Thursday, September 15, 2016

Juventus lackluster display was not all Allegri

Analyzing one of the best writeups by Adam Digby as to why Juventus failed to impress and claim maximum points versus Sevilla

Gonzalo Higuain Pjanic  Paolo Dybala Juventus

Juventus piss poor performance brought utter scrutiny from various football pundits as well as fans all over Europe. They have been touted as one of the favorites after spending so much to improve their squad in order to compete with Europe's best.

Most of the blames are directed at Max Allegri tactical choice of leaving Miralem Pjanic on the bench in such crucial encounter.

One of the most revered football writers wrote in his recent article, why the Juventus coach is to blame for the team's lackluster display.

Juventus are giants of Italy but must stop shrinking in Europe:

The only good thing we can take out of that game is the fact that Juventus had 16 shots

Despite the home side dominating for large portions of the match, it ended 0-0 on a frustrating evening for supporters of the Old Lady. Indeed, statistics show she enjoyed 55.7 per cent of possession and took 16 shots to Sevilla’s total of three over the 90 minutes.

That chance, had it been converted could have been a compensation for the utter poor display, but the German international surprisingly fluffed it. He is not a striker, but these kind of chances count especially in Europe. That was the closest we could get in the first half.

After getting the better of the early exchanges, some wonderful play from Leonardo Bonucci and Paulo Dybala released Sami Khedira, but the German—who has already scored twice this term—could only hit a tame effort at goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

That excellent piece of play deserved better, but it was a standout moment in a game that was largely dull overall, as both teams struggled to create many clear-cut scoring opportunities.

Allegri may have fallen victim of mind games. Jorge Sampaolo claimed in his Press conference that they are here to attack Juventus, which may have prompted to field more defensive players in order to contain them. But he was wrong, if he actually fell for that.

It was clearly part of Sevilla’s game plan, coach Jorge Sampaoli setting his team up to frustrate the Bianconeri. It worked, as Juve’s attacks were continually rebuffed by a well-drilled wall of yellow shirts.

And why he made that choice:

Allegri explained his decision, telling Mediaset Premium (h/t Football Italia ) that he felt “Asamoah gave us something more when defending." But that mindset clearly hurt the Bianconeri here.

However, perhaps the omission of Pjanic was the most baffling, the former AS Roma star having made an excellent debut in the victory over Sassuolo on Saturday. That performance was discussed in a previous post, but there is little doubt the team sorely missed his incisive passing and creativity against Sevilla.

What is Juventus lacking?

What Juventus need is to begin to play in the proactive, aggressive manner they so often do in Serie A in Europe.

Allegri made the wrong tactical choice, but the players are also to be blamed for not burying those chances. Real Madrid weren't exceptional that same night, but they converted their chances and fought to the end. That's why they win in Europe.

Kudos to Adam Digby (@Adz77) for this interesting and clever article.