Match Review Serie A

Cagliari 0-2 Juventus…We march (stroll) ever onwards.

February 13, 2017 - 10:33 am

Player Ratings

Buffon – Was unchallenged for much of the game and when called upon late on in the second Santo Buffon made a world class save to maintain the clean sheet. 7

Bonucci – Managed a few decent passes forward when the opponent was sitting back in the second period. A solid tackle here and there aside, Big Leo was rather quiet on the night, marshalling the opponents with relative ease. 6.5

Chiellini – Was looking lively until what seemed a muscular injury forced him off the field. Made a rather dangerous challenge on the edge of the box for a deserved yellow, but he did take at least some of the ball…alongside the players leg! N/A

Rugani – Appeared early doors for Giorgio and proceeded to keep calm, cover well and dominate from the back. 6.5

Lichtsteiner – Unfortunate to get booked for what seemed a nothing challenge, yet his generally robust approach leaves him liable for cards. After which he kept his head, shored up the back-line though offered little going forward as the areas he likes to get into are more often than not occupied by Cuadrado. Yet he does dovetail with the Colombian more effectively than Alves on most outings. 6.5

Sandro – Rarely seen in the opening period, though showed great stamina to keep motoring through to the death. And barely put a foot wrong throughout. He had little room to operate in beyond the half way line. 6.5

Khedira – Again, the German appeared jaded, though his duties change with Marchiso coming in and he was on hand to offer a steady screen to the rearguard and an option to calm the play down and dictate the tempo. 6

Marchisio – Il principino needs time. And we may not see the best of him for another month or three, just in time for the champions league final! It is a new system with new responsibilities, and his stamina and confidence can only improve through playing competitive fixtures such as this one. Whilst he produced a gorgeous assist for the opener, he also committed a truly wretched tackle on the ankle of an opponent which could well have led to to both broken bones and a red card. Great to see him back. 6.5

Mandzukic – Missed his trademark headed chances late on when the home side tired and were down to ten men, yet the bar thwarted one of his efforts and his work rate remained trojan. It certainly is an odd spectacle to see a target man playing in a hybrid lm/lw role, but for now, it keeps working out fine. 7

Dybala – Needs to practice his shooting and to stop whining and going down too easily. Made an assist yet was nowhere near goal with his scant few strikes. And why the devil was he taking free kicks in Pjanic territory with Miralem in attendance? Still, his work between the lines remains fabulous. He cannot be marked and seems to be enjoying his football. 6

Cuadrado – Made the second with a searing charge forward and was consistently mauled. Considering the amount of passes he misplaces it was bizarre to see him shouting at Lichsteiner at one stage after he had run the ball out of play! Absolutely idiotic booking for blasting the ball – over of course – when he was well aware the play had stopped. 6

Higuain – Superb yet again. His work rate is immense, as is his all round game. And of course his finishing is world class. He is sharp, fit and now has 12 goals from his last 12 games. Just the form we need him in for this stage of the season. Took both goals clinically. 8

Cagliari were solid and played a great game. They were confident, well organised and clearly comfortable on their Sardinian turf. And they offered a test, mainly in terms of committing men forward and breaking them down whilst keeping tight at the back.

Credit is due for a gritty performance which afforded us few chances. Yet, we should have won more handsomely. Chances came more regularly after the red card, though I am happy to see us bombing forward in great numbers. The goals will come in an avalanche sometime soon, but if not, I am content to see us continue to cement the newfound attacking and defensive stability.

We have now gone five games without conceding in the league, and including the coppa tie against AC, our record since that bothersome defeat in Florence reads Played 6, Won 6, scored 11, conceded 1. Very encouraging form indeed.

I am yet to be convinced that Sandro is a more suitable fit for the new system than Asamoah, which is strange for I felt the brazilian’s offensive endeavour would make him clearly superior. Yet when faced with a blockade of defenders, I feel that the battering ram Ghanian might well be as valuable, if not more.

And then there is Marchisio…We need to see him play with Pjanic, for without Miralem we lack creativity. It is tricky to judge his suitability until he is sharp, yet the (very) early signs suggest our best starting XI includes the Khedira-Pjanic fulcrum. Who might simply mesh more seamlessly together. Time will tell. We could well try Claudio in Mario’s position, offer him chance to reprise his former trequartista role. He certainly has the technique and discipline.

One other thing I pondered whilst watching the game was how I see many more goals come as a result of defensive ineptitude in the premier league. Whereas in Italy, it is rare to find a team whose defence can be criticised week in, week out. Which is more than just a comparison of systems and styles. Serie A appears and feels more tactical than the cut and thrust, bomb forward high octane english game, which I still adore, as I have grown up with the game as a major, consistent part of my life.

I watch more english football than italian. And other than the defensive superiority, and I would add, a higher technical level across the squads (in Italy), there is also the officiating which is markedly different. I see tackles fly in which do not even receive a free kick, menacing attacks on the body which don’t find a yellow, with the major points of contention in Italy generally offside debacles. Yet in England there are regular decisions which seem schoolboy errors of officials, even in their direct line of sight. In short, Serie A appears technically superior in the players and officials.

Finally…the Primavera got crunched 4-2 by Sassuolo at the weekend. A hangover perhaps from their midweek exit in the UEFA Youth League to Ajax. The young guns remain top of the league and I will hope they recover swiftly.

Forza Juve


(follow me on twitter here)

You Might Also Like

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef February 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Poet did you read the interview with Allegri??He above all mentioned Khedira.He said when the game goes 30 km/h he goes 31 when 40km/h he goes 41. Khedira if you see has been outstanding this season like all others. The problem was in the tactic as we no longer have the possibility to play the 352 which god forbids prevent us to use the immense foward potential. We also dont have box to box midfielders. We have 60 let me repeat 60 pionts out of 24 games. We may as well go ovet 90 yet again. And yes we have the potential to win that big eared cup.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 14, 2017 at 7:08 am

      We had a year of him offering the same injury bothers as had curtailed his career beforehand but this term he has been fit and able to gather some momentum.

      I wanted to see him tried in the regista role of the 3-5-2 from the start of the season, yet Allegri preferred to place him in the awkward LCM offensive position, where he was very hit and miss. Since moving deeper, and been given the chance to affect the tempo, his form has improved significantly.

      We can find a ball winner and regista and physicality all within the Pjanic/Khedira tandem pivot.

  • Avatar
    RAC February 13, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Spot on regarding asamoah. He is also more inclined to placing long crosses into the box than sandro, which seems to create more opportunities for us. On another note, cuadrado has astonishing difficulty in placing short passes but is very good at crossing. I think asamoah and cuadrado are our biggest threats in that sense. On yet another note, I really think that alves’ playing style and eagerness to roam and link up in attack would make him a great option for right winger, seeing as we currently use 4 of 5 available strikers/wingers as starters in our new system. Thoughts on this?

    • Avatar
      Storm February 13, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      I have mentioned it before, but I just can’t settle on Cuadrado. The guy goes from brilliant to moron in microseconds, and I think he is a mistake just waiting to happen in an important game. I really prefer him as a second choice to someone else, a supersup who can come in with fresh energy and inputs.

      With that said I like the progress and the healthy competition between Sandro and Asamoah (who returned so strong after his injury). Always good with “positive problems”, but I don’t think Alves can give us the same on the other flank.

      • Avatar
        RAC February 13, 2017 at 11:12 pm

        You are right regarding cuadrado’s inconsistency, but speaking of big games… If I’m not mistaken, Cuadrado has scored 5 goals for us thus far, and I can recall 4. The goal that decided the Turin derby and turned our season around early last season, the goal against Inter in this year’s italian derby, the goal against lyon that got us first place in our champions league group this season, and THAT goal against bayern in last season’s champions league. It’s hard to think of a list of our 10 most important goals in the last two seasons that wouldn’t include all of those.

        Also, the toughest games are the ones were we can’t break through defenses, and cuadrado is allegri’s first option for knocking opposition defenses out of balance. He might not be a consistent performer, but he loves the big stage. I’d bet on him.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet February 14, 2017 at 7:05 am

          His pace is a weapon. He is also capable of the magical yet this happens after many other passages of play he has completely ruined. His shooting is generally very poor indeed for an offensive player, yet he does seem to have got his head down since the new year and is working harder than ever. Also producing more decent crosses….

        • Avatar
          Storm February 14, 2017 at 7:58 am

          Good points and I agree with you,

          Maybe we have had too many “small” games, where Cuadrado, as others mentions, can’t use his x-factor. My criticism somewhere roots in the annoyance with him being so skillful, yet so prone to make headless decisions.

    • Avatar
      E.Micallef February 13, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      To be fair seeing the first half and last outing in Crotone even Dybala lost numerous balls in dribble and in simple passing. The difficulty in these matches are opposition sits in the last third. Also to make number upfront we fill the area even more. Dybala and Cuadrado need space as they use speed and improvisation to skip the player. You dont have both in such situation. Against Bayer Cuadrado was unstoppable cause he was one against one.

      We have two equally strong Left backs. On the other side italian football dont suit Alves. He seems slow and incapable of adding to the team in Italy.On the other hand in Europe he can make a difference or so I hope.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 14, 2017 at 7:04 am

      I am not a great fan of Alves and cannot see any position in the 4-2-3-1 where he would strengthen the side. Still his flair might end up as useful as Cuadrado’s pace and generally decent crossing. Regardless, I just hope we do not see him usurp Lichsteiner,as happened earlier this season. Stephan has been dependable and a great asset since returning to the side and deserves respect…and also, we are far more secure with the Swiss at RB than the skeletor impersonator.

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet February 14, 2017 at 9:35 am

    It appears Bentancur is finally to sign in the coming weeks after a decent showing at the U20 South America championships with his side comfortably finishing top of the pile. Rogerio got a couple of games for Brazil who failed to qualify for the U20 world championships in Korea later this year.

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef February 14, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Barcellona are 2 0 down to Psg. Psg are lookin impressive but there are huge gaps in the barcellona half. Should have been more than 2

    • Avatar
      Peter February 14, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      They’re letting Verratti running around them, it’s hilarious!

      • Avatar
        E.Micallef February 14, 2017 at 8:43 pm

        It is always 5 on 5 in the barca half. And psg has some serious players upfront

        • Avatar
          Peter February 14, 2017 at 8:59 pm

          PSG is on fire, they walk all over them

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef February 14, 2017 at 9:00 pm

            Jesus they are being hammered

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef February 14, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Barcellona are in real trouble. Should have been 6 at the least

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef February 14, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    This year its up to us

  • Avatar
    Xx RForcE xX February 15, 2017 at 8:05 am

    OT: Ricardo Orsolini scored twice in yesterday’s win against Pro Vercelli, Favilli scored too.

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino February 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

    To think I’ve been hoping for an encounter with PSG in recent years.. They just demolished Barca without a shred of mercy! Still, I think facing PSG would be refreshing, we’ve had the top 3 teams in recent years (Barca, Real and Bayern), we’ve faced City, Atletico and Chelsea not too long ago. Yes, PSG would be a “new” encounter.

    And fortunately, so is Porto!

    • Avatar
      Xx RForcE xX February 15, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Just dont underestimate Porto, they didnt lose for over 20 matches,maybe more, it will not be as easy as it looks like.We gotta enter the field as hungry as never, run on them like monsters and show them who the BOSS is.

      Anyway, Mandzukic will miss friday’s match due to 5 yellows and Chiellini is out with injury, he will probably miss Porto as well.

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino February 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm

        Yeah mate, I’m not underestimating Porto, they are a strong team, used to winning and no newcomers to European football.

        I just like having drawn them because we havent faced them for a long time now

        • Avatar
          Xx RForcE xX February 17, 2017 at 12:07 pm

          lol, i meant whole juve to not underestimate Porto.

          • Avatar
            BelgianJuventino February 17, 2017 at 12:49 pm

            Oh xD well I assume they wont

          • Avatar
            Xx RForcE xX February 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm

            lets hope

    • Avatar
      E.Micallef February 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Please do take yesterdays encounter as a one off as i never watched Barca play so badly.It was a one off no team will obtain that result unless the other one was really underperformant.Undoubtly Messi is the greatest player on earth but seeing him dispossesed from the ball and dont give a freaking f well…….. and Iniesta oh my god…. it could have been easily 8 or 9 yesterday. Barca are returning to earth they are losing Messi and Iniesta seeing Andre Gomes play you would not want him as our substitute.