Match Review Serie A

Crotone 0-2 Juventus Match Review & Player Ratings

February 9, 2017 - 10:11 am

Our game in hand finally drew upon us, with a visit to struggling, surely condemned to relegation Crotone.

Allegri stuck with the system yet made numerous changes to the starting XI. In came Alves, Rugani, Rincon, Pjaca and Asamoah for Lichsteiner, Chiellini, Pjanic, Cuadrado and Sandro. It was a welcome show of squad depth yet also led to a less fluid performance than seen of late. As to be expected with such heavy rotation.

It was clear from the off that the hosts were to set out their stall to defend en-masse. For much of the opening 45 they had 8 players behind the ball which made the final third a throng of too many bodies – especially centrally – to find much space. Yet still, we created some presentable openings. Higuain went close twice and Dybala had an effort cleared off the line late on.

The second half saw our pressure grow, with Crotone camped in their own box. More chances came and went, always in tight spaces with little time to ponder before striking for goal. And it was on the hour, no surprise whatsoever, to find Juve taking the lead. A decent ball swung in from the right found Asamoah’s powerful header which was well saved but Mario was on hand to steer the ball home from an acute angle for 0-1.

9 goals in his last 8 league fixtures; Gonzalo Higuain

Soon after Pjanic appeared on 70′ Gonzalo was put through in the box with a clever pass from Rincon, the Argentine rounded the keeper to plunder his 16th Serie A strike of the season. Not bad at all considering he has made 23 appearances, some of which were late showings from the bench.

Miralem almost added a 3rd with a gorgeous half volley which hit the frame of the goal. Rugani got away with a obvious tug of the shirt in the box on a rare home side attack. And the game petered out into what felt more like a training match.

Player Ratings

Buffon – Untested. No real saves to make. 6

Bonucci – Calm, composed and relatively quiet. 6

Rugani – Ever blossoming, for other than the shirt pulling bother, Daniele was in fine fettle. A team high of 7 clearances confirms he was more often than not in the right place at the right time. 7

Asamoah – Given opportunity to get forward to stretch the play and it was his header which led to the opener. It is great to have him back now fit and sharp and he is more than a back-up to Sandro; he is a contender for the LB spot. 7

Alves – Seemed rather leggy, which is to be expected given his age and recent injury lay-off, yet Dani fared okay. Certainly lacking in the defensive nous, he is nonetheless useful from a technical perspective higher up the field. Offered a few decent crosses. 6

Rincon – A strong full debut from the Venezulan. He screened the defence well, got forward and supplied an assist for Higuain. We can depend on him to keep the central midfield area calm and resolute. 7

Khedira– Subdued, jaded and rarely involved. I hardly saw him on the ball, or even without it. In dire need of a breather. 5

Pjaca – His long awaited full debut was more a failure than success, yet perhaps his talents are better deployed against a side who actually attacks, for there was no space to run into, other than the once, when he found a good position in the box yet his shot was weak. 5.5

Dybala – Great showing from the youngster who did more than any other to carve out openings. Set up several chances for team mates and was unlucky to see his effort from a wide position cleared off the line. Great running, trickery and very direct. 7

Mandzukic – Made the most of his one solid chance with a tidy finish, other than which kept up the pressure throughout. 7

Higuain – Gonzalo remains in a rich vein of form. Twice going close before adding to his account for the season. Often faced with numerous foes, yet never daunted. 7

Overall the game felt and looked more like a training match such was our total dominance and the home side plan to play for a draw or damage limitation from the very first whistle. We were crunched a couple of times in the box, with the officials playing the blind man. Yet it did not make any difference to the result.

Max Allegri was content with the comprehensive victory over Crotone.

We got the job done, without breaking sweat and it is valuable to learn how to stay calm, keep pressing and wait for the chances to appear, avoid frustration when faced with a human blockade around and within the 18 yard box. They really did place 8-10 players constantly behind the ball, and failed to truly threaten our goal even once. Still, we have the players to unpick the tightest locks, and we managed to create by my count 10 decent chances.

Alves, Pjaca and Khedira were disappointing. Rincon and Rugani encouraging. The rest of the squad were fine.

Not much can be taken from the tie other than the welcome 3 points, no new injuries and a suggestion that plenty of the second string can step into the new system and it holds.

On to Sardinia…where I hope to holiday for a fortnight next September, before moving onto Corsica, then back to the motherland for the first time in three years. A long overdue return to the embrace of my own mangled tribe.

A solid showing and deserved victory.


(follow me on twitter here)

Also…in other news…The primavera were unfortunately beaten 2-0 in their do or die knockout stage UEFA Youth battle with Ajax. Yet remain on course to win the league and qualify for the end of term tournament, and have the Viareggio to look forward to in March.

It appears that we have been outbid for Brazilian Serb CB Lyanco, as Atletico are offering 20m to Sao Paulo.

When quizzed about possible interest from Arsenal, Allegri responded –

“I won’t deny or confirm anything. I am in sync with the club, now we have to focus on winning. At this time of the season the media always says I’m leaving, even when things are going really well.”

Not quite the quashing of such a rumour some would expect. Yet he has been at the helm for close to three seasons now, has been learning English as is clearly eager to try the premier league and there may well be an opening at one of the established top sides in England. I suspect he has told Juve that all is well, and he will speak to the club about his contract at the end of the season, not now, preferring to focus on winning at Juve. Sousa and Spalletti appear favourites to take over if Max departs. Both of whom have yet to sign contract extensions at Roma or Fiorentina respectively. Allegri’s contract runs to 2018. Yet who can predict who else might be interested and interesting come the Summer…

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  • Avatar
    Storm February 9, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Spot on analysis.

    If the derby against Inter was a prime example off great football, then this game was the opposite.

    I feel that Pjaca had little chance to show himself against a busdriver and 11 passengers. What I did notice was Bonucci’s lack of accuracy on his passes. Very suprising, but maybe the mental concentration wasn’t there due to the level of this game.

    Finally, Mandzukic got a goal and lets hope he can built on that. Higuin did what he was bought for, scoring, scoring and scoring

    Forza Juve!

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 9, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Cheers STorm! I think a fair few took their foot off the gas, leaving the front players to win the game. Big Leo was okay, he had little to do, yet I was bored by the game, so may have missed a few passages of play. Rugani seemed far brighter of the CBs.

      It is interesting to see us play against a well organised rearguard 6-3-1 formation. Those kind of games we struggled in under COnte. Which is why I prefer Allegri. He looks for solutions rather than drills the side singularly in one military tactic.

      On one hand Pjaca needs time to get sharp, yet on the other, we wont see his best unless there is space to run into, which will only happen against teams who commit men forward.As luck would have it, we have two more games against weak teams to further bed second string players into the new formation, yet I would rather see us play our best XI for both, gain momentum, score more goals, bring others on late in the game.

      Not sure on Barzagli as the RB! Yet he seems injured again. Poor old boy.

      • Avatar
        E.Micallef February 9, 2017 at 5:14 pm

        It was so one sided we barely had to move. There was too much difference between the two sides. Which makes me think what on earth are these sides doing in the serie A. Again for me all deserve a 6 hig and manzu half piont more. Rarely saw a match so deviod of emotions like this one it was waiting for it to go in almost like a flipper. I mean why 5 to Khedira. Poor lad he had almost 19 players infront of him in the final third. He played walking pace just like alves bonucci rugani and all the others. Hope you had a fine birthday mate. Cu on the next one

  • Avatar
    Xx RForcE xX February 9, 2017 at 9:59 pm
    instead of Cuadrado, not bad idea.

    • Avatar
      Garninho February 10, 2017 at 2:52 am

      I don’t know about this. They didn’t even get his name right. It’s Douglas Costa, not Diego Costa.

      • Avatar
        Xx RForcE xX February 10, 2017 at 3:29 am

        yep of course it is douglas costa.I didnt even know they wrote it wrong lol

  • Avatar
    Storm February 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Is this allowed???

    I mean, that is the closest you get to someone stating that another team is cheating

    • Avatar
      Xx RForcE xX February 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      fuk him, just abother crying baby, they cant beat us , so they cry.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black February 9, 2017 at 11:33 pm

      Same old allegations, and Roma don’t ever get freebies from refs of course…. And join Juventus! He should be so lucky.

      • Avatar
        Storm February 10, 2017 at 8:25 am

        I know it is the same old arguments of literally all of our rivals (which is similar to every discussion in every league).

        My question still remains, can he say this without being fined?

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet February 9, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Just when I was feeling for the first time in many years that perhaps it was time to lessen my hatred for Inter Milan, as its a new crowd, who are yet to adopt the same arrogant, whining and pathetic mud slinging stance of those they replaced. Yet I was wrong…The ref didnt give two penalties? Bullshit. Only one of the tackles was even slightly contentious…
    The TV station refused to show Rizzoli giving Juve an advantage? Perisic and Icardi bans are unfair and pro juve? Well, kick a ball at a ref’s head in any country and you will get more than a red, you will be banned for several games. Swear at the ref and you receive a yellow or second yellow…

    After such a fine game, a great spectacle for Serie A, which was hard fought but deservedly won by Juve, Inter cannot restrain themselves. They simply have to show their total absence of clace, find scapegoats and cry. Its disgusting and a terrible advert for Serie A. The club itself should be sanctioned and told by Tavecchio to grow up, seek some dignity…but then again that racist tool is an Interista…a man who tried to cut a deal with Juve over the Inter funded and organised calciopoli horrorshow…’forget your claims of 443m and we can speak of the 2 scudetti’..

    And no surprise at all to find that beastly cretin Radja Naingollan weighing in with a ‘I hate juve! they always cheat’ contribution. I cannot but hope someone cuts his face off…then turns out for the next Roma match wearing it as a mask.

    Still, at least ADL has so far managed to join in the chorus of classless mong…no doubt he will soon make a statement. Yet he has enough to ponder with Sarri perhaps having met Juve. I wouldn’t ever want him at Juve. His comments towards Mancini were those of a peasant. He is a splendid manager with a very strong squad, yet again, he lacks class…and also looks like a paedophile.

    And if he is so sure he didn’t meet anyone from Juve…then he should sue the journalist. Anything less will add weight to the claims. Fraternising with your major enemies?

    It is all such a shame…From what was arguably the most entertaining game across Europe, at a high level, over the weekend, has since been soiled with the muck of the Inter hierarchy and Radya…he should be sanctioned by the IFF, for bringing the game into disrepute, yet nothing will happen. Times like this I wish we could move to the French league or better still the premier league. Not too far to travel and both authorities there come down hard on such matters, whether club or player specific.

  • Avatar
    Sebastián Quiceno February 10, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Hi there poet.

    Accurate ratings overall. I agree it was a training match with a decent sparring partner since like you said they were in damage control mode. Considering that I think we shouldn´t come so hard on players like Khedira and much less on Pjaca for this performance since it was his 1st start and actually the whole team appeared asynchronized since we used many subs meaning if he had dazzled he would have eclipsed the rest. I am perfectly ok with mature aging starters like Khedira saving energy and playing 2 gears behind in a game of this stature.

    Now what I really want to say is It doesn´t seem smart for Max Allegri to leave once he has in front of him the best squad in his entire career, the 1st season he has been able to use his preferred 4 man defence systems. Forget the criticism received every now and then a seasoned coach believes in his work and filters criticism. On paper I think he has room for 2 to 3 more seasons depending on results in Europe.

    Still in case he wants to leave now I would like to give the chance to Simeone since he is the only one that can instill grinta to a level similar to Antonio Conte. He has 2 UCL finals with Atletico cmon, he deserves a lot of credit. Forget that he is ex-inter I think he is professional and hungry enough to manage Juve, I mean honestly i think he would be proud and delighted to manage Juve specially since it allows him to manage Argentinian players since he would definitely jump from Juve bench to Argentina´s bench.

    • Avatar
      Xx RForcE xX February 10, 2017 at 4:43 am

      Hell yeah, i like the idea of Simeone taking over our beloved Juve.This idea never even crossed my mind(dont know why) but hey, he is one of the best coaches in modern football, if we look at what he did with ATM , it is amazing. Well they are good side but, i think we have much bigger potential and talent . Hope he will not join the mofos.If Allegri will leave he is more than just a replacement.thumbs up

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet February 10, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Thanks for the calm, composed and well measured input, Seb!

      I am fine with Sami taking a breather, just wish Allegri had noticed the need for this. For Sami took that breather…whilst playing! Yet he wasn’t required.We may as well have played with 10 men.

      Onto Allegri…

      He has been at the club for close to three seasons, could well bow out with a historic 6th league title, perhaps another double, who knows…even a champions league winners medal. All of which will come into play in his cogitation.

      Max has been learning english, in preparation we must assume of living in England, managing in England. The money is huge, and the Premier League is undoubtedly the number one football product on the planet. He would want to move to a club where he can continue to succeed at the top level. Chelsea will stick with Conte in the very least until 2018. I highly doubt Guardiola would be sacked before 2018. Spurs have Pocchetino who is doing a decent job. And Man U will stick with Mourinho for three years. Which leaves Arsenal, of the top sides in England.

      They will be looking for a manager to come in and start a new, lengthy chapter. And I believe with the failure yet again to mount a serious, sustained title challenge or succeed in Europe leading to the demise of Wenger. They are not improving. And so the job will be on offer.

      I suspect he has told the club all seems well, but let us discuss the matter in the Summer. See what the club think and he will express what he thinks. Until which, let him concentrate on this campaign.

      If he goes…I would be happy with Spalletti or Sousa, but yes, both play second fiddle to Simeone. Who faces the same dilemma as Allegri, as in, what options at top clubs will he find? I agree with you, Seb. He might be interested. It would be a step up from ATletico. And he knows the league and has more than proved himself capable of that ultra rare mix – instilling in a squad phenomenal tenacity aligned with tactical nous.