Buffon – Was forced into a few saves from outside the box and came out sharply to smother several smart through balls. 6.5
Barzagli – Solid, if unspectacular, but far more comfortable in the middle than his recent outing on the flank. 6.5
Rugani– Average and his positioning was at times a little haphazard. Yet held the fort well enough and played his part in restricting the opponents (mainly) to efforts from long range. 6
Alves – Whilst his passing, technique and control is of a high calibre, his theatrics are too often cringeworthy. He was bothering not just the opponents, ref and myself but comports himself far from in line with lo stile juve. 6
Asamoah – Provided the perfect assist for the goal and covered at the back very well indeed. A couple of the tackles he had to make came through his own manufacture, but he was immense in the challenge throughout. 7
Khedira – Was more involved than of late, though still seemed off his game. Made good movement heading forward but either held the ball too long or fumbled his chances. 6
Pjanic – Found the going tough against a constantly congested, harried midfield. Set piece deliveries were below par. 6
Dybala – Looked ever so lively until he was hooked off due to a twinge in his thigh. Better to avoid any risks with such important games to come in the near future. 6.5
Cuadrado – Scored a very rare header, which he took splendidly, other than which was mangled and crowded out of any further meaningful work in the final third. 6.5
Mandzukic – Kept quiet throughout though did help defensively using his aerial prowess to pluck from the sky several high balls into our box. 6
Higuain – Gonzalo was ravenous, running hard, creating several great chances which he was unlucky to see saved or fly wide, tracking back, hustling the opposing defence and keeper. He is not often praised for the huge amount of work he puts in all over the field. On something of a goal drought, as he has not scored in 4 now, but the goals are coming. 7
Pjaca – Was lively when he first appeared, though petered out woefully in the second half. 5.5
The squad is tired, though have fared well through a very busy period of fixtures. We can but now hope the internationals are used sparingly over the coming break, for we desperately need them all to return in top condition for the final push. You can get the latest odds and information on Juve’s chances in the Champions League and Serie A here footballbets.tips .
Allegri is rotating intelligently, with even Lemina looking spritely when he made a late cameo, and despite the chopping and changing, we are grinding out results even when playing below our best. And we did play poorly for large periods in the second half against an impressive Samp. Giampoli deserves credit for how he has set up his side, for they were confident, very well organised and never gave us an inch.
Our first half hour was quite brilliant, however. With numerous chances created but just the one goal to show for our efforts. Once Dybala left and the system was soon after altered, we became rather flat, with the 4-4-2 failing to create as much as the 4-2-3-1.
I remain unsure of our true value, though considering we generally create more chances than our opponents and the results have been steady and welcome, there is little room for complaint. Allegri now has time to get a few of the second string sharper, with Marchisio, Chiellini, Sturaro and Lemina able to continue their path towards full recovery from a series of niggling injuries.
Asamoah was yet again sturdy on the flank, and if he continues in this form I see no reason why we need purchase an alternative back-up to Sandro.
Slight concerns abound of the Pjanic – Khedira pivot as it does not work as well without Dybala constantly dropping back, roaming across the field to give them a option to play to feet. Perhaps that is one area we will focus upon during the Summer, as we have no natural trequartista alternative to Paulo. Pjaca, I thought, might be fine there, but I’d prefer to see Clemenza given a shot there before the season is out!
Max was rightly angry at not just Juve, for failing to control the game more intelligently but also with Samp for refusing to kick the ball out when the irritating Alves goblin was faking injury then pointing to a small bruise on his thigh.
A draw would not have been unfair on us or generous to the hosts, yet its another 3 points and clean sheet, a few steps closer to a historic 6th straight scudetto.
I am more eager to simply win the trophy than to face the toughest opponents at every stage of the tournament. Which is not the same as fear. I am not scared of Barca, yet they are one of two sides – Bayern the other – whom I wished to avoid until the final. Still, I am happy and excited to be facing the dastardly spaniards. We are a different, not necessarily stronger, outfit to when we last faced them, and they are different in turn. Perhaps more vulnerable. They possess one of the finest attacking units of history. Which we can deal with and certainly challenge at the other end. Spirit and the choice of referee seem to me the likely deciding factors of the tie.
Those two games versus Napoli are gold dust as preparation. Just what we need. For we have the chance to test ourselves against a hated, very strong opponent twice in a week, then what should be a rugged, yet more simple encounter with Chievo before Barca come to town.
Viareggio UPDATE (U19 Primavera)
We are through from the first round of the Viareggio tournament, of which we are holders after last year’s victory. Clemenza has been absent, I believe through injury, Kean has been with the Italy U17s (and the senior squad) as has Caligara. Results so far are:
Juventus 2-1 Dukla Prague (Mosti, Leris)
Juventus 1-1 Toronto (Zeqiri)
Juventus 4-1 Maceratese (Bove, Vasko, Zeqiri, Galtarossa)
We will face Bruges in the last 16 knock-out stage.
(Follow me on twitter here)
I thought…as my report was tired, listless, absent of any semblance of passion, I would share a True Gem From The MegaRough, to hopefully add some value to the scales of Meaning>>>