Today Massimiliano Allegri set the team up in 3-5-2 with the ball and as usual, 4-4-2 without. We started quite well and immediately had two golden opportunities. Unfortunately, in the 3rd minute, out of a counter when Matthijs de Ligt won the ball in the middle of the park, Moise Kean decided not to cross to the free Federico Chiesa. In the 5th minute, Chiesa released the galloping Adrien Rabiot on the left who then teed it to Weston McKennie who frustratingly ballooned his shot well inside the box with no opponents around. Granted, it’s not that easy because the ball came off of an opponent but still, he should’ve been able to shoot it on goal. His deficiency in shooting was again magnified in the 8th minute when a counter started by Rabiot found his feet but again, he ballooned his shot from just outside of the box.
Ivan Juric countered Allegri with 3-4-2-1, attacked through the wings and after 15 minutes, they dominated possession. They pressed high with physical and aggressive plays and were successful. On the occasion we managed to get out of their high press, Kean couldn’t hold up the ball and kept losing it. Our poor touches didn’t help and we also missed Leonardo Bonucci’s long passes.
In the 2nd half, Allegri pulled Kean out and rotated a bit. Juan Cudrado was now the RWB and pushed the ineffective Federico Bernardeschi up front to accompany Chiesa. These changes madea huge difference. Bernardeschi could keep the ball up front and we could attack from the right with Cuadrado and as the result, we kept more possession and controlled the match better. It almost immediately paid dividends in the 53rd minute, when Cuadrado’s cross met Alex Sandro’s head but his header was too central and was beaten away by Torino’s goal keeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic.
With more ball possession, our wingbacks woke up. Cuadrado and Alex Sandro attacked the byline and cut inside. Protected by Rabiot who was positioned lower in the 2nd half, Alex Sandro was really impressive today. Defending, dribbling the opponents, providing width, attacking the penalty box, he did it all. On the other side, McKennie was pushed up front and took away a defender. He may not have the ability to pass or shoot well but his positioning and movement helped created spaces for the forwards.
Increasing the tempo in the last 30 minutes, we dominated and the tempo was even higher when captain Giorgio Chellini was positioned higher on the left flank after 75 minutes and Dejan Kulusevski entered in at the 80th minute in place of Bernardeschi. The flow of the attack improved with the Swede on the pitch and the goal finally came on the 86th minute. A combination of Alex Sandro and Chiesa on the left found the supporting Manuel Locatelli, who placed his shot on the far right. Milinkovic-Savic got a touch but Locatelli placed it so well it still went in off the post. Kulusevski, the impact sub along with Cuadrado, almost got a goal for himself in the 91st minute but his shot bounced off the post. It ended 1-0 and we finally have a cleansheet.
The second half was one of the best displays this season and hopefully we build on it. We now go into an international break with a win and a smile. Have a good week, Juventini!
Szczesny 6.5. Safe at the back. Made a safe on a Mandragora long shot but didn’t need to do much all game long.
Danilo 6. Beaten once but quite sturdy at the back. He’s in his element in a three-man defence.
De Ligt 6.5. Strong and fast enough, didn’t get bothered enough by the Torino’s offense who missed Andrea Belotti and Simone Zaza.
Chiellini 6.5. A strong wall as usual and got an easier job without Belotti or Zaza on the pitch. Pushed up the field in the last 15 minutes and made good contribution.
Bernardeschi 6. Missing in the first half playing a right winger but improved significantly in the second half after Allegri moved him upfront and centrally to support Chiesa. He managed to keep the ball and distribute where Kean couldn’t.
Kulusevski 6.5. Improve the team’s offence with his skill and passes once he came in in the 80th minute. Almost got a goal himself at the end of the game but it hit the post.
McKennie 5.5. Cannot shoot well and wasted two golden chances because of it. Got better in the second half with his positioning and movement but after his poor shooting effort in the first half, he didn’t dare to shoot in the last 45 minutes and passed up two chances. Juve need a better RCM to be able to play through the midfield again. The second worst player today after Kean.
Locatelli 7. The only midfielder with a good performance today. Shielding the defence and keeping the ball well and supporting the offence with his vertical passes. Missed a few shots earlier but finally found the net with a well-placed effort in the 86th minute.
Rabiot 6. Made a few good passes but made poor ones, too. He probably doesn’t have the necessary touch to play in the last third effectively. Got better in the second half when he was positioned lower to cover Alex Sandro.
Alex Sandro 7. He exploded with a variation of offensive skills in the second half. Defending, attacking, cutting inside, taking opponents. He originated the movement of Locatelli’s goal. My man of the match.
Kean 5. Made a few good thrusts, once at the start of the game and once at the end of the first half but overall, really poor. The worst player today. He couldn’t hold the ball up front and made the team suffer because of it. The team improved exponentially when he’s pulled out and Cuadrado was in.
Cuadrado 6.5. Probably our best right winger and he made sure we knew it today. Our right side became alive once he’s in and could have an assist had Milinkovic-Savic not made a heroic save on Alex Sandro’s header resulting from Cuadrado’s pin-point cross.
Chiesa 6.5. Played quite well with his passes and burst of pace. They opened up spaces and nobody at Juve has the same combination of capability. His assist to Locatelli brought home the three points needed.
Kaio Jorge 6. On at the 89th mark and showed he could hold up plays during the minutes given.