Although the pre-season signs were hardly encouraging, Juventus produced a fine display on their opening day fixture when they hosted Sassuolo at the Allianz Stadium.
After surviving an early onslaught, the Bianconeri found the breakthrough thanks to a debut goal from Angel Di Maria. Dusan Vlahovic then won and converted a spot kick to double the lead before the halftime whistle.
After the break, the Serbian and the Argentine combined to make it 3-0 and put the match to bed early while ensuring three valuable points on Matchday One.
So here are our three takeaways from the Old Lady’s first victory of the season.
While the team looked confused and on the cusp of conceding an early goal, the first half’s cooling break was a gift from the football gods for Max Allegri. It allowed the manager to regather his troops and make a decisive tactical tweak.
Juventus had started the match with Di Maria supporting Vlahovic in a 4-4-1-1 formation, but after the brief break he changed into a 4-3-3 lineup while sending Juan Cuadrado to the left flank.
The more traditional setup allowed Di Maria to feature in his natural position as winger, while the Colombian caused havoc on the left lane which led to the opening goal.
While the detractors would argue that Allegri should have adopted this shape in the first place, let’s give credit where credit is due and applaud him for his swift and decisive manoeuvre.
Too Harsh on Alex?
During the past year or so, Alex Sandro has been the object of great chastising from Juventus supporters (us included). The Brazilian’s form has been in decline in the past few years, and the majority of fans and observers alike believe that the squad is in a dire need for a replacement.
However, he remains a regular starter in the team due to the absence of alternatives. But the good news for the Old Lady is that despite his regress, the man isn’t totally finished just yet, as proven by his performance on Monday.
The 31-year-old darted down the left flank from the get-go, proving to be a source of danger for the visitors, and then provided the assist for Di Maria’s opener.
Let’s hope more of this version in the coming weeks.
The Real Allianz is Back
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy, the Allianz Stadium had failed to recapture its magic despite re-opening its doors for the crowds once again.
But this has changed on Monday, as the long-awaited return of the Ultras groups breathed life into the stadium once more.
The ecstatic atmosphere of the ground is one of the most overlooked aspects in the club’s nine-year winning dynasty. The fact that the successful cycle started with the launching of the stadium is no coincidence.
So let’s hope that the revived enthusiasm in the stands inspires the club into another glorious run.