Match Review Serie A

Chievo 1-2 Juventus Match Review

November 7, 2016 - 11:10 am

Player Ratings

Buffon – Largely untested, as is often the case, yet could do nothing with the penalty conceded and made a solid save from close range when called upon. 6.5

Barzagli – Horrid, and deeply worrying to see him prostrate on the field. Yet it turns out he has dislocated his shoulder, so no damage to anything more serious. Such is my love for the bearded wonder that my unease was rooted solely in his well being, not how his absence will assuredly affect our fortunes as a club. Many things are far more important than football. N/A

Still a fair way to go to earn his stripes...

Still a fair way to go to earn his stripes…

Benatia – Yet to impress me, but he has been in and out of the team, in and out of the medical ward. He appears potentially resolute, and forceful in the challenge. 6

Bonucci – A subdued appearance which may well have been for the best, given his injury against Lyon. We saw little of his long passing, nor courageous leading of the line. I just hope he came through the test unscathed. 6

Lichsteiner – This was a showing of a player who has rarely featured; his touch was poor, his passing lacking accuracy, yet thankfully his defensive zeal offered some value. Stephan is a player who builds up steam, and he has not had the chance to do so this season. At best, he was average, yet by more cynical measures, he was poor. 5

Sandro – Played some good football, yet lacked options and support. He has appeared less confident of late, in terms of taking players on, yet in his defence, he often has not one but two defenders to contend with. 6

Much maligned by the Juve faithful, yet he has proven dependable during our dark days this season...

Much maligned by the Juve faithful, yet he has proven dependable during our dark days this season…

Hernanes – I won’t go as far as to call his performance superb, but his effort and eagerness deserve praise. He was constantly involved, his passing was generally decent and I am happy to see him selected in front of the defence ahead of Lemina, for regardless of his output, his head never drops and he always seeks the ball. 7

Sturaro – Still finding his rhythm as a very mixed showing confirmed. Should have scored late on, was constantly trying to make something happen and always makes his presence felt in both the defensive and offensive phase. He can and will be better than this. 5.5

Cuadrado – Lucky not to be sent off for two wretched challenges. Set up a goal with a good pass to Mandzukic and then took on three players before awfully fluffing his lines with the goal gaping at his mercy. He does not change. Although we have had two decent games out of him of late, and he did provide an assist. His determination can never be faulted yet his haphazard composure is the most constant theme of his game. 6

Pjanic – Rarely seen throughout the game, yet produced a wonderful free kick for the winner, and forced another fine save from a late set piece. We are carrying the Bosnian, which is more often than not akin to playing with 10. Despite his gorgeous goal, he was largely uninvolved, absent for lengthy periods, which can only be fixed by a break, or through playing him behind the front two. If he hadn’t scored I would be giving him a 4, but…he scored the winner and so…6.

Mandzukic – Fought hard and I was happy to see him get the goal. Gave his all for the cause, should really have had at least another goal, yet I cannot wait for Dybala to return for Mario is a battering ram, with zero flair in a role where we desperately need some invention. 7

Higuain – Forged several great chances, and should have had a penalty. His work rate is immense, and yet he is lacking decent service and supprt in the final third when he finds himself in promising positions. Perhaps it is fair to assert that his form has dipped, yet so has the form of the team as a whole since Dybala was injured. 6

Chievo worked damn hard. And whilst a little fortunate, were at least determined enough to find the equaliser. Yet truth be told, as it always must, we could and should have run out winners with a far more handsome scoreline. For the home side created 3 decent chances, to our 11. That profligacy may become a concern, but solely if we face the same difficulties with a stronger squad.

We desperately need La Joya to return and pick up where he left off...

We desperately need La Joya to return and pick up where he left off…

We were missing Dybala ( our most creative offensive player), Chiellini (our most gladiatorial of defenders), lost Barzagli (our most experienced back line, ultra composed stopper) and with Marchisio rested, the line-up was hotchpotch, clearly chosen to allow others to rest and assume we had enough to get the result. On this assumption, Allegri was correct. For whilst it wasn’t pretty, we were rather unlucky to win by just the one goal, for on another day it would have been 1-3 or 1-4 with no justified complaints from the home side.

Few risks were run, we yet again won a game courtesy of moments of individual class rather than concerted team pressure and delightful team work. And we find ourselves no closer to any semblance of cohesion and form and momentum. Yet we do find ourselves 3 points closer to a 6th straight scudetto.

The only obvious and consistent bother is Pjanic. He appeared to be moving towards playing a pivotal role early doors this term, yet has since gone off the boil. We cannot continue to carry him as a luxury set piece taker, for as classy as he is in such a role, as a midfielder he needs to give more during open play. The Bosnian has yet to prove good value for the money spent and remains a shadow of his Roman guise.

It is impossible to deliberate deeply over our progress this season when we continue to suffer wretched injuries. All Allegri can do in such circumstances is to focus on results. Which have been good despite the absence of key players since the start of the campaign. Not just the team but the system appears to change game upon game, which gives players a double headache in terms of seeking form. This is very much reflected in our performances, for we create more than our opponents in close to every outing. When we take just 1 or 2 more of these chances, the scoreline appears far more flattering, yet the actual progress of the team, can at best be measured in points rather than what we see on the field. I would rather see us top of the table and in a healthy position in our champions league group and playing poorly, than playing well and off the pace at home and in Europe. I believe that is the choice we face presently. Try get the best out of what we have available in order to play good football or maintain a steady challenge on all fronts, sacrificing entertainment for progress made through attrition rather than cohesion.

It was a hard earned 3 points, the scoreline could have been more emphatic and I can but repeat that better things are to come…

forza juve


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  • Avatar
    Munhuu_Juve November 7, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Barza is out for 2 months. Will be interesting to see how Allegri reacts to it, is he gonna stick to 3 man defense or 4? Anyways get well soon Andrea!

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet November 8, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Rugani is back, and Benatia is available. Bonucci nursing mental and physical woes! Wouldnt surprise me to see Evra or Lichsteiner used in a back three. Yet the chance is obviously there to try a back four.

      Lichsteiner Benatia/Rugani Bonucci Evra

      Seems our best bet until Chiellini is back.

  • Avatar
    Dar Black November 7, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Mario only has one game. It either works on the night, or (usually) doesn’t. I don’t think he played badly, he did a nice bit of bring-down and shot over the bar in the first half which was decent + his goal.

    Talk that Zaza won’t be staying at West Ham. Would he be any better for us?

    • Avatar
      Jas November 7, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Not really, Zaza is nothing more than another fringe player.

  • Avatar
    Jas November 7, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I think you’re wrong on pjanic mate, he hasn’t been world class but he hasn’t been bad either. 4 goals and 4 assists in 13 games is pretty sold if you ask me, especially on a brand new team with a new style of play. No offence, but he is probably the best set piece taker in the world, if not top 3 for sure. That alone is enough to keep him in the squad, but that is besides the point. Pjanic hasn’t really gelled yet because the lack width on this Juve team. People forget he had Salah, Turbe, Gervinho at his disposal while he was in Roma. He’d often make these precise one-two touch passes that stretched the defenses in half. At Juve he is stuck trying to unlock defense’s all by himself, while playing infront of ultra defensive teams. He often finds himself with 5-6 defenders in front of all eyeing the ball. Higguain and Manduzkic are absolute rubbish on counter attacks, neither of them posses the speed or dribbling capabilities to utilize this. People forget that Pirlo was largely sucessful thanks to two classy and fast players (Tevez, Moratta). This current Juve team is very slow and bulky, a handful players can even dribble past anyone anymore. Hence why having Dybala back is so critical. I really think once Pjaca returns and we incorporate him in to the squad, the attacking dimensions will expand. Not sure how I feel about Higguain yet, hasn’t disappointing but hasn’t impressed either. Moratta was very streaky as a player but one thing Alvaro did was show up in big games, you knew he’d do something special when it matter. I personally dont get that feeling with Gonzalo, I think he is good but as time progresses it would seem that the 90 million spent could’ve been utilized in so many better ways.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet November 8, 2016 at 2:05 am

      I know he is your countryman by some measures, comrade, but surely you can see that every offensive player on our side has to often face a large sea of bodies between them and goal. It is part and parcel of playing for a top side…It is something he must learn to deal with as Allegri must also learn how to play a system which brings out the best in the players, collectively. Pjanic was brought in to add creative connection between the midfield and attack, also to offer threat and quality from set piece deliveries. By his own high standards, he has barely flickered into life during open play this campaign…other than a brief flurry early doors.

      I believe Gonzalo has been fine, neither amazing or anything close to woeful. Having watched every game, he seems to have missed maybe two decent chances and scored 9 goals. Likely 30 for the season…He is far more mobile and intelligent on the counter than Mandzukic, and is often let down by others around him and the lack of intelligent runs into the area.

      Of the two, it is by my reckoning clearly Pjanic who has failed to show anywhere near his best and has been close to anonymous in many games on the trot. Not once have I seen Higuain play and barely seen him. yet Pjanic, often for 10-2 minutes completely drifts out of games. yes his stats are good, but he could and should be doing much more. Perhaps once the team improves, he will improve in turn, yet perhaps the team wont improve until he does as he is part of the present problems we are facing, namely a disjointed side unable to gather any momentum let alone play cohesively as a team. Still…as I keep banging on about…I doubt we will major improvement until the injuries die down, Pjaca, Dybala, Chiellini, Barzagli and Mandragora are fit and sharp and Allegri has a settled squad to choose from.

      • Avatar
        Jas November 9, 2016 at 2:58 pm

        What I am saying here mate is that Pjanic can’t be the only creative player on the team, hence why we score much more goals when Dybala is in the lineup. I have nothing for love for the rest of our midfielders but they are often one dimensional.

        I am in agreement with you on Higguain. However, the price tag is still not justified in my opinion, perhaps I am jumping the gun. Can’t say Pjanic or Higguain have impressed me yet honestly. They are within the grasp of their element but have no surpassed it yet. Higguain misses allot of sitters, his conversion rate is not that impressive either.

        We have had plenty of injures, I am waiting to see Mandragora back. I think having him in the lineup will free up Pjanic even more and give him a bigger platform. Also, when in the f*** is Kean going to get his debut?? rawr!!

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet November 9, 2016 at 10:18 pm

          I’ve watched every minute of his Juve career thus far…he has missed one glorious chance in all that time, namely a left footed effort recently. Other than which, perhaps 1-2 good chances…but in terms of regularly missing sitters, that is not at all accurate to describe his Juve career to date!

          I hope you are right on Pjanic and know there is much more to come…

          • Avatar
            Jas November 11, 2016 at 6:37 pm

            Unfortunately Dybala’s injury will take a few more weeks and Pjaca will probably not be ready anytime soon either.

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet November 12, 2016 at 9:46 am

            Wretched luck eh, mate! And as for Kean…The Pescara game seems the first chance in a while to give a team a thorough crunching, and if so perhaps we will see the lad given his debut late on. More important matters though are likely in Allegri’s thinking, such as conditioning the seniors whenever possible, raising fitness elsewhere. Yet less us say Juan gets put down and Mandzukic also…in that case, without Dybala and Pjaca, his hand may be forced! Also with the crunch tie with Seville soon after the Pescara match, the boss should be eager to rest the forwards.

  • Avatar
    RAC November 7, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Mandzukic deserves a lot more credit than he gets. He didn’t even get a number rating this time around! I know we payed 90m for higuain, but mandzukic was in sensational form this week, creating chances for both himself and pipita on his own. As of now, he is the better warrior of the 2 in a team with poor service, and we already saw how well he clicks with dybala last season (something we have yet to see with gonzalo). I am NOT saying bench gonzalo; i am just saying that right now mandzukic is the most compatible with our team. And these past performances are confirmation that he deserves to get minutes at least until our midfield can give our #9 consistent service. On another note, yes: pjanic’s numbers are good. But they flatter to deceive. A couple of wonderful moments here and there do not erase from my memory the gaps and incoherency in our midfield during most of our matches. I have no doubt that he is a great player, but let’s call a spade a spade. He still has much to prove. I am happy to see sturaro play, for khedira is going through a (very) rough patch. i think stefano could be very good once he obtains match sharpness. My only real concern is lichtsteiner. I am growing more and more fond of cuadrado, and i I believe allegri’s faith in him is paying off. But only as a wide midfielder or forward. I absolutely despise how dani alves fits into our squad, the license he is given to roam around and play needless 2 meter passes to the people right next to him, not to mention his proclivity to shoot horribly from outside the box. Thus, our only great full-back is nothing close to match-fit, performing badly, and apparently unhappy with the club. I hope we have not yet reached the point of no return for stephan. P.S. My two greatest causes for concern this season: 1) does anyone else get the impression that 90% of our squad can’t get a shot on target? What’s going on? Why have the coaches not addressed this yet? 2) We can’t defend set-pieces anymore. Can’t for the life of me understand what’s going on here but at this point we can call it a fact. BUT overall I’m very optimistic and have high hopes for this squad and for Witsel joining us this January. Rant over 🙂 , this is the most pessimistic post i will ever type, promise.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet November 8, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Well put, RAC! Yet I struggle to grasp even begrudgingly towards ‘sensational’ to describe Mandzukic. I have however given him his 7! Which was written in my notes taken during the game, though failed to make safe passage through my fingertips when I lashed together the report last night.

      I do however, concur on Pjanic, Khedira, Sturaro and Alves. And remain bothered by the manner in which we have treated a long serving stalwart of the side in the Swiss Locomotive. I am yet to be convinced that other than flashy moments, Alves is a definite upgrade at either end of the field, for Stephan works so hard, that he chips in with his fair share of assists and the odd goal. Alves can cross, but we do not seem to have enough bodies in the box to capitalise on crosses as often as we should.

      I have also been more impressed by Juan, yet not as a defensive option. Yet as with last season, I feel he shines somewhat solely due to the absence of any sparks elsewhere in the side. On the darkest of nights even a dim star appears ever so bright. He does however, work damn hard and always seeks and finds the ball. Which is the minimum I expect of any midfield player.

      The defensive issues stem from the constant injuries, lack of recovery time over the Summer and haphazard midfield. It all combines to haunt us, as we have rarely been able to rely upon a fully fit and match sharp BBC. With Rugani injured, the only other player bedded into our club and system has ben unavailable. Such a shame but his time will come.

      Witsel would be a major signing if we could prise him from Zenith in January, yet I have little hope it will happen. They are fighting for their championship and not short of a rouble or million. He is one of the mainstays of their side. We seem prepared to offer 6m. I expect they would want nearer 12m. It would have to be a situation where they have found who they want and the player is available for a price they find agreeable. Even then, it is unlikely they would replace like with like, so why would they be open to the sale in January?

      The question they will be asking themselves is…
      Juve have struggled in midfield. Marchisio is still very much feeling his way back and has already succumbed to muscular injuries (to be expected after such a lengthy break). Juve have money, they need him for the champions league so they can pay what we decide, which is 12m take it or leave it.

      Which is fair enough. Yet we wont pay that much for 5 months when we could have him for 0 in June. Not because we lack the funds…our summer mercato pretty much broke even. At best, Beppe will play it his idea of cool, then on the last day, in the final hours, try to agitate for the move, by which time another month of his services would have passed us by, so the price becomes even worse value for money. Is he likely to add 10m+ to our champions league earnings? I believe that is possible.

      Presently we have earned –
      Group Stage participation 12m
      2 X wins in group stage 3m
      2 X draws in group stage 1m
      I suspect we will draw in Seville .5m and beat Dinamo 1.5m = 2.5m
      Knockout stage qualification 5.5m
      TOTAL – 24m

      Then there is the market pool to try make sense of! Which will be large given there are only us and Napoli in the group stage, and if they don’t make it through, and we continue, our share goes up.

      Let us say that Witsel joins. We would get 6m for making it to the quaterfinals and another 7m for making it to the semis.

      Looking at it this way although I have left the market pool alone ( we received around 60m from this distribution when we made it to the final!) we could hedge our bets somewhat on spending more than we have stated on Witsel. And still come out fine and dandy on the financial front, no matter how we fare on the field.

      And so the bigger question is, how much value will Witsel bring? Also…who will we face in the knock-out stages!

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino November 8, 2016 at 3:59 pm

        I’ve been looking up whether or not Witsel is cup-bound for the CL this season, but I’m confused as fuck right now, is he or is he not available for CL if he were to join us in January?

        Zenit does play EL if I’m not mistaken, but I think that means he can play CL with us?

        • Avatar
          RAC November 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm

          He can play champions league for us. A player that started the campaign in EL can move on to CL with another team, but a player that participated in CL cannot play EL that same season. TGP makes some good points about zenit’s unlikeliness to accept 6m, however. This could be a major hindrance, combined with the fact that we seem to be all set to purchase betancur for 7.5m. Considering we already have marchisio and mandragora, buying both betancur and witsel seems like overkill, specially with our alleged pursuit of verratti in the summer of 2017. However, even at 12m, witsel is instant profit. Outside of his contributions to our CL campaign and earnings, we could sell him for at least 20m a year or two down the road. Here’s hoping beppe doesn’t rest on his laurels and gets this deal done quickly.

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet November 8, 2016 at 9:47 pm

            yep, that is the main draw card, he is fine and dandy for CL football…The Bentancur deal is done. Talk of 50% by Angelici was his normal bullshit and bluster, for the fee seems 9.4m for his total registration. Highly unlikely that he will appear at Piedmont in January.

            The sell-on value definitely sways me towards far greater eagerness for the deal. I was pondering the matter as if we had two choices 1. June or 2.January for 12m (approximate guess). And how to try measure that value for the 5 months against our financial reward.

            Also worth adding is to have him in January, when Asamoah and Lemina will be both away in Africa, would give him the perfect chance to bed into the squad; there will be space. Those extra 5 months as part of the club before next season would also help us hit the ground running and plan our mercato more intelligently.

            Plenty of reasons to try pick him up in January…

          • Avatar
            RAC November 8, 2016 at 10:16 pm

            I don’t expect witsel to have a 12m impact over 5 months. But in terms of sport and looking toward the future, he is definitely worth the money, particularly because of the afcon timing that you mention and the possibility of a first smooth summer transition since the 2013/2014 season. But you just know marotta is going to hate giving up the free transfer. I’m crossing my fingers. How sold are you on witsel in terms of overall quality?

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet November 9, 2016 at 1:46 am

            Indeed, I concur fully on the other positives potentially gleaned from a January move, as outlined…I thought over the Summer he would prove a superb signing and remain of the same thinking. Axel is strong on the ball, a physical presence, calm, composed, can produce value higher up the field, has played in a variety of positions, has great experience in Portugal, Russia, Belgium and on the international stage and appears to possess an ultra professional mentality. Other than lacking super pace, he seems a very complete midfielder.

          • Avatar
            BelgianJuventino November 9, 2016 at 9:29 am

            Thanks for the info, I was reading contradicting information and got confused.
            All three of them seems overkill indeed, though it would probably mean Hernanes gets shipped off too.