Match Review Serie A

Juventus 3-0 Pescara Match Report

November 20, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Player Ratings

Neto – Untested, other than by one shot from range easily collected. N/A

Bonucci – We had to play him, and he gave a solid showing as always, and most importantly avoided injury. Huge praise indeed for Big Leo from Baresi recently which will have certainly given him a boost. Big boots to fill, but our finest man at the back is worth the commendation. 7

Evra – Kept things simple and tight. It is welcome to find he is capable in the back three. Produced a brilliant clearance off the line late on to preserve the clean sheet.  7.5

Rugani– Heartening to see him back, and other than the chance for Caprari, where Daniele did just enough to put him off, this was a resolute return to the ranks. Also got much higher up the field than I have seen him before, to largely zero value! 7

Lichsteiner – Such a shame to see him hauled off injured in the first half. Other than which, the Swiss Locomotive did not have enough time to get into his stride, though did nothing wrong. 6.5

Sandro – Produced a wonderful ball in the box for Higuain to head just wide, was a little haphazard defensively, yet generally continued his fine form of this campaign. 6.5

Hernanes – Finally, after a very long wait, the much maligned Brazillian got his (formerly) trademark drive from distance and it was a beauty! A constant presence in everything going forward, screened the defence, kept the ball moving swiftly; a mature and professional outing. He deserves far more praise than he receives from the juve faithful, for he has adjusted his game and proven by far our finest option in the Marchisio role throughout this campaign. 8

Khedira – I remain unconvinced on his advanced AMR role, but he scored a decent goal and returned the favour to Mandzukic for an assist. No complaints. 8

Asamoah – Rarely involved, but played a prominent role in the second goal with a fine cross from out wide. Given his injuries of late and lengthy lay off last season, it will take time to regain his rhythm. Great to have him back, at least till January when he will jet off with Lemina for the ACN. 6.5

Mandzukic – Scored a poachers finish and assisted another with a smart turn in the box. We are forced to deploy Higuain deeper in an unnatural role when Mario plays, but the unhappy marriage between the two is more than enough to still produce the goals needed against most opponents domestically. 7.5

Higuain – As mentioned above, Gonzalo loosely morphs into the Dybala role when the giant Croat is playing in his prima punta position. He is far from at his natural best there, yet still forges plenty of chances every game. Was unlucky with a decent header and moreso with a glorious snapshot with the keeper out of position, which struck the post. It just wouldn’t go in the net on the night. Worked damn hard in a role unsuited to his talents. 7

Cuadrado – Back to woeful, yet perhaps he is saving himself for a cameo in Spain? Gave the ball away criminally cheaply twice, and was largely anonymous going forward. 5

Sturaro – Injuries have hugely affected his sharpness, as was seen against Chievo and again against Pescara. However, he works extremely hard in both the defensive and offensive phases, and always seems to find himself in decent positions. Could and should of scored, yet I am content to simply see him back in the squad and getting game time. 6.5

Kean – I wouldn’t normally bother with any virtual ink but this was the long awaited five minute debut of a 16 year old who has staggering potential. Moisy had three moments. One of which, he was let down by poor control, another he earned a free kick, and finally he found the ball at his feet in the final third, and thrilled the home crowd with his feigned step overs and confident skill. So much more to come from the youngster! 7

14 of the squad had traveled overseas recently. Allegri was clearly thinking of Spain, keeping the likes of Marchisio, Benatia, Chiellini and Pjanic well away from first team action. Which made sense. And what transpired was a disjointed, yet unwaveringly dominant performance. I counted 11 decent chances to 3 for the visitors.

It is progression to find such total control of a game, so many chances created, with nowhere near the full squad available. Yes yes! We were facing a poor Pescara side, yet they played well, asked questions and whilst we rarely moved out of second gear, we gained another vital 3 points, recovered more injured players and lost no more to the sick ward.

Considering this was a makeshift side, there is little point delving deep into analysis. We got the job done, ran few risks and played, at times, some decent football.

The only conclusion I can add is that Higuain and Mandzukic are good enough to dominate Pescara, but are clearly not a match made in heaven, for they rarely play in tandem or dove tail. Several occasions showed their complete lack of togetherness. Gonzalo is at his best on the shoulder of the last defender, as is Mandzukic. Only one can operate there when they both play, and the Argentine is the technically superior and vastly more mobile, and so is asked to forage deep, sacrifice himself for the team. Regardless of this change to his game, Higuain still appeared exceptionally dangerous. Nonetheless, we need Dybala to return, or Pjaca, as soon as possible, for better teams will nullify the threat far more comfortably than Pescara.

A decent performance. 3 points closer to our historic 6th straight scudetto. A job well done, without breaking sweat or femurs.

forza juve

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  • Avatar
    Rocke Linez November 20, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Ciao signore Poet, been a long time since your last post. I hope everything is well for you out there, coz it’s rather unusual reading a short entry with you as the author. 😀

    On to the ratings.

    I think Cuadrado deserves at least a solid 6, for his presence alone made the Pescaras left flank busy, which in turn made Rugani has a room to charge forward, which is something he rarely does. Other than that I pretty much agree with all the ratings, nothing more to add.

    Looking forward for your next entry signore, grazie for the nice read.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet November 21, 2016 at 8:55 am

      Greetings comrade! Ahh…I took a break with the internationals, and indeed the piece was short, mainly due to a mangled neck from the recent football tournament I played in on Saturday, wretched sun burn and a horrid heat wave that has now swollen then burst into a storm which has passed, leaving the air cool and fresh and my hound and I far more comfortable.

      It is almost a certainty that Allegri was aiming to have Juan fresh for Seville, likely as a sub, or at least I hope as a sub! And so he was likely told to just take it easy. Two mistakes he made in dangerous positions, would have led to goals for a better side I suspect. Hence my bother.

      I’ll get back to my lengthier best in due course mate and wish you well in all that matters most in your realm.

  • Avatar
    Dar Black November 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    An awful lot of empty seats there….

  • Avatar
    Papilaya(John)™★★★ November 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I hope you all follow alves and evra on insta. They both just posted singing videos. It has begun xD

  • Avatar
    RAC November 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Evra could have just extended his career by a season or two through allegri’s use of him in a back three. I always love the result of evra and sandro playing together. Cuadrado was poor yesterday, but i think that had it been alves in his place, he would not have played the ball in for khedira to create his goal with mandzukic. Great read as always. One point where i think we disagree is the effectiveness of mandzukic. I have liked him far better than higuain when they play together. And i liked his partnership with dybala last season better as well. I guess we are holding out for the promise of what higuain/dybala COULD be, but for now mandzukic still feels like the better fit. I am very happy for hernanes and hope he doesn’t injure himself come next backflip.

    • Avatar
      Dar Black November 20, 2016 at 6:34 pm

      On reflection Hernanes may well have saved our season from complete collapse. He deserves more respect for sure.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet November 20, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Hola RAC!

      The major reason why Mandzukic could look more comfortable is that he is the one playing in his natural role, as a prima punta. It is Higuain who is asked to play a role other than his natural prima punta routine to accommodate Mandzukic. I think Mario has been doing okay, yet he is nowhere near our strongest CF. I would choose Gonzalo over him 10 times out of 10. However, we have no other strikers fit, both Pjaca and Dybala are out, and so Allegri has decided to use the strongest striking options we have. Hope they either manage to forge a relationship on the field or their individual quality is enough to win games. To ask Mandzukic to drop deep often to seek the ball then create and force the play is to far more a risky tactic than asking the same of Higuain.

      That is the reason for Higuain failing to continue his fine goal scoring run…yet even playing away from his best position, he still manages to carve out chances every game. He has played maybe one extra game than Mario but scored more than double, found far more decent chances and yet has been playing much deeper whenever the two are deployed together.

      • Avatar
        RAC November 21, 2016 at 12:07 am

        Agreed. Gonzalo Higuain is one of the best three 9’s in the world by my count, and has had to play deep to accomodate mandzukic. We have also given him service ranging from poor to nonexistent, overall. Maybe i still have to get used to him or adjust my expectations, but last season it seemed like dybala and mandzukic instantly clicked. Mandzukic hassled defenses, opened up spaces, and knocked down balls for dybala. Dybala is not a big guy, so we also conveniently had a very dangerous target for crosses and long balls in mandzukic.Even with all players available and in top form, do dybala and higuain work as well together? At times it feels like we are sacrificing dybala for higuain by playing him too deep, same as we’re doing with higuain right now! I’m just playing devil’s advocate, because we all know pipa’s worth two marios. It just isn’t that obvious in terms of play/output when paired with paulo on the pitch. Hopefully it is just a matter of the midfield picking itself up and handing the both of them reliable surface, but it does make me think sometimes..

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet November 21, 2016 at 12:13 am

          Interesting point in regards to Dybala playing deeper. Yet this is not just to accommodate Higuain, it is to balance the side with Khedira playing in a higher AMR position. He gets into the box hugely more often than the player in the CML role…

          I think Allegri had hoped Pjanic could play a Pirlo-esque role, which didn’t work so he changed it quickly. Now with so many injuries, it is impossible to work on his best system, so he has sought to condition, get results before performances, wait for the key players to return…for example, he said recently he expected Pjaca to be the Juve revelation of 2017. This is a player who has barely featured.

          With Marchisio back, Pjanic will have an easier task as greater quality will be next to him. We will also expand our offensive threat, as Claudio’s passing and shooting is superior to Hernanes, as is his intelligence. Add in a WItsel and Pjanic will find even more room.

          I think until we get Marchisio back to sharp, one of the front two will continue to drop deep. I am very keen on seeing Pjaca – Higuain – Dybala as a trident.,.

          • Avatar
            RAC November 21, 2016 at 12:27 am

            That trident is something we are all waiting for, and it could be just what gonzalo needs. It would seem you have chosen your preferred 11 then? 4-3-3 with pjanic as regista, flanked by marchisio and witsel? Let’s hope witsel gets to turin in january.

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet November 21, 2016 at 5:27 am

            The 3-5-2 is too solid and effective to dispense with totally, but yes, I would be excited by the prospect of combining Witsel, Pjanic, Marchisio, Higuain, Dybala and Pjaca.

            It is an odd period for us, as transition must happen yet to wrench ourselves free of the 3-5-2 is proving tough. Had we suffered fewer injuries I suspect we would already see a back four more often. It is unusual for a top side to be without any strikers but the two starting. If one of them is injured, Allegri will likely move to offer Cuadrado as a support striker, yet his shooting is more often than not atrocious, perhaps the weakest part of his game along with decision making. The only upshot of our current injury nightmare is that Kean made his debut, and may well get some more minutes before Dybala and Pjaca return…which can only be a good thing, and help to persuade him to sign that first professional contract with Juve. I doubt he will become a Juve legend, yet we may get some great value from him before he moves to the highest bidder at the advice of Raiola.

  • thegutterpoet
    thegutterpoet November 21, 2016 at 9:46 am

    A little off topic, but I just finished the report of my player manager effort at the corporate games over the weekend –

    We were undone solely by my need to give others a chance in the first game, sending the side into chaos. As luck would have it, two of the weakest players had to then depart, for one dislocated his shoulder and the other drove him to hospital. Thereafter I was able to choose the strongest 6, with Basher Johnson and myself swapping the CB role at half time.

    With a strong CB and a wide wingback, the CM was intelligent, defended when needed, attacked otherwise. We looked more like a lopsided 1-2-2-1 and it worked a damn treat.

    I played well enough given we conceded just once when I was in the CB role. However, in the final game I got involved in a series of running battles and resorted to the darker arts. With the free kicks coming thick and fast I subbed myself off to calm the storm!

    Strange how I felt so responsible, dejected even, after my decision to bring on the subs in the first game led to a 5-0 defeat. Yet I had to give them a chance. No chance I could have returned for the knockout stage on Sunday as my neck was mangled and I was hobbling like an old man. All in all it was a splendid day out in the Sun. I had forgotten how much competitive football can drag your spirits up and down!

    We lost the first 5-0, then won 9-0 and 5-2. Just that damn 2nd half of the opening game which let us down…