While this one wasn’t one bit pretty, it was mission accomplished for Juventus who avoided what would have been a disheartening slip in Cremona. The Bianconeri rode their luck at times, while Cremonese goalkeeper Matteo Carnesecchi seemed impeccable… at least for the first 90 minutes.
At the end of the day, an awkward yet decisive freekick from Arkadiusz Milik crept past the custodian much to the dismay of the stunned crowd at the Giovanni Zini Stadium who surely felt that their players deserved more for their courageous performance. But such is the law of football, and the giant prevails over the minnow more often than not.
So here are our three takeaways from Juve’s last-gasp victory over Cremonese in what was their maiden outing in 2023.
Missed Chance for the Young?
In what was a pleasant occurrence for the fans, Juventus started with three young players in Nicolo Fagioli, Fabio Miretti and Matias Soulé. However, it seemed that the team only hit second gear following their exits in the second half, and the introduction of regular starters likes Federico Chiesa, Adrien Rabiot and Leandro Paredes.
Although these youngsters had their moments – with Soulé proving to be our most dangerous player in the first half – we have to wonder if this underwhelming outing would harm their chances of featuring consistently in the upcoming matches.
Saturday’s encounter against Udinese could be revealing in this regard.
Since the start of the season, Max Allegri’s tactics have been hit and miss, and it was arguably more of the latter in Cremona. Luckily for the tactician, he can always rely on top quality players to come in from the bench and make the difference, but it has to be said that his starting formation was slightly puzzling.
In Miretti, Fagioli, McKennie and Locatelli, the manager started with four central midfielders who were at times stepping on each others’ toes while Milik was left isolated upfront. This abundance of midfielders was obviously needless against the technically-mediocre Cremonese, as it stagnated the play in the middle of the park.
Too Deep for Chiesa
Admittedly, we do have a crisis on the right flank with Juan Cuadrado, Mattia De Sciglio and Angel Di Maria all injured, which would naturally prompt some confusing selections, but let’s just hope that this would only be one of those rare instances where Federico Chiesa has to act as a wingback due to an emergency situation.
This position is just too deep for the Euro 2020 winner, preventing him form exhibiting his favorite hobby, storming into the box and causing havoc for opposition.
Will Fede be able to thrive as a second striker in Allegri’s current 3-5-2 formation? Only the pitch can reveal the answer, but as long as he isn’t acting as a wingback, we would certainly welcome the experiment.