Match Review Serie A

Juventus 4-1 Sampdoria Match Report

October 27, 2016 - 11:16 am

Little time for an in depth report as many elements are hounding me for attention, one of them holding a pigs ear between his fangs and dropping it by my feet, goading me to try pick it up then launching into the maul and maim routine…a ‘game’ which I know too well to embrace with anything but extreme caution.

I had expected a reaction to the loss at the weekend, though given the return from injury of several players I was well aware that to dream of a 5 star performance of fluidity and cohesion would be child’s play. And so it proved.

We started the game in a welcome frenzy, found ourselves 2 goals to the good with less than ten minutes on the clock. Both of which were simple, easy headers mainly rooted in appalling defending, though the cross from Cuadrado was decent enough. As was the corner from Pjanic. We continued to dominate, even played some nice football, but then began to sink back into our collective shell.

Half chances came and went, almost solely for us, and the early ascendency of possession petered out into a more balanced affair as half time approached. With a 2 goal buffer it made sense to conserve energy and simply be patient and wait for more chances to appear as they surely would.

The beginning of the second half felt and looked like a training match. With both sides barely registering a flicker of life. Yet a wretched pass from the returning Kaiser Chiellini set in motion a move which ended with a quality finish from Schick for 2-1. It was possibly deserved, as we had sat back so comfortably that our play could be accurately described as sedate.

With some effort we managed to move once again out of neutral, and soon found the goal to place the deficit at 3-1 in our favour, with Pjanic firing in after concerted pressure and yet more woeful defending from the visitors. The wind was again sucked from the Samp sails…And it came as no major surprise to see us add a fourth late on, with the Samp rearguard action static as Chiellini bustled in to head in his second of the game.

Reasons to be bothered

Yet to find his feet in the Juve side...

Yet to find his feet in the Juve side…

Pjanic continues to prove a useful ghost of the player he was in Rome. He has not found his rhythm in our colours, yet his quality is so high, that even when in haphazard form, he still chips in with a few beautiful passes and the odd goal every game or three. Integrating the Bosnian must be high on the list of issues to ponder for Allegri, for he is capable of so much more than we have yet witnessed.

It came as no surprise to see us defensively at our weakest down our right flank. With Cuadrado doing his usual Valuable then Hopeless routine, and Alves reminding us of his lack of defensive prowess on several occasions. None of which really mattered, but we were playing a shambles of a Sampdoria side lacking confidence – after conceding two early goals – as well as quality in many key areas on the field. Playing two offensive players on the right is overkill, and Alves finds himself hesitating between bombing forward and staying back to cover…more often than not, seeking to spread the play to the opposite flank when finding dear Juan running into the terraces…

…Connected to this is my continued irritation at the absence of a pillar of our five scudetti, a player with immense zeal, lively physicality and superb defensive nous. I can only hope that we were saving Stephan for the Napoli game, for given the offensive ability of the midfielders of Sarri’s tribe, we will certainly need a very focused and resolute rearguard for the weekend. Which is found with the BBC, whichever of Evra (who seems injured) or Sandro and not Dani Alves, but Stephan. It is not out of respect for what he has achieved that I rage over his exclusion, it is that I find him still a superior and more reliable option to Alves.

Again we relied on the wings for creativity. With perhaps more than of late created through the middle, but time and again we saw the ball moved left then right then left then right, predictably, and it was our quality, not our form and team work which led to the resounding victory on paper. When was the last time we scored a wonderfully crafted team goal?

Reasons to be cheerful

Hilarious Clinton is not yet inaugurated, and so nuclear apocalypse is not yet upon us.

Claudio has returned! This is a major positive, and he performed well on his re-entry into first team action after recovering from his ACL injury suffered in April. It will take time to find anywhere near his best, but the early signs were very promising indeed. Il principino was constantly involved, and a massive step up on Hernanes and Lemina, for his passing, movement, covering and all round footballing intelligence is vastly superior to those imposters in the DM role. Benvenuto a casa, Claudio! You have been mightily missed. The side seemed the most balanced for many moons in the middle of the park. Which bodes well for the coming months, if we can keep mainly Marchisio fit and fully recover the others presently on the cusp of a return or still in the sick bay.

Higuain remains in splendid form. He was unlucky not to score and suffered several mistakes by the officials which could have seen him through on goal. His work rate, distribution and hunger are world class, whether he scores or not. He has already proven himself a team player of the highest order.

Kaiser Chiellini has hit the ground running, scoring twice, setting up the opposition for one and offering a typically swashbuckling performance. We are much stronger to have him, Claudio, Asamoah and Rugani back in the ranks. Regardless of our form, simply their presence, experience and talent will be more than enough to win most games we play until we can forge an identity beyond simply being stronger than our opponents and winning through attrition and moments of individual brilliance.

Whilst it must be repeated that Samp were wretched, we did mange to get more bodies in the box, which has been absent of late. This makes a huge difference to every forage forward, with Khedira looking more spritely in turn.

In conclusion…

We have recovered perhaps the key to any serious hope of glory in Marchisio. We have recovered our most gladiatorial defender in Chiellini. Asamoah and Rugani are back. Sturaro is picking up fitness. We have weathered the storm brought about mainly by consistent injuries, and not allowed the results to match our inability to control games from start to finish.

With Giorgio back in the squad, we can once more deploy what I consider the strongest rear-guard on the planet, which makes us exceptionally hard to beat. The middle of the park will undoubtedly improve with Claudio back in the mix, and yet, Allegri will likely come to the conclusion that we will not see the best of Pjanic in a 3-5-2. He will not change the formation or system until we have a healthy lead at the top and/or everyone is fit. Which is sensible. Why would he risk poor results, which often come with a major change, before there is a safety net of sorts? He cannot allow himself to care as much as we do as fans, if we play horribly or abjectly and yet still win 4-1. His job is the results business. And on that measure, he is doing sterling work.

Two huge tests are fast closing in on the horizon. Are we ready for Napoli? Not in the slightest, yet it matters little if we do not win, for we will remain at worst 2nd even with a loss. I am more concerned with the Lyon tie, for without Dybala, we rely presently more on quite predictable attacking moves than flair and creativity through the middle. Which is required on the continental stage to prosper.

We have yet to perform anywhere near our potential, and this can only be realised when Allegri has anywhere close to a full complement of a settled squad to deploy. Begrudgingly. I will concede that our results have been warranted, and given we have been pretty much winning close to all our games, I retain hope that everything will come together later this season when it matters most.

forza juve


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  • Avatar
    lakerguy October 27, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Great article. but didn’t we actually play a 4-3-3 last game ?! that’s what everyone and every site said. And I liked what I saw, truth be told it was probably the best I’ve seen us play all season. If we play this formation and keep up the off the ball movement we had for the first 20 minutes, which saw us score 2 and nearly score about 4, then it would take a lot more than Napoli, Lyone or injuries to worry me.

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet October 27, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      I am unsure what you mean by everyone every site…I rarely peek at any football sites other than the vecchiasignora, Guardian or whoscored. Enough to keep me busy here! And no, there was not a set 4-3-3, it was as we play 9.9 times out of 10, which is on paper a 3-5-2 and through the transitions of a games recognizable as 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 3-4-2-1, even 3-3-4 (when both Sandro and Cuadrado are int he final third. But not by my reckoning did we line up as a clear 4-3-3. Marchisio played as the regista, with Pjanic on his left and Khedira more offensively on his right with two very obvious wingbacks/wingers.

      There was no noticeable difference in our formation, system or tactics.

      • Avatar
        Theo October 28, 2016 at 4:46 am

        To quickly add to the discussion, I saw it more of a hybrid b/n 352 and 442, with occasionally either Higuain or Mandzukic drifting wide. Bottom line is i’m quite happy with us playing in a way that it’s difficult for our opponents to place us as pinches on a white board. I feel we are getting close to a level of maturity when the team plays not in a system but with a strategy and certain approach to a game and the player are intelligent enough to know what place to occupy, when to sit back and when to push forward.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet October 28, 2016 at 5:25 am

          Didn’t seem any different to me that the same varied 3-5-2 we have been playing for a very long time. Only major difference this season has been Khedira is playing higher…We looked okay against Samp because they left our wingers alone and were poor all over the field. they looked like a team who had lost 3, drawn 2, won 1 in their last 6 and sit near the relegation zone. They are a team bang out of form despite winning their derby…Player for player we were stronger in every position, more confident, yet did not play particularly well as a team for we didn’t need to.

          Its an odd mindset of some to see the 3-5-2 as something which always resembles that shape on the field. It has been used for so long precisely because it allows transition to 3 or 4 in whichever part of the field needs bodies during each particular phase offensively and defensively. yes the 3 at the back looked a little different with Alves as one of them, yet he was hardly playing RM, as his heat-map confirms…which matches very close to exactly what we expect of a RCB who likes stepping out a little, but has a wingback to push higher up the flank in front of him

          • Avatar
            lakerguy October 28, 2016 at 7:13 am

            There’s no need to get all worked up I couldn’t realy careless if it was a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 if they play well, and I saw it on b/r, skysport said it was a 4-3-3 and so did football italia oh an djuve fc. No biggy it was actually a 3-5-2 😉 whatever. but I also disagree with you that we played horribly. We didn’t play well for 90 mins that’s very true but when you’re up 2-0 in 10 mins its rather easy to get lethargic. Bottom line is relegation team or not there was something to our play which I haven’t seen much of this year, maybe it was the way they played the 3-5-2 haha

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet October 28, 2016 at 7:49 am

            nothing ;worked up; i was simply debating the suggestion of a 4-3-3…nothing more, nothing less. And glad you enjoyed the game! If you can find satisfaction in that kind of performance you will surely be truly elated when we actually find a semblance of form, when all key players have had time to gel and get fit and even Pjaca has been given a decent roll of the dice, Pjanic more comfortable, the machine well oiled and moving through the gears…such is my hope!

          • Avatar
            lakerguy October 28, 2016 at 7:55 am

            yes, for sure man. I said, it was simply one of the better performances. So far this year that is not saying much. We keep winning but playing very ugly football imo. But finally there seemed to be some movement on and off the ball. No question, to me we are very far from what this team could be, but to see them play with some semblance of grinta for what I would call the second ( first being 10 v 11 in lyon) time is nice, I try to be optimistic. what would make me really happy is to see at least the same amount of grinta on Saturday as so far the grinta comes along about every 3/4 games and also when it does it does in fits and spurts exactly like last wed.

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet October 28, 2016 at 8:54 am

            Chuck in Barzagli instead of Alves as the RCB, Lichsteiner as the RWB, add in a much more sharp Marchisio and a back to full fitness Dybala instead of Mandzukic with a more settled Pjanic and Sandro on the left…and we have what seems our finest starting XI.

            Its the fits and spurts which bother me most. Which is something aside from Allegri attempting to condition the squad to peak in Feb/March. With a two goal lead we gradually deflated, and came slightly back to life 30-40 minutes later!

            The Lyon match was good. Yet I felt we were improved by the absence of Lemina. We upped our game and were forced to get the ball to our offensive players without the labouring Gabonese. As with Pjanic, I do not feel our system suits him, and Allegri will only change if results succumb to a major consistent downturn or when everyone is fit and some momentum has been achieved. Plenty to ponder, but our position remains substantial and the other teams have less potential to improve, I believe, than ourselves. Its reaching into and realising that potential which will decide whether we bumble through to a 6th straight scudetto, or make a serious stab for the treble…I am sure this squad is capable. Yet the issue you mention of grinta has been clear. The more players in the team who simply give their all for 90 minutes the better, which for me demands Chiellini, Lichsteiner, MArchisio, Higuain, Dybala, Sandro and probably Sturaro.

          • Avatar
            Papilaya(John)™★★★ October 28, 2016 at 8:59 am

            Tgp… How is your coaching intellect? I know its a strange question, but i have a cousin who is a quality player and he truly loves the game, and i wanna help best ways possible. And ive noticed that he struggles with shifting from attacking to defending. It has to be one or the other he struggles with both defending and attacking consistenly throughout the entire game. Does that make sense at all?

          • Avatar
            Dar Black October 28, 2016 at 12:36 pm

            But what position does he play?

          • Avatar
            Papilaya(John)™★★★ October 28, 2016 at 6:42 pm

            Hes a hybrid Cam/Cdm/ lazy ass box to box

          • Avatar
            lakerguy October 28, 2016 at 9:01 am

            Totally agree, I would even put sturaro in for khedira for a couple of games it looks like khedira could do with the time off.

  • Avatar
    Papilaya(John)™★★★ October 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    The first game of the season i miss and it had to be Principinos return -_-

  • Avatar
    Joker10 October 27, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Claudio is top!

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino October 27, 2016 at 9:37 pm


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    Norse Wolf October 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Juve needs to be as hungry as they were last season at this stage to win the sixth’ scudetto. Napoli will be very though if we continue to play like we have done this season.. Forza ragazzi, fino alla fine!

  • Avatar
    Dybala October 28, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Fantastic post.

  • Avatar
    Theo October 28, 2016 at 4:49 am

    Thanks for the overview, looking forward to the Napoli game. On a side note – there’s one thing i cannot explain to myself – why do we start games so brightly and play great football in the first 10-15 min and then faze out so uncharacteristically? Still early season or we are planning and saving fuel for February onward?
    As such i feel it’s crucial if we manage to score against Napoli in the first 15 min, hope i’m wrong…

    • Avatar
      Papilaya(John)™★★★ October 28, 2016 at 8:56 am

      My guess is they need to work less on an intense levwl of physical conditioning? They may be professionals, but still are humans. There are plenty of people who cant handle 30 hours of labor in a weeks time. My question is how much do these guys train? And how intense is the pyhsical conditioning training? I thi k the reason why Conte wasnt able to succeed on three fronts is because he pushed his players far past their limits and theu couldnt last all through out the season. And ive read thats just the way it is in italy. An over emphasis on pyhsical co ditioning training andtactics