Fiorentina 0-0 Juventus
Serie A – Week 14 [5th December 2014] – Stadio Artemio Franchi
After a week of discussing and celebrating Andrea Pirlo’s incredible winner in the final minutes of the Derby Della Mole which erupted The Juventus Stadium, today The Bianconeri visited the unwelcoming home of bitter rivals, ACF Fiorentina. As Allegri’s men hit the pitch to a very loud and enthusiastic Viola crowd at the Franchi, it was clear that both teams were out for blood; Juventus wanted to spoil the party, and Fiorentina wanted to make more drinking mugs celebrating another potential home victory against the much hated Juve.
Allegri decided to go back to the typical 3-5-2 formation that Juventini had grown accustomed to after the glorious three year reign from Antonio Conte. It was Mario Gomez and Juan Cuadrado who would challenge the strong Juventus back-three of Giorgio Chiellini, Angelo Ogbonna, and Leonardo Bonucci. With the combination of the brutal away fans, the pace and creativity of the Colombian forward and the strength and expertise of Mario Gomez, this would prove to be no easy task for Buffon and co.
The Mister went into the match with a more conservative mentality ahead of the visiting Atletico Madrid side that will challenge Juventus in the Champions League early next week, and unfortunately for Allegri, it showed. Juventus were sloppy in posession within the opening 20 minutes of the match and failed to get any kind of rhythm. There were both positives and negatives to be taken from the draw at the Franchi, particularly including the two Frenchmen that were acquired this past summer.
After making it clear that he wanted more playing time, and after Allegri making it clear he has a great deal of faith in Juventus’ young talent, Kingsley Coman earned a starting spot along side Fernando Llorente. While Coman and Llorente complimented each other well, much like Cuadrado and Gomez–one being very quick and unpredictable and the other good at holding the play–the rookie Frenchman was excellent in creating pressure on The Viola defense and Llorente was great at doing what he normally does, holding the ball high up the pitch and creating chances off of his grand stature. While Coman was unable to get his name on the scoresheet or the assist sheet, like he did against Parma, Kingsley showed again that he is more than capable of playing at such a high and competitive level despite his youth and inexperience.
While one Frenchman proved worthy of the Black and White today, another did not. Patrice Evra, who started as a Left-Wingback in Allegri’s 3-5-2, was caught chasing Joaquin and Cuadrado too many times throughout the match, often fouling and getting beat down the flank. While Evra must be given credit as it is surely no simple task to adapt to a new system in a new league–one that is very different from the English Premier League–as a man with his experience, there still were some positives of the Veteran defender’s game. Uncle Pat (the name given to Patrice Evra by Kingsley Coman) was strong when on the attack, sending in a couple threatening crosses and even had The Old Lady’s first shot-on-goal of the match.
The real man of the match today was referee, Nicola Rizzoli. The experienced referee, having instructed a World Cup Final and a Champions League Final, went into a match filled with animosity and handled the game very well. There were 28 fouls and 5 yellow cards between the two teams (one of which was given to Giorgio Chiellini who will now miss the next Serie A fixture) and Rizzoli had the match completely under control aside from a questionable hand-ball inside Fiorentina’s box in the dying moments.
Angelo Ogbonna, who has taken his fair share of criticism upon joining The Gobbi, played another good match, containing a very dangerous Viola attack well and keeping the clean sheet for Gigi Buffon who was tested a number of times throughout the match. Juventus were lucky, however, not to concede as they allowed 9 shots in total and 4 opposing corners and the one point at the Franchi must be taken positively, especially with the most important match of the season coming up on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid.
While nobody was there to score an emphatic late winner like Pirlo did against Torino, Juventus fought well for the 0-0 draw against a buzzing Fiorentina, a side that thrives for victory against The Old Lady. With the Atletico game right around the corner, Max Allegri and the squad must regroup and go over his tactics ahead of the match as a result is absolutely needed if he wants to make The Gobbi relevant again in the Champions League.
Man of the Match: Leonardo Bonucci
Flop of the Match: Fernando Llorente/Roberto Pereyra
Pass Accuracy: 82%
Shots on Target: 1
Total Shots: 10
Ball Possession: 48%
Fiorentina: Neto; Gonzalo Rodriguez, Savic, Basanta; Joaquin (Aquilani 78), Mati Fernandez, Pizarro, Borja Valero, Alonso; Gomez (Babacar 69), Cuadrado (Kurtic 85)
Juventus: Buffon; Ogbonna, Bonucci, Chiellini; Pereyra (Padoin 88), Vidal, Pirlo (Marchisio 78), Pogba, Evra; Llorente, Coman (Tevez 60)