Match Review Serie A

Fiorentina 2-1 Juventus Match Review

January 16, 2017 - 9:30 am

Player Ratings

Buffon – Was outfoxed for the opener but should have done much better for the second. Which was basically a long pass which didn’t exactly fly in, though it was moving; it bounced in. However, he did more than most at the back to make up for the deficiencies of his team mates and stand up to face the onslaught. 6

Barzagli – One of his poorest showings in our colours. He is simply nowhere near fit. And has been rushed back into the fray far too early. Every aspect of his game was poor. Yet I love the man, so won’t dissect his foray into the abyss. 4

Bonucci – Another player who is way off the pace presently. What bothered me more was that he was laughing at one stage, when I was scowling. At least he made a few tackles. 4.5

Chiellini – Average by his own high standards and let down by the BB aspect of our famous defence. He certainly showed more than any other CB. 5.5

Sandro – He toiled and close to held his own but made zero progress going forward, and what can we expect when the medical staff are clearly bringing back players too soon. 5.5

Cuadrado – Appalling in the first half and not exactly transformed after the break, but more incisive. He is no defender, and he was clearly focused upon as a weakness by Sousa’s wily tactics. 4.5

Marchisio – Dead on his feet after just 20 minutes. And did not improve. Completely over-run in midfield from the start, and was too far gone to make any inroads when the ascendency swung in our favour. He needs a break. We are asking too much of him after such a long time out injured. 3.5

Khedira – Absent for large periods of the game, failed to capitalise on the scant few opportunities found in the second half but at least supplied the cross for the goal. 4.5

Dybala – Hustled and bustled, found space very hard to come by until late on and missed a glorious chance to level the tie near the death. Same story as the supercoppa debacle. Was fortunate to avoid a straight red for a vicious foul before the final whistle blew.  5

Higuain – Took his goal well enough and should have done better with a header. Other than which had very little support and no space. 6

Pjaca – Achieved nothing of note other than a glimpse of his potential when beating two players in the box and seeing his shot deflected away from goal. By what seemed a hand, but it was hit hard and his arms were far from flailing; it would have been a harsh decision. 5.5

Rincon – Added steel to the midfield when the game had become topsy-turvy. 6

Mandzukic – Not on the field long, but long enough to make a great chance for Dybala to spoon from 6 yards out. 6

We were over-run and dominated for much of the first half and lucky not to head into the interval more than a goal down. Fiorentina were more spritely, more fit, full of running and confidence. They matched us for formation then battered the midfield leaving our rearguard pinned back and literally hanging on for dear life. For me, it was mainly the lack of fitness of 3-4 players which produced the first half horror show.

The hosts were not going to be able to sustain the pressure for 90 minutes and once we got the goal, the tide turned completely. However, we were unable to make the possession count, and as much as we could and should have grabbed the equaliser, Illicic should also have done better late on but was thwarted by Buffon and his own feet.

Unfortunately, the only way Bonucci, Barzagli, Sandro, Asamoah, Dybala and Pjaca are going to get sharp are by playing. The story is different with Marchisio, who we need to manage better. He was out for such a very long time, it is unreasonable to expect him to return with great stamina and in this match he was useless.

Could and should Allegri have seen the poor condition of so many players prior to selection? I assume so. And yet there are other issues to address and ponder; mainly focused on his tactical decisions.

Lichsteiner’s absence meant he was forced to play either Cuadrado at RWB and adopt the 3-5-2 or place Barzagli there. Seeing how out of sorts Barzagli proved, he would have been even worse in a position which you would assume requires more running. Asamoah gave his best 45 minutes of the season at LB midweek so why bench him and bring back Sandro? Although the Ghanaian also, is miles of top condition.

He made moves to try claw back the game, knew we would have our time in control, and we were a little unlucky to come away empty handed. Do not get me wrong, for Fiorentina deserved their victory on endeavour and chances created. Still, the reality is not as horrid as some will scream and squeal.

We were beaten by a single goal – a freak fluke goal at that- by a team who played exceptionally well. Close to half our starting XI were not fit. The only definite mistake I would hang around Allegri’s neck was bringing back Barzagli AND Bonucci, when Rugani is fit and in fine form. He risked all and gained nothing but a defeat against one of our most hated rivals. The result also gives confidence to the chasing pack. He should also have removed Marchisio much earlier.

ALL of our troubles this season have come from a constantly changing, never settled midfield. Give Rincon a chance to bed in, give Marchisio a break, move back to the 4-3-1-2 which brings out the best of Pjanic, allow Pjaca to deputise for Dybala, even replace him for the next game and most importantly, bring back Rugani. It may well be the death knell of the 3-5-2 BBC but we simply do not have the solidity in midfield to slowly manage that legendary trio back to where they can still be, but are presently far from.

Assuming we beat Crotone, we can still loosely assume we have a 4 point lead.

The only positive to take is that this was not Juve at their best, nowhere near in fact. It was a weak performance, of a tired team short of sharpness and drive. The mentality issues are harder to pin on players when their stamina levels appear wretched. Yet why deploy players who are unfit for an encounter which was always going to be bruising, full blooded and intense?

As anyone who has watched Juve for the last few years or longer will understand; this 16/17 squad is one in transition. We have been very unlucky with injuries though lucky with results. I cannot recall a run of games where our form has remained consistently decent, let alone entertaining.

We always come unstuck when we are pressed and it makes sense to work on counter attacking football and dealing with a high press. Our midfield was non existent for large parts of the harrowing first 45 minutes, and why? Was it just fitness or a lack of organisation? A team should never bunch up in the middle and drop deep when pressed hard, for other teams can then play around and over us; it MUST remain strident and offer options on the flanks especially. There needs to be an outlet when we do have the ball, other than to simply give it straight back.

I do not want to see Dybala outside our 18 year box with nobody to play to higher up the field than Higuain with three defenders to face. The youngster needs to work on his discipline, positioning and finishing for he remains very raw and its games like this where his phenomenal talent needs to be deployed intelligently, not haphazardly.

I still believe in the potential of this squad and we do have 7 games to hopefully settle on a system, more importantly play our best players into sharpness and form. Then we face Porto. That run of games now take on huge importance. The next four are tricky ties, just what we need, sink or swim. If we can negotiate them carefully, successfully, we then have three far easier ties to condition and rotate the squad before the champions league returns.

Allegri has much work to do. Though I can smile, to ponder Sousa taking over in the Summer…He has improved as a manager and brings that same resolute calmness which he had on the field as a player in our colours. He got his tactics spot on and imbued his charges with belief and drive. Max now has to follow suit.

Our season is far from over, far from a failure, yet crunch time is coming…We must stand up and be counted.

forza juve


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  • Avatar
    Dar Black January 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Worrying points:

    We are still bedding in with over 50% of season gone.
    We don’t seem to know the best team, and make too many changes for rotation for sake of it when fit players can play far more games (Italian clubs play less matches than many others) , but not changes when players are unfit?
    What final roster or formation are we transitioning too? Does anybody concerned at the club know? We seem to be a football squad science experiment lab…

    Good points:

    We have all the quality players we need to be great. If only …..

    I am a firm believer that you must have quality outlets for playing from defense all the way through to the attackers. That is why I have come to like Hernanes for his distribution. As long as he has protection. Mr Rincon can do this now. The unfashionable players can often be critical – Man UTD with 34yr old Michael Carrick is better mostly than without. But the question of how and who gets the ball to Gonzo and Dybala (and why as GP says is PD having to pickup the ball himself outside the box – that is someone elses job), this requires a well oiled and drilled formation with quality players. If it is with wingbacks fine, as long as they have skill (Tottenham do this fantastically with Rose and Walker). If with midfielders or a combination of the two outlets also fine. But we must have players who know their job and can do it very well week in and out (Cuadrado I am looking at you…). Add in the Allegri chop and change and results are going to be hit and miss. Which is precisely what we have.

    If we can on like this then Serie A should still be ok, but you only get 2 chances in knockout stage of CL. We will not get through with lady luck with these sort of performances.

  • Avatar
    Juventino Persa January 16, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    good analysis dude, you just forgot to rate Sturaro, which was at most very ordinary! I personally don’t expect much from him, lots of faults, suffered or conceded, no output! We can talk and talk about this game and how bad we were, almost all players, but I wanna mention some more general trends in the team this season. We are not in September, but in mid January, some long term trends that are my concerns:

    1- We have lost 4 games in half season (to put it in perspective, Conte had 7 defeats in 3 seasons!!!). Here comes the worst stats, 4 defeats out of 9 away games, and we have lost against all important rivals: Milan, Inter and now Fiorentina! and we haven’t played at Napoli or Roma yet! Spalletti and Sarri should be licking their lips now! The other defeats should have been wake up calls, but unfortunately we haven’t learnt, again and again we go at our rivals home and play super-defensively, super-conservatively, sitting deep and letting them put a siege on our goal, until it’s too late to change anything! It all happens too much, like when we score one goal and sit deep even against small teams at home! May I dare to say: COWARDLY!

    2- Juve have big problems against high-pressing teams, against Sevilla that moment of madness from Vasquez helped us, today we haven’t enjoy such a luxury! It’s true that it’s unlikely that they can keep such a high pressing for more than 70 minutes, but that’s enough for doing the damage, and then it’s too late to score, 2 or 3 goals to win it! Our midfield simply can’t stands against these high rithms of play and we get outplayed again and again. Either we should press back or prepare for pacy counter-attacks, we should prepare for it, not just sit back and hope that nothing happens till they are tired!

    3- You rightfully pointed that there are too much over-thinking and change of tactics and formations, player should be settled down in their role and the team should take its form. A player who is playing good (read Rugani), should have been given the chance to continue in starting XI, rather than big names! Maybe it’s better to stick to 4-3-1-2 and prepare for the life after BBC! Our 3-5-2 is simply too defensive!

    P.S. I am not asking to sack Allegri, he is a good coach, I am asking him to be more daring and be bold! The last time I checked in England, Spain and Germany the teams at the top of tables were all coached by ex-Juventini just like the team who won against us yesterday, just saying!

    Forza Juve!

    • Avatar
      E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Very well written and said. But for once I just want to mention Seville ended Madrid unbeaten run yesterday and are second one piont off same Madrid. Which means I have to value the win we had over there as they seem a very solid squad.It seems only fair to piont it out.

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet January 17, 2017 at 1:36 am

        We are not a bad team, Mr Micallef, and we can muscle it out and offer sound technique against the very best. We also have a lot of superb experience. However, the squad and therefore the performances have bee neither shocking or amazing, mainly average, with some good fortune and some moments of individual quality dragging us into respectable results.

        Due to injuries (mainly) Allegri has been unable to field his desired starting XI or even tactical system for most of the season. This is not an excuse, as a manager must make the best of what he has in hand, but it is certainly a mitigating factor in the analysis.

        Lengthy injuries to Bonucci, Barzagli, Sturaro, Marchisio, Pjaca, Rugani, Asamoah, Alves, Dybala, and the failure of Lemina and Hernanes to step up to the mark when called upon are the main reasons foe the disjointed, hapahazard offerings. Which leads to a lessening of confidence.

        We may well still be saying the same thing come May…a 6th scudetto won without playing consistently well, out of both cups, yet I hope and suspect this will only be the case if the injuries continue. Everyone is now back, or on their way back. Other than Alves. We need the chance to play to at least the sum of our parts…and the following, if fit and sharp, is a formidable side, at least on paper.

        Lichsteiner Rugani Chiellini Sandro
        Khedira Marchisio
        Dybala Higuain Pjaca

        • Avatar
          E.Micallef January 17, 2017 at 8:13 am

          We undoubtly are poet.

          But let me do some considerations. It is not that we lose a game that frustrates me most. For it is part of the game
          It is the constant waving of hands to the ref instead of running back to win the ball back. It is the running to outpace and dribble your opponent not knowing what excatly to do next. It is the marchisio going off red faced breatless knowing he did not perform and the bonucci rubbing his fuck… hands for he was feeling cold wih a grim on his face. The frustration a kid playing well not knowing what excatly he needs to do or why he is being benched. Grosso team is heading their league. Dont they have a RB we can try start to integrate like in matches against Crotone give him believe and let him start. I dont know poet i see hernanes not knowing why he was bought a trequartista a regista?. I see Allegri not taking chances and risk because he know he has to deliver. The 352 is a dead system. We dont have the players to play it.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet January 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Indeed, I was beginning to tire from the slowly increasing heat, which today will erach a wretched 38C…Sturaro was over loaded with players to mark and batter through, made perhaps slightly more of his presence felt than Khedira, but was otherwise below par, i would have given him a 5.5.

      i will get onto more thorough a response at lunch time…and thank you for the comments, as always!


  • Avatar
    Dar Black January 16, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    And I see Allegri says post match that we must be better in possession. Well we must have better quality on the pitch then. In which case why sit out Pjanic? Was his ‘knock’ so bad? As Klopp says to ‘Mr Injury’ Dan Sturridge sometimes you just must play through it. Like players used to do in days past.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet January 17, 2017 at 6:25 am

      Agreed, DB. Rather than invest in a proper fullback back-up to Lichsteiner, we brought in an aging Alves who has been accustomed to a league with little focus on defence and not the same standard of defending, dropped Lichsteiner like a rock, without even offering him a chance to compete and assumed Cuadrado would be a useful back -up when he had proven sporadically useful, as in 1 in 7/8 games useful…when we had the Swiss Locomotive with plenty left in the tank and Pol Lirola in the wings.

      Our HR effort in the RB position have been the biggest obvious failure in the transfer market this season.

      I would say Lemina has also been an obvious failure, as he has not found any position where he performs brilliantly, just the odd flash here and there.

      We missed the CM in the Summer, and we look like we are going to miss the CM, as in a top notch CM, again this January. Rincon could well prove useful, but I doubt he will raise our level majorly, perhaps add more resilience, which we have been lacking.

      Our best players on the ball – Pjanic, Pjaca, Dybala, Marchisio, Khedira, Sandro, Bonucci.

      Our best finishers Higuain.

      Mix them in with the best flank players at full back, add in some Rincon/Struraro muscle in the middle.

      Give Rugani more time to continue to blossom.

      We have ourselves a team…

  • Avatar
    Moderator January 16, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Still angry about the result, for lack of a better word.

    We knew what kind of beast Fiorentina are, and yet we still let ourselves get trapped by them. They only play one way, and we tried to play our game in spite of that – Allegri has to take some of the blame for fielding a midfield devoid of any creativity – Of course, if Pjanic is injured, it’s understandable, and yet we could have taken a risk or two – instead we sad back and laboured for much of the match, knowing full well that they would press us high and not let us get into our stride.

    Frustrating as hell to watch them play so poorly and without any fight and then come out with excuses post match – I wish sometimes the player would just take the blame, hold their hands up and then get back to the hard work.

    Anyways, i’ve devoted far too much of my day to ranting about this result – time to raise our game v Lazio.

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef January 16, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    We were simply not in the match.The last time we displayed the 352 was against Genoa. Enough said. With that system Dybala have to come deep down our own half to take a sniff at the ball. Then what? you do have nobody upfront. Your ratings show what a really poor performace it was. It was a match for fighters and we didn’t fight.

  • Avatar
    Moderator January 16, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    The new Juventus club logo……..your thoughts?

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet January 16, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      I am not keen in the slightest. Other than it looks japanese, it makes no sense having two Js and it vaguely evokes thoughts of samurai, i suppose it might appeal to the modern mong masses?

      But why the devil change the emblem? The present is class.

    • Avatar
      Papilaya(John)™★★★ January 17, 2017 at 1:36 am

      Moving forward i guess…

      Looks like a logo for a fashion line, not really a football club, but we ll see i guess

      • Avatar
        Peter January 17, 2017 at 7:42 am

        Forward to the neutering station!

        • Avatar
          Papilaya(John)™★★★ January 17, 2017 at 6:56 pm

          XD tbh i like it because its two J’s one for Juventus and one for John :p

    • Avatar
      Peter January 17, 2017 at 7:40 am

      I don’t like it either. Why the hell would you change such a beautiful logo? How is this going to be sewed on? I mean it’s some “artwork” on black background. Where will the edges go? I assume it will follow the line..

      You may say I’m harsh towards graphics designers, but I’d seriously like to know how long did it take to come up with this. Absolutely no detail, it’s literally 2 lines and the name of the club.

      I believe nobody took it into account that we also have three stars which are generally go to the top of the badge. Now we have some text on top. HOW WILL THIS LOOK WITH STARS?

    • Avatar
      Juventino Persa January 17, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Can’t understand this logo! If it was just a merchandise logo it would be ok, but instead of current emblem?!?! no way, it’s as ugly af, and it reminds me clubs like Man City who change the emblem easily just for the sake of marketing!

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet January 17, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Briefly…Buoy has headed back to FC Zwolle on loan for the remainder of the season. He was a first XI regular at the club in the 15/16 campaign…Roman Macek is due to sign for Bari. Both on loan. Complete over-view of the youth mercato to come once the window closes…

    • Avatar
      Dar Black January 17, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Don’t want to take up your time chap, but as the man in the know regards youth squad and such you best placed….

      The talk of transition has made me think this: what are the first choice starting 11’s going to be in 2017 – 18 / 2018 – 19 seasons based on current squad (best efforts on who will be retired or sold), primavera and those new young talents we have snapped up already and those still likely to come, + the big purchases we expect (so star midfielder Beppe has talked of buying…). What will our first team look like evolving to? Who stays, who goes. I can’t understand how everything fits together eith Rincon added, Pjaca still to fit in + this new Star midfielder? It all seems a bit confused picture to me. Could we have an article please sir?

      • thegutterpoet
        thegutterpoet January 19, 2017 at 10:50 am

        Yes of course, comrade…The better value I can provide to others from my longstanding focus on the youth squad will bring me some satisfaction. I will ponder the thing later this month.

        Loose thoughts for now are…

        I am increasingly unsure of Allegri remaining next season, yet Sousa is waiting in the wings and he is doing a fine job in Florence.

        Great hopes for the young guns remain Clemenza…its great to see Kastanos and Macek heading out on loan, both of whom I would place a little behind Clemenza in terms of likely stardom. Shame we have not been able to place Romagna anywhere new, as he is not getting any games, yet remains ear marked for glory.

        Orsolini appears ever more a true gem in the mega rough…Interesting that he pretty much occupies the exact same role as Berardi. It will bother me to see us give up on our option, but it is not our style, as a club, to use the option then sell him on straight away to where he wants to go. Which is a bother, but also classy.

        Kean is the obvious star in the making. Yet I am now tired of report after report of ‘kean to sign his first professional contract’…your pal Mino is at large, and once he can officially take charge of the lad’s playing rights, his juve career will likely be one of merely a stepping stone, though perhaps that has been the case since your DevilMan got involved…

        Rogerio is at the U20 south america tournament with Brazil, so he may have some potential.

        Bentancur is widely admired, though we will learn ore of him once the transfer is complete and he is loaned to hopefully a serie a club.

        Pjaca also remains a great hope.

        Lirola is doing well…Audero needs to be tested at mens level. Muratore, Leris, Caligara are all faring well…

        Yes, mate, I will make a stab at your assignment.

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet January 17, 2017 at 9:51 am

    As part of the promotional video for the launch of the new logo, Nedved said ‘Getting to the ball before your opponent every time will give you an edge’. That is precisely where we have been lacking this season…Its mentality, and either we are on a downward spiral which will lead to a season or two of transition, which may be true, or we need those already imbued with lo stile juve to step up, in a big, manly, fierce way, show pride in the shirt…when is the last time we saw a performance which lit flames in our hearts?