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Sunday November 24 2019
Juve not dependent on Ronaldo

Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain reunited to overturn Atalanta and prove Juventus are no longer dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo, writes Anthony Barbagallo

Once again, Juventus showed why vast squad depth wins games – but most importantly – Serie A titles. While Cristiano Ronaldo was resting in Turin, the Scudetto holders utilised the luxury of their deep bench by starting Paulo Dybala and bringing in Douglas Costa and Aaron Ramsey in the latter stages of the game.

The talking point of the match was Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain rediscovering their lethal HD partnership up front from two seasons ago. The Old Lady’s third goal in the 3-1 win against Atalanta evoked memories of when Higuain set up his compatriot for the winning goal against Tottenham in the 2017-18 Champions League. 

Just like the Round of 16 fixture with Tottenham back in 2018, Dybala and Higuain once again managed to create some individual quality to turn the game on its head and beat an Atalanta side who looked in control with half an hour to go. In Bergamo last season, Ronaldo came off the bench to level the game 2-2 and salvage a point against La Dea. Once again, Juve’s strength in depth made the difference at what is now called the Gewiss Stadium.  In comparison, Atalanta had to start teenager Musa Barrow – who missed a penalty – and are missing Duvan Zapata more than ever.

It looks like Maurizio Sarri has finally reignited Dybala and Higuain – giving them the freedom to express themselves in attack. But while this positive display has brought a smile to many Juventini, it now poses a delicate and challenging question: where does CR7 fit into this team? 

Ronaldo’s inconsistent form in Serie A has so far been frustrating for numerous Juve supporters and a shock to many of the Portuguese star’s followers. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner’s exceptional performance for Portugal over the international break suggested that the 34-year-old is showing no signs of carrying an injury. It has most likely been Sarri’s tactics that Ronaldo has been struggling with.

The former Real Madrid forward has failed to ignite on nearly every occasion Sarri has placed him in the wide areas. Ronaldo doesn’t have the explosive pace he used to showcase at the Bernabeu and Old Trafford. But over the last four years, the Portuguese captain has had adapted to a new playing style – spending more time as a poacher in the box.

Ronaldo proved that this calmer and intelligent playing style allowed him to become more lethal in the penalty area – improving his goalscoring ratio in the Champions League and impressing in his maiden season with Juventus after scoring 21 goals in 31 appearances.

Ronaldo has played up front with Higuain under Sarri this season, although the service from Federico Bernardeschi has been inadequate. CR7 usually plays better whenever Dybala starts or gets substituted in, as the young Argentine has more dynamism in his game. In the win against Atalanta, Higuain also showed why he benefits from La Joya’s presence on the field.

With all that being said, it might be time that Sarri plays Ronaldo, Higuain and Dybala playing just behind. This forward combination seems like the most suitable solution to offer Ronaldo better service in the box and increase his involvement in the game.  

Have your say...
@Anonymous, this is the part where i laugh hard at a pathetic clown like you. The part of your idiotic thought that believe you can hurt Juve fans with boring 2 CL trophies taboo. It might work in 2007-2010 but not today pal. We have a very strong team and capable of winning all trophies,a team that you can only dream of. I watch football to have some fun and Juve has been great and we always improve every year. Unlike pathetic Milan fans who always whine and live in the past. So pathetic.
on the 28th November, 2019 at 1:38am
It seems that Sarri himself is preventing Sarri ball from taking hold. Constant rotation and just not the right personnel. A handful of players could do it and they constantly don't play for various reasons. Dybala, Costa, Ramsey, Higuain (Looks better now, pace has improved), Ronaldo (may be too selfish, not sure he can do it), Pjanic is a good player but needs to be more involved in the buildup play. And then u have Paratici who wanted to sell Dybala, I have doubts he knows what he's doing.
on the 27th November, 2019 at 7:25pm
Milan are LOSERS. That's FACT.
I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER
Milan won UCL in 2003 & 2007, last time juve won 1985 & 1996. Get your facts right. Also juve are owned by a conglomerate and public traded so we all now how finances work there. Juve are 10 and milan 18 in value and finances and the further you go back in time they were ranked together and Milan actually was better shape financially 10 years ago. So before you speak do your math.
on the 27th November, 2019 at 6:31pm
@Anonymous 3:27, Milan and you (YES YOU! Clown) are total joke. What a pathetic attempt! bring on 7 CL trophies when Milan won it last time in the time of Teletubbies aired on telly. Hahahaha.. Nice try mate!
on the 27th November, 2019 at 9:38am
@Anonymous: Shall I continue: FACT: AC Milan has the 4 highest payroll and they Sit 12th place in Serie A behind teams like Verona and Parma FACT: AC Milan's successes had more to do with Marco Branca's failuers at Inter - How else can you get Seedorf for Coco, Pirlo for peanuts and Muntari for free? FACT: AC Milan have not owned a star box-to-box midfielder since Inter fired Marco Branca FACT: If Milan fans want to watch their team play good soccer they watch Youtube !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on the 26th November, 2019 at 4:49pm
Why are all the messages hating on Juventus??
for the sake of the article and time spent drafting it, I would say Sarri is doing a good job so far making Juve non-dependent on any player. But if they don't click soon enough and start finishing matches earlier with a bigger goal margin, they will start to tire and it will be another Allegri-like season. When is Sarriball coming??
on the 26th November, 2019 at 3:27am
@I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER... I will continue, no worries, that LOSER club that your are talking about have won 7 CLs. Yours? "That's FACT. LOL"

PS: quoted from another loser in below "LOL!"
on the 25th November, 2019 at 11:34pm
@Anonymous: Milan are by far a dynasty in retrospect to juve with 7 CL....AC MILAN IS ONE OF THE WORST RUN SOCCER CLUBS IN THE WORLD!!! FACT: for every 100 euros they generate in revenue they lose 60 euros. FACT: Mr. Li spent 200 mill on NOTHING ! FACT: Gattuso was 20 minutes away from qualifying for CL and was fired for a guy that never finished top 9 in his career. FACT: Maldini & Boban suck at their jobs FACT: AC milan has the highest paid backup goalie in the world...shall i Continue ?
on the 25th November, 2019 at 4:38pm
Okay it's getting boring... these grinded out wins. I mean whats the point to replacing a lifetime gurantee allegri with sarriball then? Do a REAL MAKE-OVER. Lets do a gamble since you care playing nice foorball so much. Bonnucci a ball playing centre-back as de ligt is. So? As it is de ligt can't play.....
on the 25th November, 2019 at 2:43pm
@Niscist, Referee was Inter's 12th player against Juve in the stadium filled with bunch of losers like you. That's FACT. LOL
on the 25th November, 2019 at 7:21am
@Anon, Yo loser hang ur hat on whining and complaining because that's all u will excel at. LOL
on the 25th November, 2019 at 7:18am
Pinturrichio whta titles u talking about did u not read the other comment on 2 UCL in CL history. That atrocious stat for a team supposedly as good as juve. With all the players they have had in their history that's all that been accomplished. U should not brag about how great u r. I tell u this god cannot help u win another CL so brag all u want about seria A because that's all u will be good at and just barely winning.
on the 25th November, 2019 at 2:08am
Dunno what these fools are crying about. It should not even have been a penalty for Atalanta because the ball hit Khedira's foot first. So if anything Juve fans should be the ones crying
on the 25th November, 2019 at 12:35am
I think Juve are more dependent on referee's than Ronaldo.
on the 24th November, 2019 at 7:42pm
Juve is a worthless franchise 2 CL in history of CL and 3 EL cups. In italy they are great yet outside with all the talent they have boasted they r useless. Juve fans should be embarrassed by these stats. Milan are by far a dynasty in retrospect to juve with 7 CL. Juve wil never win a CL because without officiating help they don't know what winning is. I mean every week it's more evident and obvious. So juve fans hang ur hat on serie A because that's all u will excel at.
on the 24th November, 2019 at 6:52pm
Problem is:
These rules can be interpreted any way they want.
There are always CONTACTS, shoves, proximities, etc...

For instance,
Yesterday's first Higuain goal...
A second before scoring, he only missed kicking Atalanta's player because that guy jumped back. It made Dea's player lose his composition only to be late for consecutive block.
That could be "DANGEROUS PLAY".
And maybe goal wouldn't stand if Atalanta scored that goal.
(& here you'd be listing "rules" why it was rightly disallowed...
on the 24th November, 2019 at 6:39pm
Wait till CL matches...
on the 24th November, 2019 at 6:15pm
This TITLE is missleading.

Their intention is for other fans to reply:
"Juve was never dependant on Ronaldo. But on referee."
Football Italia wants us to bicker!
HAHAHA

Seriously though, Ronaldo really doesn't have the desired impact on this team.
Now if Juve gets Mbappe...
on the 24th November, 2019 at 6:14pm
@ Filtrum-
Remember this rule when next time Juve gets penalty in favour of handball.

For Cuadrado's handball
--NOT ONCE DID ATALANTA GET THE BALL IN THEIR POSSESSION!
There was only a slight touch, so if that's the rule it's laughable.
If "touch" is a rule, I would advise players to immediately stop playing & allow opposition to score goal. This way we'd get our free kick.

Even if there wasn't any Atalanta touch, they'd say goal stands because Cuadrado was falling & tried to catch himself.
on the 24th November, 2019 at 6:08pm
Of course, a few dodgy refereeing decisions and not using VAR unless it benefits the gibber teams always helps.

Juventus finished well, but, Atalanta dominated for much of the game just didn't make most of their chances and were somewhat unlucky.

But, I guess that winning such a game is what makes a championship team.
on the 24th November, 2019 at 5:37pm
@Blackandblue Guess what numbskull, playing football on your Xbone/PlaySheet does not actually constitute football expertise... And it's clearly above your level of understanding to interpret rules as they're mentioned. It's okay, we will keep winning titles, whereas you snakes I mean Serpenti will spend time in Europa League, ultimately ending up winning nothing... 
on the 24th November, 2019 at 5:16pm
@blackandblue
Whats your point? Maybe you should read the rules before complaining. I'm guessing you talk about handball incidents, then you got one penalty when there was none to be given all game. If it touches another body part before the hand it is no free kick/penalty
on the 24th November, 2019 at 2:42pm
Sarri and especially Allegri are a nightmare for Ronaldo. Madrid's midfield was dynamic so he could operate like a Trezeguet and still can if Paratici starts thinking straight. The midfield showcases the worst side of Juve and of course Ronnie will continue to struggle with sloths in the middle. I'd take a retired Davids over most of our mids right now. The insane insistence with the failed Berna experiment is shocking!
on the 24th November, 2019 at 2:15pm
If the real Dybala steps up and plays like we know he can,then the three can play together.What concerns me is that the JOYA has not put back to back top performances in when given the chance.I prefer Dybala or Higuain to come on when we need a change of approach.
When Juve have played the three together then teams will make life hard for Dybala as they know he has the dribbling
skills to make chances.I have noticed that when Dybala is not playing teams give more time to players like Matuidi,
on the 24th November, 2019 at 1:47pm
@Blackandblue :))) "The rules explain that, in the event that the ball is touched by players of both teams, the build-up is not to be considered continuous. With the touches of Papu Gomez and then Pasalic, the VAR could have no longer been used. That is why Cuadrado's handball was not called and why Higuain's goal stood". Cry me a river;)
on the 24th November, 2019 at 1:37pm
CR7 can't play wide anymore. More central suited him better. I think that Douglas Costa will make the most of the difference from now on. And Ramsey behind the strikers. The issue is that Sarri can't afford keeping CR7 on the bench, so he has to change the system for the Portuguese. And Dybala as an ace up sleeve, in big games.
on the 24th November, 2019 at 1:36pm
It’s hard not win when the refs are on your side. What’s the point of VAR ( Video Assistance Rubentus)
on the 24th November, 2019 at 12:30pm
This is why either Higuain or Ronaldo must ne supported by two fast players like Costa and Dybala. Next summer Juventus need to let go of a couple of the work-horses like Can, Rabiot, Matuidi and especially Khedira and bring in faster players with vision.
Juventus' midfield is dreadful.
Bernadeschi has failed and Bentancur plays safe all the time.
Juventus need Son from Tottenham.
on the 24th November, 2019 at 11:39am

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