can get the Isco the James Rodriguez but they are not sure about them. These talents are scarse you have to pay alot and they can fail miserably. Also Juventus have a tendency to stay back for 20 min a match that is the most difficult part. You have to create space get the ball and move foward. Therefore in that period you will disappear. You wont recieve the long ball for the strikers or the perfect pass. Pjanic is fullfilling a role whom he have not the whole qualities to fullfill. And for that alone he deserves credit. On another piont its a pleasure to discuss the game with you all. You all understand the game have great knowledge and valid toughts. Keep it up

          • Well put, mate. Intelligent analysis which makes sense and brings up one of the bothers of this season…namely that our intensity is rarely sustained. I have not enjoyed many matches this season, for whilst results have been fine, the performances have been rarely exciting or aggressive or intense. That is where we may fall down against better sides or those just below us in terms of quality, for a team who marries technique with zeal and belief is generally superior to one who mainly relies on technique alone.

            As DB has stated on numerous occasions, this problem may well be rooted in the midfield. There has been an upturn in intensity since Sturaro and Marchisio returned. I hope Rincon can provide similar. And with Dybala and Pjaca to be integrated, we may well find that steady spark to blaze the flames I seek to feel and see, burning our way to glory.

    • Dar Black

      Payet still has his number on set pieces chap. Maybe 3rd best.

      FIFA’s new player stat ranking system does have Pjanic listed in at number 4 since the start of the season. Trouble is that is in the category of defensive midfielders! Perhaps that is the problem, his game changing moments / playing position is making him quite a lot more anonymous in matches and reducing his influence a lot more than people were hoping for or expecting? I don’t see his length of time with us as a factor. He should be up to speed by now, no excuses as he has not been injured. Pogba is now starting to click at UTD, so it’s not impossible after a few months to be playing back at a high level after a move.

      Lot’s of Juve players featured in categories:

  • Basim Khan

    Thought it was an excellent performance from the boys, and special credit goes to Asamoah proving me wrong and showing that he can make space for himself in this team. I’d still prefer Evra staying on till the end of the season, but if not it’s nice to know we have a solid alternative to Sandro in these sorts of matches.

    • BelgianJuventino

      Yes – I hope to see Asamoah play a bit more in the coming fixtures, to see him tested against some more potent players. No discredit to Bologna, but they are hardly a top team and most of their attack was focused on the other flank

  • Inclined to agree with you TGP – Miralem has a habit of being wonderful, then anonymous. Thats not a criticism as such, perhaps more telling that we are yet to see the best of him in our system – I want him to be more imposing on the game and more forceful when things aren’t going his way – I want him to hunt down the ball to try and create chances.
    Thats not taking away from his obvious talent – the stats show it, he’s doing what is asked of him…..but there could be so much more – he can be even better than last season.

    • Xx RForcE xX

      I ve read some comments on his form elsewhere and Roma fans said that this is Pjanic, he can be great for 30 minutes but is invisible for another 60 mins, so im not sure if we can see any better of him

  • Some mercato news:
    – Evra hasn;t left yet, but Valencia really want him and he is still weighing up options
    – Valencia pressing for zaza who could leave
    – Kolasinac agent met with Juve today – He could arrive in June or sooner if Evra leaves
    – Orsolini close to Juve at 4.5m – Ascoli want frst refusal on some Juve primavera players

    • BelgianJuventino

      I’d really prefer Evra to stay for this season and after that, he can do as he pleases. Yet he has to realize at his age, a certain toll weighs you down. You can’t expect to remain a starter for a true top team. Either you are content playing less or you move to a smaller team, as is perhaps the very thing he is pondering about now. Stay at Juve and play less than you would like or move to Valencia, which is a fine team but no top team and be a starter there

      • Xx RForcE xX

        I think we dont need him, if asamoah can cover lb then he can go, he is on 2,5m salary , maybe he’s got plenty of experience but we already have enough experienced squad.

  • BelgianJuventino

    In short, I don’t see TGP’s comments about Pjanic as critique. He is just stating that while Pjanic is doing okay right now, he is capable of much more. As such, you could say Pjanic is underperforming, while his performances themselves are not all that bad.

    The stats are there, but stats only tell half a story.

    Forza Juve