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.

Have your say...
If Milan was a prep for Ajax then bring it on! Ajax are a young, skillful side high on confidence after eliminating Real, and in Dusan Tadic, they possess one of Europe's most inform players. Whilst for a more experienced Juve, the mouth-watering prospect of Kean and Ronaldo leading the attack has WOW factor written all over it. These two playing together has all the required class and form to win Juve to their third CL title.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 2:22pm
Hmm, if the referees would stop putting on a Juve jerzy under their official jersies....

Even the ones behind the scenes (VAR) could not spot the Juve captain kicking at opponents, TWICE?!!

That is would be the right context for the word PATHETIC!
on the 7th April, 2019 at 2:10pm
No player should have to tone down their celebration so that racists don't have their feelings hurt. Besides, when did playing football and celebrating a goal justify racist taunts? I don't think Bonucci is racist as much as he is stupid. I agree with Ravanelli that Bonucci should have shut his mouth. As a professional, if Bonucci had something to say he should have kept the discussion in the change room. His "50/50" comment to the media was shocking and irresponsible!
on the 7th April, 2019 at 1:51pm
..years. Their football sucks),including writing boring essays in every Milan's article about how you feel towards directors and owner of Milan.

Comparing Chiellini to Scirea is so lame.Man! When you said you're an ex semi pro player.Did you make it up? LOL

With all due respect to Gentille or Scirea, I'm confident to say they will struggle to play football in this era. Today, football is so demanding. Full of tactics,physical contact, and pressure from media and fans from all around the world.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 9:10am
Let's get this straight. Juve's dominance for years is coming from strong combination of talented players, coaches, and great directors. This is one of the best Juve teams I've ever seen as a Juve fan. @Maldini's Heir, your latest comment towards Juve made you look so pathetic. I'm pity you for having too much affection for Milan. If I were you, I wouldn't wasting my time for this Milan side (they are simply trash because they deliver nothing but series of dissapointment for Milan fans for...
on the 7th April, 2019 at 8:55am
I see no point what so ever in why we have VAR.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 8:01am
Milan fans, who were divided on him. Some fans have not quite forgiven Donnarumma but I think most are on board now. Generally the current squad consists of players that on their face do not appear to be complete idiots. That helps. All we need is pace down the left hand side or anyone other than Borini.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 12:23am
One thing I have been thinking about this Milan side, particularly in light of Bonucci's comments, is how most of the players seem likeable. There's a lot to be said for likability. Last season I had to force myself to like Bonucci, even though I'd previously called him the worst kind of coward for turning on Balotelli after the collective failure at the World Cup. Bonucci's recent comments might give some context to his treatment of Balotelli. Of course Balotelli was one big distraction for
on the 7th April, 2019 at 12:21am
As for Milan, basically they could've won the last 4 games had incidents gone their way. Add to that the numerous incidents at the beginning of the season at the likes of Napoli, Empoli and Juve and "incidents" seem to be the difference between this side scraping 4th and competing with Napoli for 2nd. I'm not sure how you tell a team's quality by "incidents". Who knows if we stick to this manager and this team for another season they might learn from this and there might be less incidents.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 12:19am
What an incredibly average Juve side. 8 titles in a row. It's embarrassing. How many of the current side would make an all time great Juve team? Ronaldo? Because of what he did before he went to Juve. Who else? Would Chiellini make the team ahead of Cannavaro, Thuram, Ferrera, Gentile, Scirea and other legends of the past? This Juve side has won 8 titles due to other team's inadequacies. They're a constant reminder of how far Serie A has fallen.
on the 7th April, 2019 at 12:06am
Bonucci is a racist MOFO! If you think that what Bonucci said wasn't being racist then clearly somewhere inside of you is racist! Stop trying to find an excuse for this moron. How is 50/50 when all Moise Kean did is simply standing passively towards to crowd? Is it because he is black which is why he wasn't supposed to do that?! Kean was partly to blame because he cannot flex and look into eyes of the supreme white Italians. That has got to be the only reason for the other 50!
on the 6th April, 2019 at 8:20pm
That snake, Bonucci has got to go next season! I don't know what was the reason to bring him back in the first place! I was rejoicing when Juve sold him to Milan, and feels like an early Christmas, then my heart shattered when I heard Juve are exchanging Caldara just to bring that garbage back cause he was crying and begging! Now he is trying to unsettle probably the most talented Italian Forward Moise Kean (in a while) by being racist!
on the 6th April, 2019 at 8:08pm
I dont agree that this milan side has only average players.
This is a side with many talented young players.
The main issue is and i repeat myself again and again that they are not well enough managed.
Allready last summer i wrote here, calling for a new coach. Then when everybody got carried away by some of the latest results i wrote some negative comments and i was told that i should shut up.
@ viktor do you now see what i was afraid of when i wrote after the derby...
on the 6th April, 2019 at 6:04pm
Whether Bonucci's comments were misunderstood or not, one thing for sure is that he should have kept his mouth shut and never commented on the subject. He caused enough trouble in recent years already. Leave the talking to the board and the captain of the team.

Anyway, I see this match as a very close call. Milan has a decent squad and plenty to play for and Juve have zero motivation. Plus this is probably the first time I see this lineup so it's hard to predict other than a close call game for me.
on the 6th April, 2019 at 3:58pm
Marz cat
Standing in front of fans who are abusing you with your arms out and staring at them IS taunting them, look at it any way you like but it is provoking them to further, these people want a reaction and a reaction like Keans was exactly what they wanted. Bonucci' words have been turned and it is wrong!
All these players complaining at Bonucci are the reason these issues wont stop- TAUNTING STUPID PEOPLE WILL ONLY MAKE THEM INTENSIFY THEIR ABUSE- making the situation worse.
on the 6th April, 2019 at 3:29pm
The problem of milan is Gattuso, he doesnt understanding football, ac milan need a experience trainer with a filosofe of football. Gattuso out fast
on the 6th April, 2019 at 10:21am
Vicky crawl back to your hole buddy. You have not been around in 8 yrs hahahaha. I told you already about the effects of excitement
on the 6th April, 2019 at 3:08am
Whilst I respect the views of of others on here I don't see how Kean's celebration taunted the Cagliari fans. His celebration was tame considering the situation and no more provocative than any other goal celebration. In fact all Kean did was stand up to the racists which is what the FIGC should have done a long time ago. It is the Cagliari fans and Bonucci who have misinterpreted the situation, as it was Kean who was taunted not the other way round.
on the 6th April, 2019 at 12:11am
I'm a Juve fan but this Milan team has great potential. All the starting 11 are under the age of 25! Being in top 4 with such a young squad is great. The thing that Milan misses is experience - there aren't any experienced lads who can bring this team up when the game is not going the right way. If Milan keeps the team without major sellings, do 1 good transfer in every summer (ready for starting 11), in 2 years they will have a great team. Experience in the Champions league is really important!
on the 5th April, 2019 at 9:58pm
2 of 2 @Ferban. Even Juventus took a few years to recover from Serie B demotion. But it has always been an extremely well run club. Maybe because the Agnellis are used to running a multinational corporation and can apply that experience to Juve. Bayern and Man U are also examples of good management. Consistently good without the benefit of benefactor cash injections. Time will tell if the new Milan organization being built will deliver that, but CL qualification will definitely help.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 7:42pm
1 of 2 @Ferban. Berlusconi certainly let the club wither for to long before he sold. The idea of "belonging" is a bit nebulous, no? If you finish in the top four you belong in the CL the next year, according to UEFA. PSG was literally a mid-table club for its entire existence before Qatari money turned it into a "perennial CL contender", but they haven't won it in the 8 years that ownership. On the other hand Milan has 7 CL titles, second only to Madrid.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 7:35pm
You said yourself Juve will win. Stop dreaming and wake up.
Donnarumma, Romangoli, Calabria, Bakayoko, Kessie, Piatek, Calabra, Conti, Cutrone YES average get over it and wake up. if they were anything more than average we wouldn't be sat in forth place holding on by a single point and behind Inter who are even worse than us.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 5:20pm

"Average player"

Are you seriously that ignorant? Donnarumma, Romangoli, Calabria,Bakayoko, Kessie, Piatek, Calabra, Conti, Cutrone etc etc... Those are ALL International with great future.

List goes on.. CMON
on the 5th April, 2019 at 4:00pm

"Juve' youth team could beat Milan! "

Go away with you bizarre comments.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 3:57pm
After reading some of comments on here I think it is clear that all people have differing views on how to deal with racism.
I think players being abused at international level should refuse to play for the national team they have chosen to play for, France and England may struggle with this but the fans must suffer.
At domestic games where these disgraceful things happen the game in question should be stopped and points deducted from the team of these so called supporting
on the 5th April, 2019 at 3:56pm

Very true, they have had numerous instances where it seemed like they were developing a solid young core to build around. But injuries, coaches and terrible leadership has seriously crippled them as a serious contender in serie a.

Hopefully they will be Juve's whipping boys for many more years to come!
on the 5th April, 2019 at 3:37pm
@sam Crow
Well said.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 3:29pm
At least you're being realistic these days. I think 2-0 Juve.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 3:26pm
2/2.. offering enraged fans out by raising you're arms up at them is NOT the answer.
Balotelli' response was also one of great 'power' and real show of class by warning Bonucci that he was lucky he wasn't there, I mean come on people!
It is 2019!
Violence and aggression doesn't stop violence and aggression. Simple answer is to walk off, hit these disgusting people where it hurts they will soon stop their stupidity when they realise they have paid money to watch games that WILL be stopped!
on the 5th April, 2019 at 3:23pm
Not so sure that I disagree with what Bonucci said. While racism should not be accepted players also shouldn't taunt fans and not expect some sort of reaction and no, this isn't me excusing racist behaviour. Kean is still young so I'm sure he'll learn. I really don't see Bonucci as being wrong or divisive.
on the 5th April, 2019 at 3:10pm

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