Match Review Champions League

Juventus 2-1 Monaco Champions League Report and Player Ratings

May 10, 2017 - 12:17 pm

We created eight very presentable chances whilst conceding just the two for the visitors. Thankfully we took two and they took just the one when we switched off for a breather as Monaco took a short corner at lightning pace.

Other than that bothersome moment, which is not enough to sour these precious moments, we were indomitable. Perhaps slower to the ball in the first half hour, yet this was to be expected and was likely part of the game plan. Soak up the pressure which simply had to come, then begin to piece together moves and wait for the holes to appear.

Much of our play was a joy to behold, with our ability to retain possession, move the ball up the field to carve out chances with beautiful one touch passing proving the very hallmarks of a top class team I have been hoping and waiting for.

Monaco played their part in what was an entertaining, generally very sporting semi-final. They deserved a consolation goal and 4-1 overall reflects our dominance over the two legs.

I will hope, as will all others with black and white in their veins, that Big Sami recovers both for the coppa italia final and more importantly our visit to my motherland for the big one against Real. He will certainly relish facing his old side, as Alves will equally enjoy facing his old enemy. I could write a novella about Chiellini’s defending, the outstanding transition from defence to attack which is now becoming ever so fine tuned, yet this was a team effort, and it is this magical cohesion of every player knowing their inter connected roles instinctively which has taken us this far.

No one or two individuals are relied upon more than the team as a whole. This is our strength. In the collective, not the singular. We play for the badge, we play for each other and Allegri must be praised to the heavens for the sterling work he has forged since arriving at the club close to three years ago under a volley of insults and disharmony amongst the fans. To think that some were calling for his head even earlier this season! Lunacy, yet a sign of a section of the ‘modern’ supporters who are accustomed to the consume and dispose routine, demanding instant gratification…without focusing on the long game. Yet this is no time for me to launch into a devilish bout of social commentary. This is a time to rejoice, to feel our hearts lifted, our spirits soaring…

We have earned, not through hook and crook, not through generous decisions from officials, but through an ever more strident collective devotion to the cause and damn hard work our place at the top table of the global elite.

I am proud to be a juventino whether we are languishing in 17th or marching our way to a historic treble, and come what may when we step out to the famous music to reach out as one for the ultimate triumph I know my heart will be filled with rare and beautiful butterflies (it already is!), every milisecond will count as a special moment in the history we share with the club as fans.

Now we must smile, then redouble our focus, train hard and maintain the stunning momentum. There is a league title to be won, and a domestic cup final. If we can charge triumphantly through these obstacles and emerge unscathed, I see no reason now not to dare to dream. The treble is literally within touching distance.

I nod and applaud towards the club from top to bottom, I thank them all for the endeavour and desire and hunger on show for the world to see and wish the lads the very best of luck as they approach the final stages of what has already proven a truly remarkable journey.

Player Ratings

Buffon – Was forced into but the one close to serious save, other than which was well protected by a magnificent rearguard, plucked balls from the air majestically and launched the counter-attack for the opener with swift thinking and superb awareness. 8

Bonucci – Seemed rarely involved, yet so did Falcao due to Leo’s marvellous shackling routine. Kept his cool and concentration until the latter stages when he felt the need to impose his authority to earn his trademark yellow. 8

Chiellini – We have found the Kaiser at his optimum at just the right time of the season. This was the performance of a seasoned soldier playing at the very top of his game. His clearance from just inside the box was world class, as was his solid aerial defensive prowess. He was simply unbeatable, from every angle Monaco tried. 9.5

Barzagli – Rolled back the years yet again to keep Mbappe pretty much in his pocket. Applied a man-marking job whilst maintaining focus on the right defensive area. His tackles were impeccable, his timing magnificent, and other than briefly switching off for the goal as several others did in turn, The Rock was close to flawless. 8

Sandro – Crafty devil, his feathers never ruffled, and locked down the left flank brilliantly. He is truly announcing himself, by my reckoning as the natural successor to Marcelo as the finest Left Back in the game. Calm, composed, careful. A faultless outing by one of the least heralded, yet most astute signings of recent years. 8.5

Alves – Enough! I am truly converted from skeptic to heartfelt fan. For I was one of his long standing detractors when he arrived at Piedmont and also through the first few months of the season. His showboating (both on and off the field!) and lack of defensive discipline left a lot to be desired and caused me to pine for Stephan and feel the club had treated the Swiss unfairly, even disrespectfully. Yet after returning from the broken leg, far sooner than expected, the Brazilian took a few games to adjust to a RM role, and has since blossomed into a player arguably more wily and equally wondrous technically than all I saw of him for the Blaugrana. Immense stamina, perfectly timed interventions, yet another assist and such a stunningly taken volley. He remains galactic class. To have created three, scored one is incredible form at this level for a 34 year old. 10

Marchisio – Entered the fray unexpectedly early doors, yet could be relied upon to offer guile and ever impressive reading of the game to thwart all efforts through the middle as he was fully in sync with every player around him. Indeed, he is not yet the player he was, but his intelligence and steady desire to die for the cause was on show for all to see. Solid, uncompromising and highly competent. 8

Pjanic – If there was a game this season which confirmed what Allegri has been suggesting since the Summer, that the Bosnian could become a top three midfielder in a deep lying playmaker position, it was this one. His duties at the back, distribution, swift and accurate delivery of the ball and set pieces were all of an extremely high calibre. He has the potential and the talent to reach the legendary status of Pirlo. 9

Dybala – Could have done better when one on one with the keeper, yet ran hard, kept seeking both space and the ball and his passing was intricate and cunning. A solid, mature performance from a player destined for true greatness on the grandest of scales. 7.5

Mandzukic – Back to his best after a shoddy return to CF at the weekend. Treading a thin line on occasion either side of the law of the field, which boiled over into frustration late on. Still, he took his goal powerfully, could have had another before and never stopped pushing, fighting, hustling. Allegri’s redeployment of a player with a lengthy, successful career behind him as a centre forward, into a LM has thus far proven a master stroke. Bravo Max and Bravo Mario! 8.5

Higuain – Not as his sharpest in front of goal, which will surely return swiftly. Forced plenty of openings despite fluffing his lines on several occasions. The stamp from Glik was wretched and the Argentine did well to dowse the flames in his blood and regain focus quickly. Regardless of his failure to get on the score-sheet, his all round game has remained consistently top drawer throughout this season. Let us hope he is saving his shooting boots for the final. 7

Cuadrado – Brought on to offer Dybala a rest for the scudetto party on Sunday. He was brighter, more confident and back to the 2017 Juan I have come to thoroughly enjoy with his direct running and vastly improved distribution. 7

forza juve


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  • Avatar
    Storm May 10, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Great article and spot on!

    What I enjoy the most about your article, besides the poetic language, is the fairness. You give opponents the credit they deserve and I thank you for being so open minded will a die hard Juventino. The joy of reading work from such an Author is undeniable

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet May 10, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Welcome, kind words my friend! I think in this case Monaco deserve a lot of credit. We can suggest it’s a lack of nous due to the youthful nature of their squad, or that jardim demands fairness, promotes solid sporting values, whichever is the case I found them one of the most honest and impressive sides we have faced in any competiton this season. Mutual respect abounded…other than that appalling troll glik!

      Your encouragement and merely reading is very much appreocated.

  • Avatar
    E.Micallef May 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    You know we are on the edge of greatness. Seeing Buffon a 39 year old still tear red in the eyes speaking after the match voice broken.

    You see there are a lot of good teams in the world. Real good teams. None of them during their history have endured what we have endured. Seeing our team depleted torn apart shamed infront of the world. We had 10/11 in the final day on the pitch in the world cup final. They steal the games they said. After 4 years returning to the serie A a certain man was put in charge. A true Juventino at top of Juventus. We had a struggle to make.

    After all these years we showed the world. 4 0 3 0 4 1 these are results you see in the coppa italia not in the champions league. This is the greatness we are witnessing now. This team if we achieve will be remebered for the rest of our lives. Well said my club. ITS TIME. I shed a tear when i saw Alves 10. I shed a tear when i saw chiellini getting that tackle infront of goal. I shed a tear remembering this started in Rimini. We had the same golie that year. That is what he the legend means to us. They could have done all the same.

    So now we wait full of pride eagerly awaiting the day. We will show the same emblem on the shirts we had on that day in Rimini for the last time.

    Then we will enter a new era.

    In Cardiff ……. 1 game to go……

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet May 11, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Mr Micallef! I am ever more enjoying your posts, they are dreamy, extending well beyond the practical, tangible on field action and always involve the heart and soul. Keep up the great work, my friend!

  • Avatar
    Mikkel Andersen May 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I wish we would splash the cash on either Veratti or Mbappe. Better one (or two) great signing(s) than five average after earning a fortune in CL.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet May 11, 2017 at 10:19 am

      I remain loosely suspicious of the Orsolini deal…We may have ‘bought’ an option on Verratti, and if so, I would be happy to see him arrive. Mbappe will be even more astronomically priced than Marco. Cannot see us competing with the 100m+ crowd for any one player. Especially when he has but one fine season under his belt. Would come as a welcome surprise, but I feel we need upgrading elsewhere first and foremost.

      We have no natural back-up for Higuain or Dybala. Alves is 34 and Juan may well prove yet again more hit and miss and a squad player rather than first XI guarantee.

      Also we need to think about Buffon…but not yet!

      Mandzukic has no obvious back-up for LM. Pjaca is far more offensive, yet perhaps we will move in that direction?

      • Avatar
        Mikkel Andersen May 11, 2017 at 11:54 am

        If Higuain 28 last summer was worth close to 100 mill, I believe Mbappe is worth 100 mill. I might be wrong. But to improve our team we need top 50 players only. Not players like Rincon, Lemina and Sturaro. They need to be third choice.

        • Avatar
          E.Micallef May 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm

          Higuain was worth that price tag. Mbappe is only starting his career. Look at Utd Martial. 50mil down the drain. We should work elsewhere. Douglas Costa shit season at BM under Ancelotti. Loan option to buy. Tolisso 40 mil well worth the price. For Centre Foward ill work on Keita Balde or think to upgrade our own Kean. A second striker would be exceptional. Fiorentina Bernardeschi looks ok. If in summer we are going to splash we will splash for Verratti. But the shit relationship we have with Psg i assume the deal wont be completed. Verratti will go to RM i assume. Then i splash on Toni Kross. We have Bentacour coming as well we need to see.

          • Avatar
            Mikkel Andersen May 11, 2017 at 6:07 pm

            🙂 Good thoughts

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet May 12, 2017 at 1:41 am

            Tolisso, Bernadeschi and De Sciglio and one established CF to back-up Higuain. Adding in Kean or Clemenza would be amazing as an experiment but in reality is fanciful. Neither will make the first team. Our ambitions are too important…

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef May 12, 2017 at 11:13 am

            We have 126m coming from the cl alone poet. Price tags wont diminish our ambition. Relationship like shitty ones with psg will. However we have three trophies to grab. Why are we talking on transfer.All when its due.

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet May 12, 2017 at 11:31 am

            Price tags will continue to be of optimum interest to the club, they have to be, as we have no desire to curb the outstanding financial performance we have achieved over the last few years. We also will invest further in the area around the new stadium, which costs money. Higuain was proven quality with huge experience.

            If we needed a flying wide forward capable of playing through the middle we would be interested in Mbappe, but we do not. Unless we are to change a system which has worked superbly since coming into play. Why change what is working so well? No need. The squad needs tinkering, other than which we are close to winning every single competition with not one player about to finish his career. Even Barzagli looks likely to have another season at the top level in his legs and certainly his mind.

            Therefore we need only spend big on the areas where we can see room for improvement in 1st or 2nd choice. And we will be aiming for value for money as we always do.

          • Avatar
            E.Micallef May 12, 2017 at 4:04 pm

            I am too concentrated on the now poet. But since we are talking tolisso would be a perfect fit with bentacour in our MF I think we can persuade BM to loan douglas costa. If it was for me I would not splash out for anyone except those proven like Toni Kross and Verratti. A second striker i would bet on someone who is still young and except to be second to Higuain. Milans rb ok but will have to drop linc on that side. For Barzagli we already have Caldara coming in. I think we are set for many years to come. Now we are improving wages were it matters as well.

            As for a GK. That will be a sad moment.

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet May 13, 2017 at 7:29 am

            I am focus on the now, also EM! yet this trail above has all pondering transfers…

            I would be surprised to see Bentancur appear in our first team next season. My hope is that instead it is Mandragora who remains, to make up a four with Pjanic, Marchisio and Khedira.

            Not sure on Sturaro, I have always liked him as a central box to box midfielder, yet there is no space for him in that role. Neither is there any space for Rincon. I would prefer to loan Sturaro, but that will not be easy. Maybe he will continue to deputise for Mario in the LM role, yet I doubt that, for we will be seeking a replacement for the mangled Pjaca…Balde for example…still, having a more defensive option and changing to a narrower formation might keep Stefano at the club. I hope so…there is also the question of whether any players seek a new challenge if we were to win the CL. Players like Sami Khedira I mean…Perhaps even Bonucci. Who wish to try another league whilst they remain in splendid shape and looking towards the later years of their careers or simply wish to try a new culture after having won all there is to win at Juve. I very much hope we find ourselves in that situation!

    • Avatar
      BelgianJuventino May 12, 2017 at 7:10 am

      I also prefer few players of great quality, but isnt that what management is doing? That being said, Mbappe is far too green to spend 100mill on. He is 18 and had a good season in Ligue 1

  • Avatar
    Dar Black May 10, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Goals pay the rent, and Mario gets his share. Every team needs a Mandzukic. Fortunately we have one, the original!

  • Avatar
    Kieran Buckley May 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    As ever a great review and very fine words about our achievement so far.
    As Allegri said afterwards we have won nothing yet.
    We need to stay focused, calm and take it game by game.
    We definitely have a major chance against Real.
    They will be favourites but that suits us.
    Still thinking about how well Higuain and Dybala play off each other with Dani Alves providing fantastic movement down the right.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet May 11, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Brilliant feedback, Mr Buckley! And indeed, we have to recover and refocus, for nothing is won, as wretched as that seems given the achievement and performances thus far. Onwards and upwards, beginning in the capital this weekend. We lose that, and life becomes suddenly less jolly…

  • Avatar
    Storm May 11, 2017 at 8:30 am

    It think among some players (and former) from other Serie A sides, there must be a secret society. The aim must be to win the prestigious award of making the most stupid accusation against Juventus seem plausible.

    I really didn’t think we had to listen to this anymore, but some people will go as low as they can, dig as deep as they can to find anything to cover up for their own faults or shortcomings.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black May 11, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Same everywhere Storm. You should read the ignorant uneducated crap that is written on UK forums about Juventus. It’s sad, but just have to ignore it.

      • Avatar
        E.Micallef May 11, 2017 at 7:15 pm

        Well said Mr Black.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet May 12, 2017 at 12:55 am

      Glik is a prize prick, a troll goon with the brain of an adolescent gibbon. He is probably still blaming Saddam for killing Mandela…hohoho!

    • Avatar
      BelgianJuventino May 12, 2017 at 7:08 am

      Meh, petty comments from spiteful losers should not be given attention to by the media and even less so by Juventini.

      Let them wail and cry, we only get better and continue winning

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet May 13, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Neither particularly positive nor bothered by the Benatia move. It is a very good price for a highly experienced defender accustomed to our league and now the squad and club culture. I just hope it doesn’t curtail the development of Rugani.

    With Barzagli surely to play less next year it is pleasing to ponder Rugani as Chiellini’s back-up and Benatia as Bonucci’s reserve.

    17m is cheap and whilst he has been far from wretched, close to impressive on occasion, we perhaps will not see the best out of him unless he is given an extended run of consistent games. I trust in Allegri, so…welcome Mehdi.