The fight for the top four took another positive step today (I didn’t think that I’d have to be writing that at this stage of the season), with victory over Genoa.
Andrea Pirlo lined up his side in a 4-4-2 formation. This was not a ‘morphing into something else’ 4-4-2, but a homage to the classic 90’s Alex Ferguson-esque 4-4-2, much like in the Napoli match, and it must be said, that the team has far more cohesion using this system.
Szczesney; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Chiellini, Danilo; Kulusevski, Rabiot, Bentancur, Chiesa, Ronaldo, Morata.
Juve started the game well, keeping possession, moving the ball at a high tempo and pressing Genoa into mistakes. The first goal came from some brilliant wing play from Cuadrado, who made his marker Rovella look like someone who will never play for a big club, with some fancy footwork, before playing the ball to Kulusevski, who opened up his body and curled the ball into the far corner. 1-0.
Rovella – the Italian Modric in style and looks, who joins Juve in just over 12 months time had a torrid game. Sloppy in possession and defensively naive, but I’ve seen enough of him in other matches to believe he can be a very good player. He just needs to hit the gym, maybe some protein shakes too.
The second goal. Chiesa is going to be one of the best in his position in the world by the time he’s 25/26. There. I said it. What he lacks in finesse, he makes up with determination, speed, unpredictability and belief in his ability. He did brilliantly to press the ball and win it on the half way line and break away from the Genoa defence. Ok, ok, I’ve seen faster moving sloths than the Genoa defenders, but still it was great work from Chiesa. Eventually he got his shot off which was pushed away by Perin into the path of Ronaldo, who decided to assist Morata by playing a pass off of the post into the Spaniards path. It was genius from the Portuguese forward. 2-0.
Just before half time, Scamacca turned De Ligt like a centre forward you’d expect to pay £40m for. Unfortunately for him, he then finished like a striker you wouldn’t swap a packet of pickled onion monster munch for.
Half time change: Sandro on for the booked Cuadrado.
Deaths, taxes and Juve conceding straight after half time. Scamacca out-muscled De Ligt at a corner and headed home. The Dutchman claimed he was fouled, however there was little contact and the Juve number 4 should have done better. 2-1.
Somehow, Genoa were back in the game, and former Juve old boy: “knee ligament free” Pjaca, found himself in the centre of the box near the penalty stop, with the simple job of finding the target. Somehow, he contrived to miss the chance- much to the relief of the Juventus defenders.
Juve were rattled. It’s a mentality thing.
Enter McKennie and Dybala for Morata and Kulusevski.
I happened to look away from the television for about ten seconds (why can’t she just make me a coffee? why does she need me to confirm I want one!!) and McKennie was through in on goal. Everyone including the commentators and McKennie himself thought he was offside, but he decided to smash the ball home anyway. VAR check: Genoa’s right back just playing him on. It was a goal out of nothing and calmed everyone’s nerves. 3-1.
The rest of the game was very comfortable for Juve, with Dybala showing a couple of nice touches and a great through ball to Sandro who couldn’t finish.
This really is a fight for fourth. It’s going to be really tight. This formation has worked twice in a row, with two important victories. We need to keep it simple and get ourselves over the line. Forza Juve.