Friday April 5 2019
Juve use Milan as Ajax prep

Milan provide a great opportunity for Juventus to have a dress rehearsal for Ajax and the Champions League, explains Vilizar Yakimov.

It was supposed to be one of the games of the season. One of those big nervy matches towards the end of the campaign that could’ve seen Juventus lose points and allow Napoli to end the black and white hegemony.

However, with the ridiculous 18 (!) points separating the Old Lady from the Partenopei with just eight games to go, all this seems like science-fiction and means that Juve’s clash against Milan is everything but decisive for the Scudetto race.

Despite that, the Milan game still has a significant meaning for the Bianconeri beyond the usual pride and dignity cliche that accompanies this encounter. Massimiliano Allegri’s men travel to Amsterdam on Wednesday for a nostalgic first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Ajax and the tactician knows that his team cannot afford another lacklustre performance after the 2-0 defeat against Atletico in Madrid in February.

The clubhierarchy should be well aware of the need to reduce the gap between Juventus’ good and bad games, as such mistakes usually prove to be fatal in Europe and damage their status in Champions League betting.

However, this has become something of a trend for the Bianconeri in recent years, as we all remember the heavy 3-0 defeat against Real Madrid in Turin that eventually saw Allegri & co. crashing out of the Champions League. Juventus almost did the impossible and were eliminated only after Michael Oliver’s controversial penalty decision, but the truth is that Allegri’s men were terrible in that first leg, just like they were against Atletico Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival gave the Bianconeri that extra quality, which allowed them to score three past Atleti’s watertight defence and eventually qualify, but even the Portuguese Ballon d’Or winner cannot guarantee such a comeback every time. Therefore, Allegri should use the Milan game to prepare his players mentally, because Ajax’s bravery and aggression can hurt any team at the moment.

Erik ten Hag’s young guns are full of confidence after eliminating Real Madrid and they know that they can hurt Juventus. Especially if the Bianconeri do not have the right mindset for the tough game that awaits them at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

Leonardo Bonucci’s controversial comments on the Moise Kean situation after the Cagliari game, the long list of injuries, as well as the lack of any competition for the Scudetto are all factors that could impact Juve’s performance on Wednesday. That’s why it is vital for Juventus to approach the Milan game with maximum focus, knowing that it could prove to be crucial for the outcome of the game against Ajax a few days later.

The racial abuse that Blaise Matuidi and Kean suffered at the Sardegna Arena, as well as Bonucci’s remarks afterwards, mean that Juventus must show unity against Il Diavolo. On the other hand, the injury situation requires Allegri to be smart in his starting XI selection, as the tactician should find the right balance between resting some players and giving precious minutes to those who haven’t played much lately.

This is going to be far from easy considering that Mad Max needs to avoid any further injury risks and should also respect the quality of the opposition, as the Rossoneri have plenty to play for and despite their own injury issues are still a dangerous side.

In fact, Allegri is probably hoping that Milan’s ambitions for a top four finish would force Gennaro Gattuso’s men to be aggressive and try to press from the start. This is how Ajax play at home and if the Rossoneri try to do that, it would be the perfect preparation for the Bianconeri.

While this would undoubtedly be hard to perform in Turin, it might be Milan’s best choice for success in the game and it might prove to be exactly what Juventus need. It is no secret that the Bianconeri tend to struggle against physical sides that press high up the pitch, as their defeats against Atleti and Genoa showcased that.

“We’re going to need possession to do well in the Champions League and we showed that against Manchester United and Atletico Madrid”. Those were Miralem Pjanic’s words shortly after the Cagliari game and they fully explain why Juve struggle against sides like Genoa or Atletico - they can’t keep enough possession in most cases.

Ajax are far less physical than both Atleti and Il Grifone, which gives the Old Lady a huge advantage, but the Dutch outfit arguably possess more speed and technical quality than the Spaniards and Genoa. On the other hand, Milan have a bit of everything, so if Gattuso adopts such an approach, the main goal for Juventus on a technical level should be to keep possession.

Despite their comfortable lead at the top of the Serie A table, the situation in the Bianconeri camp is far from perfect. Beyond the technical and tactical aspects that Juventus need to prepare for Ajax during the Milan game, Allegri should also pay special attention to the mental and psychological aspect of the game.

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Have your say...
@ Maldini's Heir

Sure, if this Juve is incredibly average side then Milan is nothing but a bunch of TRASH. lol
on the 12th April, 2019 at 5:39am
you don't just start again every time something doesn't go your way. Small tweaks here and there. A key signing that brings actual quality. To my mind Milan need one player this summer. A pacey left winger that can take them to the next level. Whatever our budget is we should spend it on that one player. 10m or 100m it doesn't matter. The key is to address an actual weakness rather than constantly starting from scratch.
on the 10th April, 2019 at 12:45am
Champions League. It's not that we haven't competed with the top teams, it's we've struggled against the bottom. One thing that football fans (and people generally) don't like to admit is the role luck plays in life. A break here or a break there and suddenly we get a very different outcome. If certain incidents had turned out differently in the past 4 games Milan could've been pushing for 2nd. That's not say over the course of a season or 8 seasons quality doesn't win out. But the point is you
on the 10th April, 2019 at 12:41am
degrees, tiny differences which make all of the difference. Mourinho takes Chelsea from 10th to 1st and then gives them an extended pre-season and the team collapsed the next season. What changed? Is Mourinho a world class super-star manager or mediocre? Were the players? Which is it? Why can Milan compete with Juve one week and draw with Frosinone the next? In fact over the years if Milan had not lost to the likes of Frosinone, Verona and Benevento they would've actually qualified for the
on the 10th April, 2019 at 12:39am
same squad. What's your assessment of those players? Super-world class, world class super-stars, mediocre? The only question we should be asking ourselves is what happened to the player that played for Monaco in 2017? Why his he not playing at the same level? If that's the level he's capable of (or higher) then what are we doing wrong that he's not playing at that level now? Gattuso is in fact doing a reasonable job which is why he's playing at a higher level than at Chelsea. It's all about
on the 10th April, 2019 at 12:35am
the side needs to be left to grow. That is exactly what Juve did to get to where they did. They didn't sign Ronaldo from the get-go. The side that won the first title had Matri, Vučinić, Quagliarella and Borriello up front. The reason they went from 7th the season before to an unbeaten 1st one year later was because of Conte. It's the manager that makes all of the difference. We've seen this countless times. Chelsea went from 1st to 10th to 1st to 5th in just four season with pretty much the
on the 10th April, 2019 at 12:32am
@ Jeremy It's comments like yours which are the reason I go to such pains to point out how average this Juve side really is. Look at you cower at the mightiness of Juve. How can other teams possibly compete? Other than the fact that Milan did actually compete with Juve and probably should've won the game with a bit of extra luck. We need to stop this. Bakayoko is a perfectly acceptable midfielder. Rather than constantly looking to improve the side with this world class player or that superstar,
on the 10th April, 2019 at 12:29am
@ Ravenlli if I’m bitter it’s not about Juve but the state of Italian football. And how is it good for the other teams if Juve (and Milan) monopolise all of the supporters? My concern is first and foremost about the state of Italian football. Milan happen to reflect a lot of what has gone wrong at other clubs. Juve are the model that other clubs should follow. Unless you think everything is perfect I’m sure you agree.
on the 9th April, 2019 at 11:54pm
If bakayoko is one of the best it answers the question of how Juve have dominated year after year and the reason they are about to win the quickest league title ever Serie A is a wash of average players made out to be alot lot more than they actually are!
on the 9th April, 2019 at 10:41pm
"I do find it odd and not particularly helpful to the rest of Italian football that so many people with no connection to the city support the club."

That's just ignorant. Football clubs are global brands. If anything, it helps Italian football to grow.

I hope you realize how ridiculous you sound sometimes.
on the 9th April, 2019 at 3:23pm
"Torino are the true Turin club"

Did they represent different social classes back in the day? Maybe. But Torino was born out of Juventus. So your statement is baseless from the get go. Had Torino been the more successful club, things would reverse.

And to be honest, it only makes you sound bitter. "Juve are not the real Turin club", "incredibly average side", "this is not the greatest side in history".

You can say you're not jealous or bitter, but you're clearly showing it.
on the 9th April, 2019 at 3:19pm
@Viktor actually I know quite a bit.
Rodrigez suffers with every move on or off the ball, he's being run over by wingers and on crosses, + he's offers 0 in attack.
Bakayoku is 1 of the best? at what exactly? Being clumsy? giving the ball away? Making a mess of every simple pass he attempts?
Suso is not a bad player, but he needs to mix it up a bit. He's not exactly a winger and maybe needs freedom to roam and go behind strikers sometimes to make up for his lack of pace and lack of a right foot
on the 9th April, 2019 at 4:32am
Serie B. I do find it odd and not particularly helpful to the rest of Italian football that so many people with no connection to the city support the club. In fact Torino are the true Turin club. But my main point is not to criticise Juve but to criticise the other teams who have allowed Juve's dominance. All Juve can do is beat what's in front of them. And they have. Over and over and over and over......sorry I fell asleep mid-sentence...over and over and (how many is that?)...whatever...
on the 9th April, 2019 at 12:51am
@ Ravanelli I'm sorry there's no jealousy here. I support one of the most successful club sides on the planet who happen to be from the city I was born and who my father supported. We don't get to choose where and when we're born or to whom so I see that as a lucky coincidence. Currently my Milan side are going through a bit of a decline and in many respects it will just mean I'll get to appreciate the success more when we're back on top. I'm sure Juve fans appreciate that having experienced
on the 9th April, 2019 at 12:48am
"It must be so exciting being a Juve fan particularly one that probably has no connection to the city of Turin and probably banked on supporting Italy’s most successful side. It’s all very exciting I’m sure."

I wish I had a device that measures someone's jealousy and saltiness.

Do we need to be born and bred in Turin now so we can support Juve?

What a ridiculous notion.

This is coming from a Milan fan nonetheless, a massive club with many glories. If you were a SPAL or even a Genoa supporter then I might understand a bit. But if this was the late 80's/early 90's then the same thing can be said about Milan.

And that oh so boring question that I've been hearing for years in these blogs "is this the greatest side ever?"
No, it is not. Put your mind at ease. Nobody claimed it is, nobody even cares.

Play a different tune man, you're starting to sound utterly pathetic.
on the 8th April, 2019 at 2:25pm
players for a decade and building slowly. It would also of course help if the other teams didn't keep selling players to Juve. Personally I don't see why other teams don't simply boycott any sales to or from Juve. Certainly Milan have not benefitted much from the last two mega-signings from Juve. At least as a mIlan fan things are interesting. We're in a neck-in-neck for the top 4. Your season ended in March. Enjoying boring 8th. Don't go too wild.
on the 8th April, 2019 at 11:10am
@ Giancarlo C's Mom And I'm saying they're not. Their success has directly coincided with the fall from grace of the national team and Italian sides in Europe. The fact is they owe their domestic success to other teams failings. Now I don't actually think that's necessarily a depressing thing for other teams. It just means that the bar is not actually has high as everyone makes out. All the other teams need to do is follow Juve's masterplan. And that masterplan basically involves keeping a core
on the 8th April, 2019 at 11:07am


"Rodrigez is a massive liability ??
-- Bakayuko should find another sport- Wow really, one of the best in the league tbh
-- Suso is predictable, slow and offers nthng in defence - Been bad now but carried us throughout the season.

You seem to know very little about our squad.
on the 8th April, 2019 at 8:50am
@ Maldini's Heir

I didn't say this Juve is the greatest Juve side of all time. I said they are one of the best Juve teams (of all time). Is it so hard to understand? or maybe you're trying to twist my words for your benefit. LOL
on the 8th April, 2019 at 6:59am
I'm not sure what ur expecting from them.
-- Kean should sue every fan who abused him individually, pretty sure he can afford a good lawyer or 2, and has very solid grounds, club and league should be behind him, fans & players are humans after all, what applies outside the stadium applies within it. Set a precedence and make every idiot in the stands think twice before committing racial abuse for whatever reason or excuse a moron like Bonnuci would give them. Should've kept his mouth shut.
on the 8th April, 2019 at 4:58am
-- Gatuso maybe a motivator but not a tactician
-- Rodrigez is a massive liability
-- Bakayuko should find another sport
-- Suso is predictable, slow and offers nthng in defense
-- Maldini's Heir STFU, I'm tired of reading ur nonesense
-- GC's Mom we all know ur an EPL troll
-- considering the short time they had to work with, this mgmt has brought in Higuain, Caldara, Piatek and Paqueta, and overturned a UEFA ban. I'm not sure any of us would've even dreamed of any of the above last June.
on the 8th April, 2019 at 4:45am
Also, stop talking about juve alllllll the time allllll the time. Jeez you sure some of tou dont secretly support juve. If juve is so much garbage then just leave them alone lol. Juve not doing anything to any of you. Yet its yap yap yap complain complain complain about the same crap over and over. Now its 8 yrs in a row. Not 1 or 2 or 3 yrs 8 buddy!!! 8!!!! Get a life ppl, another hobby or something i dont know. This behavior cant be healthy for you deluded sad weirdos hahahaha
on the 8th April, 2019 at 12:12am
@maldini hahahaha your sadness is the only thing that shows around here buddy hahahaha. Nobody ever said this was the best juve side ever. Infact, who even cares about that lol get away from here with your sad salty comments. Milan is lame that is all you need ro know and be concerned with. Lame for the past 8 years and prob 8 more years of lame to come . Carry on with your irrelevant essays now lol what a sore loser lol
on the 8th April, 2019 at 12:05am
And Giancarlo I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the greatest Serie A side of all time achieved its success in a decade where the national side failed to qualify for a World Cup and failed to get out of its group stage the other two. Those previous World Cup winners would never have made this greatest ever Juve side. Also it’s another coincidence that no Serie A team has won a European title in this period including this greatest ever Juve side. Enjoy your 8th title in a row.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 11:47pm
for allowing this dominance. Look at this weekend. All of the would be challengers fell over again in their attempt to even finish in the top 4. It’s just sad. I’m sorry if I’ve ruined what I’m sure will be your massive celebrations. It must be so exciting being a Juve fan particularly one that probably has no connection to the city of Turin and probably banked on supporting Italy’s most successful side. It’s all very exciting I’m sure.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 10:07pm
Giancarlo are you saying this is the greatest Juve side of all time? Scratch is this the greatest side Serie A has ever seen? It has to be. It’s the most successful. So it’s the greatest, right? My issue is that this side that is set to win its 8th Serie A title in a row is, in my opinion, not the greatest Serie A side of all time. In fact I’m struggling to think of any player who would make an all time 11. If that is the case then it is the fault of the other teams (not Juve) for being
on the 7th April, 2019 at 10:04pm
Milan should have gotten something out of this game. I think a draw would have been a fair result. The penalty non-call is now a travesty given what I've just seen in the Lazio-Sassuolo game. Same exact situation EXCEPT that in the Lazio game the ball comes off of Locatteli's thigh before it hits his arm. The ball is not even going toward where it was intended to go before it hits his arm. In the Milan game the ball is in clean flight towards its target. Absolute garbage.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 6:37pm
VIP- the exact response I was talking about. Immediately scream racism at a Player who has been misunderstood.
It wasn't because he is black that he shouldn't have stood there it's because all it did was intensify the abuse. The racist supporters wanted a reaction like that to make the abuse even worse. He should have walked off- that would have been the loudest response because they would have stopped the game and then officials world wide will see this has to stop!
on the 7th April, 2019 at 6:18pm
@ viktor To earn respect you must show respect. Tell this to Maldini's Heir.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 5:43pm
@Giancarlo C's Mom

They are simple trash? We could have easily won 3/4 games. Meaning we would be sitting extremely comfortable third.

We are still 4th. At least show some respect if you´re a Serie A fan, calling them out as trash is simple incorrect.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 3:02pm

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