Thursday December 19 2019
Sarri's Juventus taking shape

Maurizio Sarri’s vision of Juventus is starting to take shape and Kaustubh Pandey liked what he saw against Sampdoria.

Juventus’ 2-1 win over Sampdoria will probably live long in the memory for Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational towering header past Emil Audero. While there's no point in taking anything away from that, the Bianconeri had more to celebrate than just Ronaldo's Michael Jordan moment.

The game probably laid down the first few sprouting seeds of what has famously gone on to be called ‘Sarriball’. There were some really promising glimpses which reflected how Sarri's style is slowing coming into its own for the Old Lady and is why betting sites continue to consider them Scudetto favourites.

The season has been filled with moments when individual quality has won Juve games. But it was slightly different against Samp, even though Ronaldo did come up with a moment of magic. For a while in the first half, it wasn't the sluggish Juve we've seen all season.

The Paulo Dybala goal was a portrayal of just that. Alex Sandro's impressive cross was volleyed in by La Joya, but the build-up to it was a lot like what Sarri would want. It was attractive football and the ball flowed through the Juve midfield.

Bianconeri faithful have hardly seen it this season. A lack of creativity has been the order of the day, bringing into light why Juve have been linked with Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen. As the game wore on, the promising signs wore off. The lack of creativity and balance in midfield was very evident.

The midfield three registered only a single key pass in the game. That came from Adrien Rabiot. Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi couldn't play a single one. Dybala had three of them and was one of the best players on the pitch.

Juve sometimes missed Rodrigo Bentancur and his dynamism. The Uruguayan is growing in his role as a creator in midfield, having grabbed four assists already. It could well be argued that he is the club's most creative midfielder and having him on the pitch will always add that technical spark.

A game that started in a way that Sarri would like soon turned into a mirror reflection of the season. It became dour and Juve became passive. They sometimes found their midfield to be over-run by Claudio Ranieri's spirited Blucerchiati side.

It was a lot like how things were under Massimiliano Allegri towards the end of the previous campaign.

But despite the midfield sometimes getting overworked, Merih Demiral came up with another towering performance. It's his third impressive performance in a row, following starts against Bayer Leverkusen and Udinese.

The young Turk won six aerial duels and won two tackles, making just as many interceptions. He was another huge positive for Sarri, who could well be forced to start him in place of Matthijs de Ligt in the Supercoppa.

The front three clicked once again. While Gonzalo Higuain didn't have the best of games, Ronaldo and Dybala thrived. They combined very well on multiple occasions, catching the Samp backline off-guard with swift movement. That is something Sarri probably wanted to try, considering how well they'd done against Udinese at the weekend.

Like that very game though, this one was a step in the right direction. Some parts of it lifted Juve fans off their seats and that's become a rarity this season. There seemed to be hope that Sarri really does have a plan in place and it is coming good, even though it is taking time.

For a Juve side that has been playing a different brand of football over the last eight or nine years, this process was always going to take time. And now, it seems as though that transformation is well underway. Ahead of Supercoppa clash against Lazio, that's the biggest positive Juve fans want to see. The only way forward is up.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit:

Have your say...
I never said that Sarri has impressed so far.

City and Pool were playing attacking football before Pep and Klopp. The foundations were there, unlike Juve. And they still needed years to implement their style. Imagine how much time Sarri needs to implement his.

Conte's style doesn't require the same time. That's why we already see a Conte team. The fact he scores a lot doesn't mean he plays beautiful football. Juve always had the best attack in the league with him but they were playing ugly.
on the 21st December, 2019 at 10:59pm
So many of these opinion-pieces talk more and more about the number of statistics - key passes, dribbles, interceptions, etc, like every game is something from a Football Manager game.
Virtual, rather than the real game that I love.
If Juve are playing good football, with heart, inspiration, aggresion, love, determination, and results, that's all I need to know.
Stile e grinta, fino alla fine, cento per certo.
Numbers aren't important.
A joy, and results. That's what I want in my harworking Juve
on the 21st December, 2019 at 4:59am
The tridente is clicking wowly by itself rather than because of Sarriball, by playing together more. Bentancur is growing rapidly with confidence and pushing the limit game after game, taking more initiative with more-attacking mind-set. Demiral showed more positives enough to be the candidate to the heir of Chiellini with his non-nonsense defensive style of play than negatives that he's volatile risking giving away penalties, but he's still 21. Rabiot can certainly do more.
on the 21st December, 2019 at 4:42am
Tuchel and Valverde also topped their group with a game to spare, are tops in their respective leagues but that does not mean they do not make strange decisions on a regular basis. Foresight is a very good quality to have in a football fan not hindsight cos with the latter, its too late. The biggest problem with making odd decisions is that you will be found out in the end especially in cl and you are out.
on the 20th December, 2019 at 6:21pm
Sarri's Juve barely scraping by just as he did in Napoli. Predictable formation and play. Only a matter of time just as Lazio did where teams will break them down. AS in the Lazio game Juve mentally fall apart. The players are overrated, Media highlights a goal whether ronaldo or dybala scores so you know who owns them.
on the 20th December, 2019 at 5:32pm
Juve will win nothing other then scudetto, sarri, ronaldo, conte, dybala, higuain or jesus christ. It is not in there DNA to win without cheating and that my friend in the long run will play itself out. Ronaldo overrated and useless. Just add another 250+ million to its bloated payroll to try to achieve something other then league title like all the other big teams. SOCCER NEEDS SALARY CAPS THIS WILL LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.
on the 20th December, 2019 at 5:26pm
I assure you the thing you call "sarriball" is more what it should be called napoli fever. So in effect it can't be possible without that automated napoli team. So he tried to take jorginho with his bag to make things happen for him. You just need highly technical players to play free flowing football. I reccommend sarri to get veratti to reincarnate fever-pitch football for this attacking football fan gala.....
on the 20th December, 2019 at 3:13pm
Well I’ll tell you one thing that’s strange about sarri. He got juventus to the next round of the CL with a game to spare and is currently top of serie A. I hope he does even more ‘strange’ things lol
on the 20th December, 2019 at 1:42pm
@the master Pep won the league in his 2nd and 3rd seasons at City so I am not sure where you get 3 to 4 years from. He did so breaking goal scoring records along the way. Klopp might not have won as much but his football philosophy could be seen pretty early into his tenure. Sarriball was non-existent at Chelsea with some weird decisions. Why has it taken till now to try the trident? For a so called attacking manager he does some strange things.
on the 20th December, 2019 at 10:44am
give Sarri credit for looking at his squad and playing to its strength by playing a 4312 over the 433. I have been shocked that playing bernardeshi or ramsey as trequarista behind the strikers has not born dividends. but for some reason when he plays Dybala as trequarista behind higuain and Ronaldo there is so much fluidity in attack. I find that surprising cause when Dybala played a trequrista in the past under allegri he looked lost.the trident is working.sarri needs to use it as much as hecan
on the 20th December, 2019 at 8:50am
(Part 2) in the final against Tottenham, which they won... As for Pep, he will never succeed without Messi, that's his only trick, he doesn't have the European acumen like other coaches.

Finally, can you honestly tell me Conte is winning ugly with 1-0 and 2-1 dogfights every match? If that were true, how are his Inter with a brand new attacking pair scoring more than seasoned champions like CR7, Higuain and Dybala? Your argument doesn't have much merit there.

Will wait until season's end...
on the 20th December, 2019 at 3:24am
@The Master

First off, if you mean to say Sarri has managed to impress the crowd, wow the critics and win games with flair, then I have to say you have been watching the wrong team. Watch the first 10 Serie A games and the first 3 UCL games again.

Secondly, Klopp didn't need 3-4 seasons to implement "good football", his team played exceptional football even in the league and UCL 2 seasons ago, when they lost to Madrid in final. Ironically, they played their most lacklustre football (Part 1)
on the 20th December, 2019 at 3:18am
I guess some benefit of the doubt can be given to Sarri. The loss of Chiellini was a big blow for Sarri in the sense that every coach knows when the defense is strong, it provides some assurances and freedom moving forward. Juve's style also has been mainly keeping a strong defense so the last thing I think Sarri wanted to do is come in here and start playing Sarri ball at the expense of leaking goals as he would never last long. I think another season and some more purchases will be needed.
on the 20th December, 2019 at 2:17am
Juve games have been generally poor to watch
.they constantly look to be in danger of conceeding. .they rarely blow a team away and can certainly struggle to finish a game. They lack potent finishers..and midfield is poor and defence seems shaky..but look at how many mistakes happen that lead to goals..they are not much different to how they were under allegri.
on the 19th December, 2019 at 7:46pm
Sarri has to win, dominate the opponent and entertain the crowd. And that's much more difficult. If Juve were only interested in just winning the league, they would've kept Allegri for 15 more years. So don't compare Juve's season with Inter's.

The point of the article is to mention that in recent games Juve have improved. They are a step closer to what Sarri envisions. Nobody said they played or have been playing perfectly. Don't insult the people who wrote this without understanding it first.
on the 19th December, 2019 at 7:08pm
@Pinturicchio You are missing the point.

Juve never played good football in the past 8 years. It's not a problem that appeared this term.

Sarri is not taking too long. Pep and Klopp needed 3-4 years to transform their teams to the machines they are now. And those teams already had the foundations for good football. What can Sarri do in just 4 months?

Sarri and Conte have not the same task. Conte has to just win, because they haven't won in a decade. Inter are not playing good either.
on the 19th December, 2019 at 7:01pm
One can criticize their style of play all day long but the scary reality is that with the plethora of talent at their disposal Juve doesn't have to play well to win. They can shift down a gear or two and still deliver the killer blow at any minute.
I don't think the rest of the league is weak, Juve is just that much better. They've been proving it consistently year after year.
on the 19th December, 2019 at 6:06pm
it feels like juve is a month or two behind development, and by the time they fully transition to sarri's gameplan, it might be too late for the season.
still though,they've scored some amazing goals this season and that's what'll give confidence in big CL matches.
on the 19th December, 2019 at 5:48pm
Against Lazio, Juve was playing with quick passing and an exciting attack for the 1st 30 minutes or so until Lazio equalized. The Udinese game exhibited Sarriball on 'high' for the 1st half but dropped off in intensity in the 2nd. The passing in the Samp game wasn't as menacing as it was in the 1st half against Udinese but Sarriball was present more consistently throughout the game. This team plays Sarriball when it's in the mood and has enough energy. More consistency and we will be unstoppable
on the 19th December, 2019 at 1:44pm
Finally a Juve fan admitting that you are not playing like champions
--Acknowleding Juve has a far superior team than the rest & usually only win with flashes of brilliancy from their superstar individuals.
With a little bit of "luck" you could have drawn or even lost a couple of games.

Juve is underperforming & they are STILL top of Serie A!
It just shows how weak the rest of the league is (Inter is playing at their max.)

Surely soon Juve will click..?
When is Chielinni coming back?
on the 19th December, 2019 at 12:56pm
Juve will make it as always but that is utterly not the point by costing hundred millions to bring ronaldo okay? Tilt the midfield for me. Diagonal shape with the two; in right long stretch ramsey & in left pjanic with rabiot holding the centre gravity.
on the 19th December, 2019 at 11:32am
I swear a bunch of kids write for this site.

We've played nowhere close to good/Scudetto-winning football this term. Sarri's taken far too long to get his team in shape, and considering that Conte has inferior players, he's gotten Inter (domestically) in shape.

It's only because of individual quality and winning mentality that we've topped the group stage and still remain at the top of the league.. With a couple of things going awry, we'd have been in 3rd place.

Hope it improves soon...
on the 19th December, 2019 at 10:25am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.