Club News

Opinion: Revitalized Juventus finally have their golden trio in midfield

March 20, 2023 - 8:00 am

What a strange season this one has been.

Juventus – who lost both of their league encounters against Monza – have managed to complete a memorable double over Inter out of all clubs. Filip Kostic’s strike was enough to settle the encounter in favor of the visitors who held firm at the back and harried their opponents on counter attacks.

Now surely the Nerazzurri still have the chance to avenge themselves soon enough when the two clubs collide in the Coppa Italia semi-finals, but thus far this season, the Old Lady has displayed her superiority over her arch-rivals on every occasion.

Despite some key absentees, Max Allegri’s side was composed, effective, and solid at the back, with a glimmer of creativity when required.

At the moment, it seems that the manager has found the winning recipe in the form of a 3-5-1-1 formation, but more importantly, the right personnel in the middle of the park.

While none of them is a bona fide superstar like Paul Pogba, the trio of Adrien Rabiot, Manuel Locatelli and Nicolò Fagioli have built a wonderful and well-organized midfield. The three players compliment one another while allowing the tactician to maintain the right balance between solidity, physical strength and creativity.

It’s no coincidence that Fagioli’s breakthrough in October sparked the positive streak before the World Cup break. For some reason, he never took the field during the humbling defeat at the Maradona, with Weston McKennie starting his his stead.

As for the January’s loss to Monza, it was Locatelli who had left his starting berth for Leandro Paredes in a tactical maneuver that spectacularly backfired.

Admittedly, Angel Di Maria remains the main talisman at Juventus, and his importance to the club remains unquestionable. Nonetheless, the team’s Achilles Heel in recent campaigns had always been the midfield, which is why Fagioli’s meteoric ascent and Locatelli’s massive improvement may just be the most crucial developments of this unusual campaign. Too bad Rabiot might not linger in Turin beyond the current campaign.

So while the three Juventus midfielders all put up fascinating displays against Inter – each in his own fashion – here are some other takeaways from a memorable Derby d’Italia victory:

  • Once again, Federico Gatti proved that he has what it takes to make it at the top level. Since we can’t afford to make any missteps, Allegri preferred to rely on his tried and trusted veteran defenders for the majority of the campaign, as the inexperienced Italian is ought to commit blunders every now and then. Yet, he hardly put a foot wrong against Romelu Lukaku and co.
  •  Matias Soulé is another player who made the most of his opportunity, although he couldn’t direct his shot goalward. The youngster lent a hand to the midfield and worked well in the hole.
  • If Federico Chiesa isn’t 100% fit, we must never risk him regardless of the stakes. Let’s hope his latest setback is only a slight one.
  • Dusan Vlahovic worked hard for the team while displaying glimpses of improvement. But will it be enough to preserve a starting berth following the return of Arek Milik?

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  • Avatar
    Uncle Petter March 20, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    You have to give it to Allegri as he certainly have racked up good results in the Serie A this season. With this form they could get more points than when they last won the Scudetto under Sarri with 83 points then. Allegri is playing a very pragmatic game scoring on counters and set pieces. Most goals from open play comes from crosses. More than often have Juve won with one goal scoring on their only chance or half chance. This on paper is not sustainable but Allegri have found a way to make so against the forces of nature. If this continues he will stay on as a coach. His romance for old players and players without tecnique is still there but he is slowly changing, mostly because he have to. My biggest concern is that our world class talented forwards will leave because its hard to improve as young forwards in such a system (Chiesa and Vlahovic). Not by randomness that Di Maria and Milik is our best attackers this year. Then there is the fact that in 2023 you cannot succed in Champions League playing like this. But some respect for Allegri. He also have to deal with the worst of conditions with the whole board gone and great uncertainty what is going to happen. Allegri is having to face all the sporting questions alone with no board to protect him.

  • Avatar
    Matthew gonsalves March 20, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    He doesn’t have to worry. His contract and the clubs situation financially makes him practically unsackable. He needs a true target man forward. Giroud in my mind would be the perfect forward for his team. Can we find someone like that? Possibly. Vlahovic will be off loaded in the summer. Best to capitalize on his value now before it starts to plummet by being here longer under allegri.

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    Uncle Petter March 21, 2023 at 8:29 am

    Agree, an old horse would do better than poor Vlahovic. You could get Giroud and Dzeko and alternate them as they each need a few weeks rest after every game. They do have Milik though and he have done well, but he also has a very poor injury record as we all knew before he was signed. If Vlahovic goes which I hope he won`t, even if I cant see it working with Allegri, I would like to see Scamacca. That being said Scamacca have had a torrid season under the Scottish Allegri D. Moyes and chances are he could also have a hard time playing for Allegri in Turin. Both Vlahovic and Scamacca played in some fluid systems with patterns of attacking play and need to learn how to became Allegri forwards.