Biraghi og 6 (J)
Serie A – Week 1 [30th August 2014] – Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi
After an excruciatingly long summer away from The Old Lady, Juventus and Massimiliano Allegri certainly did not fail to impress in Match Day 1 of the 14/15 season! From the first kick of the ball, Juve looked like a well-oiled machine with a staggering 72.4% of the possession after the first half-hour mark, something Allegri has been focusing on during preseason. Today was one of those days where it is almost impossible to find one piece of criticism about any of the players other than the lack of finishing in a game that was dominated and could have certainly ended in a greater scoreline.
While the final score wasn’t 3-0 or 4-0 like it could have been, it only took Juventus 6 minutes to score through a beautifully taken corner by Carlitos Tevez to find the flying head of Martin Caceres and eventually to be counted as a Francesco Bardi own-goal. With skepticism and the fear of Juve not being able to go into this season with the same amount of grit and desire to win as the previous three, Allegri made the message clear that the best things don’t come in 3’s, but in 4’s.
After bombarding Bardi throughout the match, the Bianconeri managed to strike the post once and the cross-bar twice, only adding to the misfortune of The Old Lady. Luckily, the one goal was to be enough due to excellent defending from Ogbonna, Bonucci and Caceres who were very solid today and only allowed a couple chances for the Flying Donkeys.
Every well-oiled machine needs its engine, and luckily for Juventus, there is more than one. On the flanks were the usual suspects of Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner who were running non-stop the entire match between making great defensive plays and precise crosses to the forwards, including Asamoah’s clean sliding challenge that stopped Chievo’s attack and Lichtsteiner’s beautiful cross late in the game to Llorente that could have made it 2-0.
While Juventus had no shortage of engines, they were forced to play the match without their figurative brain, Andrea Pirlo, who is injured and was replaced by “Il Principino,” Claudio Marchisio. The Turin-born boy looked great in the regista role as we’ve seen him take that position in Pirlo’s absence and due to his naturalness in that position, Juve do not suffer as much when the Maestro is missing.
Today, Juve looked like Juve and Pogba looked like Pogba. It wouldn’t be possible to describe what Pogba has added to The Old Lady since joining from Manchester United back in 2012, but with a more attacking role given to him by Allegri, Pogba was closer to goal and more involved in play in the final-third and he looked very hungry and determined to score another “Pogboom.” Next to fellow countryman, Kingsley Coman, Pogba looked quite comfortable going forward linking with Tevez and co.
After the inclusion of newly-signed Roberto Pereyra who came in for a fatigued Arturo Vidal, Juventus began to go into cruise control for the last few minutes of the game. Despite a great defensive performance, the back-line had let their guard down for a brief moment and allowed Maxi Lopez to get a shot on target which was brilliantly blocked away by legendary Gigi Buffon to deny Chievo of any chance of stealing 2 points from Juve.
It has been a long mercato, and after today it seems as though Giuseppe “San Beppe” Marotta has found another gem–and like some of his previous stellar-signings–Kingsley Coman is shaping out to be quite the player. At just 18 years old, Coman played like a veteran oozing with confidence and class. Between making excellent runs, key passes, mouthwatering dribbles and impressive shots on target, there is no doubt that “King” Coman certainly had a debut to remember, and one that Allegri will not forget as well. Although Allegri fielded a 3-5-2 with Tevez and Coman pairing in the attack, the Frenchman covered most of the attacking-half of the pitch making runs from the flank, through the middle and deeper to link with Marchisio, Pogba and Vidal. Unfortunately, Coman wouldn’t find the back of the net and was taken of in the 67th minute with a standing ovation from the fans for Fernando Llorente, who was recovering from the flu.
All in all, today was a great day for the Bianconeri. The mission of getting all 3 points and a clean sheet has been achieved and Allegri can earn more respect from the fans. Standing ovations, chants and songs from the traveling fans only point to the desire for more success in the 2014/15 season!
|Man of the Match:||Carlos Tevez||Corners||11||Total Shots:||21|
|Flop of the Match:||N/A||Pass Accuracy:||85%||Ball Possession:||74%|
|Fouls:||14||Shots on Target:||3||Formation:||3-5-1-1|
Chievo: Bardi; Frey, Dainelli, Cesar, Biraghi; Izco, Mangani (Radovanovic 46) (Cofie 69), Hetemaj; Schelotto (Paloschi 46), Birsa; Maxi Lopez
Juventus: Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Ogbonna; Lichtsteiner, Vidal (Pereyra 86), Marchisio, Pogba, Asamoah; Coman (Llorente 68); Tevez