Atalanta 2-2 Juventus
Match Report by Travis and Rav
Scorers: Bernardeschi 21 (J), Higuain 24 (J), Gomez 31 (A), Cristante 67 (A)
Juventus were ahead and cruising to a 2-0 victory before capitulating to a resilient Atalanta side who fought back to level the score.
Biggest winner/biggest loser:
The biggest winner on the night were arguably Napoli. Despite having no part to play in this match, I Ciucciarelli have stolen a two-point lead at the top of the table and while it’s still early in the season, every point counts. I would also point to Federico Bernardeschi who has watched on from the sidelines, champing at the bit to be given more than 10 minutes to make his mark. He was undeniably the man of the match in Bianconeri. Early on, he looked a little too eager to impress, but as the game progressed, he showed exactly why we were prepared to part with €40m for his services – Lively and industrious, he offers more in the final third of the pitch than Cuadrado does by simply being more direct and taking risks – Exactly what we need in games of this nature.
Loser of the night is Paulo Dybala who had the opportunity to steal (albeit unfairly) 3 value points at the death, but managed to fire his pennalty straight at Berisha. He looked anonymous for large spells of the match, and while he has been so important in every game up until now, he showed that he needs to work on parts of his game. Past victories are past victories, La Joya – all that matters is the game, and what happened here today – You should know that by now.
Takeaways from the performance/areas of improvement:
We didn’t kill the game off. Atalanta, who typically love to press so high, were seemingly content to give us the ball for almost 30 minutes to do with as we pleased. Rather than build up an unassailable lead, we contrived to give them an ‘out’ and a chance back into the match. The simple, inexcusable fact is this: Atalanta do not give up. Ever. They are a team of fighters who play until the 90th minute, and somewhere during that two-goal lead, we allowed them back into the game. We MUST learn to kill off games against teams like this. A 4-2 victory over Genoa is all well and good as they are a side that would never have held onto a 2-0 lead – Atalanta are a different kettle of fish, altogether. Be ruthless Juve. Be ruthless until the bitter end. Max Allegri shoulders a portion of the blame here for leaving out Daniele Rugani and Alex Sandro in a *big* game of this nature. 58% of the possession, 17 shots, 8 on target? Come on !!!!!
Thankfully, we emerged unscathed and the prognosis for the post-international break is a healthy one. Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio and Benedikt Howedes should all return in two weeks time, however Miralem Pjanic will likely miss at least 4 weeks of the season, meaning he could miss Lazio, Sporting Lisbon and possibly Udinese. Marko Pjaca posted a picture of himself back in training which is an encouraging sign while Mattia De Sciglio posted a picture of himself with David Beckham……which speaks for itself.
Outlook for next fixture:
This one is a little bit tough considering our next fixture is a while from now. It’s hard to say what will happen over the international break. It’s a difficult fixture coming up against Lazio, but one that is manageable if we come into it with the right mentality and fitness.
To be totally honest, they deserved a point on the day. Full credit to Gasperini and his men. To go down 2-0, and get a result well done. There is definitely something to be learned from their never say die attitude. Although they earned their point, is the more prudent question right now, why weren’t Juve able to take it up one gear and close the game out?
Best new signing on the field:
Hands down Bernardeschi. A goal and an assist on his first official start. What more could we have asked of him today? His substitution for Cuadrado wasn’t the right maneuver in my opinion. Looked really good with the ball at his feet, definitely did his defensive duties as well. This may be contrary to popular opinion, but I think integrating him more slowly is the best move for him. Especially considering we’re only a few more months out from Pjaca returning.
It’s a 5 for me. Sent the team out with the right mentality and we got two early goals. We weren’t able to close the game out. Probably should have gone for the third a little more. We seem to drop a gear when things aren’t going our way. Questions need to be asked about his efficacy at halftime and his substitutions still.
Formation/squad selection grade: C+
What on earth were you thinking, Mister? No Rugani, no Sandro? What on earth were the reasons for this? I have absolutely no idea why Daniele Rugani is constantly left out of games. Is he not good enough? Is there some pressing need to continue to play Medhi Benatia, who is A ‘B-‘ defender at present. Rugani, barring injury, should be starting. As should Sandro, whose industry, pace and great runs were missed in a game like this. No excuses Max, not one.
Atalanta: Berisha; Masiello, Caldara, Palomino; Hateboer, Cristante (De Roon 87), Freuler, Spinazzola; Gomez, Cornelius (Ilicic 32), Kurtic (Petagna 56)
Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner (Barzagli 66), Benatia, Chiellini, Asamoah; Bentancur, Matuidi; Bernardeschi (Cuadrado 69), Dybala, Mandzukic (Douglas Costa 77); Higuain
Saved penalty: Dybala 84 (J)
Man of the Match: Federico Bernardeschi
Flop of the Match: Paulo Dybala
Pass Accuracy: 84%
Shots on Target: 8
Total Shots: 17
Ball Possession: 58%
I don’t see it as players’ fault, but the team’s mentality. Yes, Dybala played bad and lost the penalty, but it has been coming, and will see more of this type of performances.
Typical Allegri teams display; lazy, passive and just-win-it-with-least-enthusiasm! I have said it many times: Juve play like they hate football, just score one, two goal and then relax passively for the game to finish! The team should understand football means 90 minutes of defending AND attacking, not just 20 minutes of really playing and 70 minutes of hibernating. We have the players and the depth, so BS about rotation and resting is not acceptable!
Exactly my thoughts !! Compare that to the 3,6 goals a game from Napoli and the generall enthusiasm in their game and you have the reason why we will most probably finish up second. The season is long no doubt and I partialy agree with Allegri’s view that the team should be at its best cometh March…but he now has the squad depth to play good football all year long, and be able to have his players fresh and going from Sept to May. All in all I think losing this years Scudetto will be a possitive thing in the long run…and I explain:
-The management will not spent a dime more that they currently do, unless they see the 25M net spend every year is not enough any more to compete in Serie A. If we finish second next year, I expect big spending…
-The management is content with playing halfhearted football as long as we win trophies…If we finish second or bellow, they will have to re-evaluate the way the team plays…even if that means that Allegri needs to go…
Your point on net spending of 25 million is spot on my friend! It’s not just Napoli, all big teams have to be entertaining nowadays. Not just Barca, Madrid, Bayern but PSG, City, Chelsea and even Mourinho’s United score 3,4 goals every game. It’s not 1990’s anymore, the gap between elit and the rest is widening, like it or hate it, that’s the new norm: big teams score AS MANY AS THEY CAN, they don’t score JUST TO WIN! The goal difference of top teams are way higher than 20 years ago now. I am afraid to say it has to do with Juve’s old and institutional just-win-I-don’t-care-if-you-played-well mindset!
P.S. I don’t want to start an Allegri vs. Conte discussion, but Conte seeing his team sleeping and hibernating in the game would kill somebody in the dressing room. But in Juve in September they say: team is not physically fit yet. In January: We have to save energy for CL, and in May: Players are tired!
Article is spot on and so are the comments below.
We are Juventus, we are feared and “hated” in most of Italy. Teams are more excited and more determined to fight us, they are more prepared to park the bus and they will be praised by all other teams if they can take any points from us, no matter the cost.
I truly believe that our players and management have built up a culture, where people are taught to cope with the pressure that is created when playing for the black and white. This culture is seeing our game being more restricted and controlled compared to such as Napoli’s because of the above-mentioned attitudes of our opponents.
For seasons I have wished that we could acquire some lethal players to make our games more attractive. They have now arrived (Freddy and Costa) and it will be exciting to see if this can help us change the mindset.
With our attacking forces Allegri should be able to field the most eager players and thereby always give us an attacking edge.