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Monday April 15 2019
Kean the key to knocking out Ajax

Breaking records for club and country, growing in confidence each game, Anthony Barbagallo insists Juventus must start Moise Kean against Ajax.

Juventus will be preparing to go another round with a young talented Ajax side – who are looking to emulate the Bernabeu night in Turin – this Tuesday evening. For the Bianconeri not to fall into the usual trap of complacency and their conservative approach, the Italians must ensure they start in-form Moise Kean for this season-defining fixture. The versatility of the 19-year-old can add more dynamism in that frontline, making life more complicated for the Ajax defenders than in the first leg.

Even with Cristiano Ronaldo, who is arguably the biggest difference maker in the knockout stages of the Champions League, this Juve side might still require Kean’s presence to secure a spot in the semi-finals.

Only a couple of months ago, it was unexpected that Massimiliano Allegri would have this dilemma. Juve fans and the Italian media were aware of Kean’s potential, but little did they know the youngster’s emergence would be so soon, especially in a team already loaded with firepower up front.

If Allegri didn’t opt to play Kean in the game against Udinese last month, we might not have been having this discussion. It was that first half brace against the Friulani that saw Kean’s senior career take off, little realising he would suddenly be a threat to the likes of Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic for a place in the starting XI. If Kean can be the Serie A champions’ wildcard for the Ajax game, here are the reasons Allegri should directly place him in the starting line-up.

Kean’s explosive pace has been a valuable asset for the Bianconeri frontline so far, posing a severe threat for several Serie A defenders. The Italian international’s speed often encourages the Old Lady to play at a much faster tempo, which is the exact playing style the team needs to use to match the pace of the Ajax youngsters.

In the 1-1 draw in Amsterdam, Juventus could have used Kean’s pace when the game was speeding up. Douglas Costa provided a spark with his speed and dribbling qualities down the left flank when he came on, but the Brazilian winger is expected to miss the second leg due to injury. With Kean capable of being deployed as a winger, the Bianconeri starlet could play on one of the wings in a 4-3-3 formation.

With Mandzukic currently experiencing a goal drought and not playing like the true warrior he is, it’s not absurd to suggest that Kean could start ahead of the Croatian and play in his more preferred centre-forward role. Mandzukic has looked less threatening and often gone missing in big games so far this season, especially in Europe. There needs to be a back-up goal-scorer for Ronaldo.

A trident attack of Ronaldo, Kean and Bernardeschi is a potential option Allegri could decide to field, Dybala also being interchangeable with Bernardeschi. This combination could be a fruitful one for the Juve tactician, especially with all these three attackers possessing the technical qualities.

Over the last month, Kean has been the most clinical forward for La Vecchia Signora, netting six goals in six league games. The Vercelli-born youngster also boasts that poacher’s threat, as we witnessed when he took the sting out of the games against Empoli, Cagliari, Milan and SPAL at the weekend. The Azzurri prodigy plays with impressive physicality – holding the ball well in the 18-yard box and using great strength to fend off defenders.

Competing against a motivated and energetic Ajax team, Juve will also need Kean’s hard work ethic off the ball – pressing those opposition defenders to force mistakes in goal-scoring territory. Kean’s talent could potentially cause several problems for Ajax centre-backs Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind, disrupting the Dutch side’s overall flow.

It is imperative that Allegri chooses to start Moise Kean for this pivotal game with Ajax. The young forward may not boast much Champions League experience, but he unquestionably possesses the goal-scoring qualities to finish this tie.

Juventus shouldn’t rest on their away goal advantage, nor play an ultra-attacking game like the comeback against Atletico Madrid. With the tie still in the balance, the stage is set for Moise Kean to have a European night to remember.

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Have your say...
Just shut your mouth and stick to your manager's decisions. 7 scudettos in a row, if you can't be happy now, you'll never be.
on the 16th April, 2019 at 9:39am
Most Juve fans and the writer forgot that in football as much as your starter should be good you need to have an ace off the bench when things are not going your way to make things right. Yes he may be boring most times but he has always delivered except in few matches and in Finals.
on the 16th April, 2019 at 8:57am
You guys are actually brain dead if you think Kean is ready to take on a match like this from the get go lol.
on the 16th April, 2019 at 4:48am
This could be the game of the season for Kean, max needs to utilise the power
And speed against Ajax, keep possession and push them to their own half
We are Juve let’s drive the fear to face us.

Scez

Cancelo Bonucci chililini spinzola

Matuidi Pjanic Emre Can

Beendeschi. Ronoldo
Kean
on the 15th April, 2019 at 2:33pm
Kean and Ronaldo leading the attack is a no brainer. It not only makes sense for Juve's short term gain in Europe, it's an invaluable opportunity for Kean's development. Having the young starlet play alongside someone like Ronaldo will not only benefit Kean, it will also benefit Juve and the Azzurri. Kean has the potential to be the Azzurri's highest ever goal scorer. Yet, he won't break any more records if he has to wait till he's 25 before becoming a regular starter.
on the 15th April, 2019 at 2:14pm
Starting Kean might be a step too far for the conservative Allegri. He might, but he's usually quite negative when Juve are ahead in the tie, as they are now.
on the 15th April, 2019 at 1:14pm
I do not believe Allegri possesses the courage. Game after game this season, it is clear that his instructions to his team is "do the bare minimum required". I would not be surprised if the instruction to the team tomorrow is to not score and not concede. That match vs Atletico was a flash in the pan. Allegri plays BORING football. And remember, in the Final there is no return leg to make up for all the ball-losing and back passing in the first leg......
on the 15th April, 2019 at 12:27pm
No, my club hate young ITALIAN players. As long as Allegri is still around, Kean won't develop into what we're expecting him to be. Wanna proof? See how allegri wreck Dybala and Costa. UCL or not, that scum likely will stay next season. We'll lose Dybala, and probably give Kean to Milan or Inter. Stupid club.
on the 15th April, 2019 at 11:44am
Agreed but Allegri whether he does it who knows!
on the 15th April, 2019 at 11:39am
"Kean must play - Kean must play!"

This song should stop if you really care for Italian football. You're not protecting young Italian players this way. And you don't have to insist, Anthony. Kean will play in 2nd half, the stage is set for him soon after Mandzukic tires the Ajax defenders. That's how football works in Italy, unless you don't believe in Italian coaches anymore and that's your problem, not mine.
on the 15th April, 2019 at 10:45am
I hope Allegri doesnt listen to this.
on the 15th April, 2019 at 9:56am
if moise kean could find himself almost wide open vs a.madrid on the counter who boast one of the best defences in Europe. you telling me that he wouldn't get tons of chances vs an ajax side that presses high and looks to attack. a simple ball over the top to kean would put ajax in difficulty because he has that pace. the kid has natural goalscoring instincts you cant teach that. you cant watch age. the guy is in form he must start. end of story
on the 15th April, 2019 at 9:54am
I am not sure if Kean should play but what I am quite sure is Manzdukic shouldn't play. He is out of pace! I always repeat this even when he could score in November. Any attacker would score if plays regularly in Juventus attack. I would go with Dybala and Berna together who can make some good passes and have some experience. Kean still needs to be grown. Goals are not everything. Cancelo Bonnucci Chellini Alex Sandro Emre Can Pjanic Matuidi, Berna, Dybala, Ronaldo
on the 15th April, 2019 at 9:20am

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