Thursday February 27 2020
This is still not Sarri's Juventus

Juventus are seven months into Maurizio Sarri’s tenure and still no closer to playing his style of football, writes Tommaso Adami.

We are practically in March and Maurizio Sarri is still saying exactly the same things he did when taking over from Max Allegri in July. It was evident during most of his Chelsea tenure too that his style of football only works when the ball is moved quickly, when movements are well-drilled and the pass is made to the space where the player will be rather than where the nearest player already stands. So are players resistant to his ideas or is Sarri just not very good at getting those concepts across?

It’s not all bad, of course, because Juventus comfortably qualified for the Round of 16 with 16 out 18 points from the group stage. Currently, they are sitting first in Serie A, with an average of 2.6 points per game. Olympique Lyonnais, on the other hand, have only collected 37 points in 26 games, they sit seventh in Ligue 1 and managed to survive the Champions League group stage by the skin of their teeth. Last night's game was the ultimate proof that, in football, numbers and records often don't account for much.

In fact, only two full months into the New Year and three away from the Istanbul Final, Juventus lost their first tie in the Champions League this season. Interestingly, the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Lyon represents only the second match across all competitions in which Sarri's men have been held goalless ever since drawing 0-0 to Fiorentina in September. For the first time in 32 games, not even the team's brightest stars were able to shine enough to cover up an all-round disappointing team performance.

Since the very start of the game, Rudi Garcia's men defended with great stamina and determination, making it difficult for the visitors to find the necessary space to unleash their attacking firepower. Lyon's gameplan looked pretty straightforward: defend with five men at all times, sit back, break the opponent's momentum, and try to capitalise on the counter. The plan worked well, often forcing Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo to drop deep to get the ball and respectively switch positions with Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot upfront.

The Bianconeri dominated possession, but aside from an insidious ball in from Ronaldo, they struggled to create clear chances.

Houssem Aouar escaped far too easily from Bentancur on the left flank, got to the byline and awarded Lucas Tousart's run down the middle with a perfect mid-air assist in the box.

Despite looking livelier in the second half, the Bianconeri still moved the ball too slowly and were no threat to Garcia's well-organised defence. At the 62nd minute, Sarri substituted Pjanic after yet another drab performance that got fans wondering what happened to their once mighty midfield leader.

Juventus took their first shot anywhere near the target at the 80th minute, yet nobody made the most out of the chances that ensued. Both Dybala and substitute Gonzalo Higuain shot wide from good positions, while Ronaldo misplaced a header in extra time.

A 1-0 away defeat to Lyon shouldn't be too difficult a result to overturn for a team like Juventus. However, this was just the latest of a number of highly disappointing performances put in by Sarri and his men over the course of the season.

Be it that the players are still adapting to a new coach and system, that Sarri has been experimenting line ups and rotating different players, fans have had enough and are asking for results, consistency and cohesion.

Sarri insists the ball moves at twice the speed in training than in a match situation, so is the issue psychological? Should there be more intensive training sessions with the youth team or a local side providing some sort of opposition they can get accustomed to? Why did Napoli embrace Sarri’s style so perfectly and yet now both Chelsea and Juventus have proved resistant to the basic tenets?

Whatever the reason, Juventus have to find the solution quickly or this risks becoming a completely wasted campaign.

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Have your say...
@McStronze ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .You are a good joke.Uefa refs are payd for uefalona and uefadrid and latly Loosepool,its not like your second rate team will ever play in CL so dont worry
on the 29th February, 2020 at 6:20pm
If you wanna see Sarrissmo, Sarriball whatever, go get him Spanish players. Most ppl tend to forget his days at Napoli he was helped by his Spaniard predecessor Rafa Benitez who had forged Napoli 2 years with Spanish football with players from Spanish League. If you're really a true Juve fan, pls stop this whinning on him and start to back your coach so he can work in peace. Even Guardiola needs 2 years to transform City to become a gelled team.
on the 29th February, 2020 at 4:17pm
Sarri is overrated coach. Nothing special about Sarri football. I dont know who invented that "sarriball", but for me thats totally BS. Sarri not better than Gattuso
on the 29th February, 2020 at 3:21pm
Juve lost to Lyon. It would be funny if it weren't embarrassing.

Forza Napoli.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 11:20pm
Last year they lost to AJAX and this year they loose to Lyon. I love it. Maybe they should have saved some of the Seria bribe money to pay the UEFA Refs too.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 10:45pm
Well, I am still laughing at your famous JUVE. Whats the matter they just cant seem to win anything outside of the Corrupt Spaghetti league. Whats wrong, they cant buy the Refs.
They are fabled looses and has beens just like the RED racing car, all are just jokes now.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 10:40pm
I'll take a very different stance from the majority of your comments. It seems to me that the problems may have to do with a couple of egos. I think Rabiot has actually provided some very good work so far while Betancur is improving a lot. However, Sarri's vision can only work in a general state of cruel unselfishness and it's simply not what he's getting from his forwards. Every fourth, fifth or sixth touch Costa takes, I can feel the man getting nauseous.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 10:38pm
@I MISS JUVE IN SERIA B: here's your problem mate: you are stating an opinion about Juve when you are an Inter fan, a team that has not made it passed the CL group stage in 10 YEARS ! as far as i am concerned, how does it take 10 years ? FACT: juve has 1 shot on goal - thats more than 0 - the times that Inter made it past the group stage the last 10 years ! But i will say this, if it comes to commenting on second tier minniow tournaments like Europa League, your opinion might have more weight !
on the 28th February, 2020 at 5:13pm
With that type of midfielders, Sarri can never implement his Sarriball style. Pjanic is truly creative player, but too slow, Rbiot & Bentacur are the same type of players (& he played exactly with these 3 in Lyon).They need to buy different type of players. Raitic is a type of player who can adapt to Sarri's style. I strongly believe that they're not using Ramsey properly. He's great midfielder who can score & create goals.& they think of selling him? Instead of Matuidi, Khedira, or Rabiot.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 12:26pm
Pjanic is suuffering from fatigue. Too much is being asked of him. Same with Alex Sandro. If he gets injured, Juve have no natural sub. The only one who can play in that position is De Sciglio, and he is a disaster. Not really sure why Juve dont sell him. Then, we have Cuadrado. One minute he is playing up front and next he is a right back!! wtf!! Its not easy for a coach to come in and switch from Allegri's letahrgic style to fast paced attacking football (with same players)
on the 28th February, 2020 at 12:22pm
The two main problems are the midfield (not enough quality or creativity) and a distinct lack of pace in the midfield and front third. We are a better side when Costa plays as he raises the speed level of the team. Just look at how direct and fast Bayern is with their two wingers - they destroyed Chelsea with pace. Juve needs to stop buying 29-30 year olds and inject some exciting youth in the side. Haaland would have been perfect but at Juve he would have been made to sit on the bench!
on the 28th February, 2020 at 10:58am
it took Chelsea almost till the end of the season to byin to sari tactics. I am feeling the same thing is happening. players are still so comfortable in the old allegri style. sari wants lots of one touch football; players moving without the ball. players have to buy in. let me get started on pjanic. guy has been owful all season. was surprised he started. I thought the midfield played better when he was replaced by ramsey. players need to buy-in. pjanic needs some time on the bench.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 9:49am
Sarri likes to play 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2. He doesn't have the players for either formation. With CR7 in the side, 4-3-3 is not possible. Nor is a 4-3-1-2 possible because there is no attacking midfielder in the squad. Regarding the midfield - Rabiot and Ramsey need time to bed in, and Pjanic is fatigued. In sum, this Is a season of transition, in the summer some players must leave, 1-2 midfielders, a left back and a striker need to be added. Then we will see Sarriball.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 9:18am
Juve fan since '94 here: I have correctly predicted this by saying to my friends and all over Twitter that no way Juve will win in Lyon. No way. And you think there'll be another Atleti in second round? No. What's going to happen is Lyon will score first, then perhaps Juve will reply, but that's it. Either it will ended 1-1 or 1-2 or 0-1 for OL, Juve will not go through. Juve will probably win Serie A, with some controversies ofc, but our real fall will start next season.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 3:58am
There’re very few matches this season convinced me by small potatoes Sarri and He has to be fired.
Sandro is the biggest flop. Pjanic is the avatar of juventus, edging closer to the world class and then a falling knife. Keeping Matuidi who can balance the squad and maybe Bentancur as a sub.
Juventus needs two speedy wing players, Sane and Chiesa are two possible targets.
The major problem is money is very tight and it’d be worse if lost Serie a, less money from UCL and tv right.
on the 28th February, 2020 at 3:37am
Juve just making it tough on themselves. They will win the 2nd leg, CR7 will carry them on their back if needed. The issue on this team is the downward form of two players. Alex Sandro & Pjanic. Too slow to play in Sarri's system. Time to explore others in the role. The team plays better with Benticure in the CM role, unfortunately with Sandro their is no other option.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 10:46pm

Calm down, mate!

This isn't some Play Station game lol

Do you have any idea what those player you want would cost? Probably 700-800m!

Dream on, not going to happen.

They need some pace in the team for sure.

Emerson is not an improvement. Pogba has turned into a joke and a waster. Felix hasn't done it at AM yet. M'bappe would cost a fortune
on the 27th February, 2020 at 10:06pm
@I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER, here is your problem bud. Inter has nothing to do with it, sorry! It' wasn't DeLigt was out for 2 mins, or maybe if he was in we assume another handball? and I'm sorry to inform you, unlike corrupted Serie A referees your team wouldn't get any support! You need to think about that big 0 shots on goal... I said it, you see? ZERO shots, that was your problem... and for god sake it was Lyon, 7th in farmers league :)
on the 27th February, 2020 at 7:59pm
@Gino Esposito ha ha ha ha ha ha you are funny!!!Lets not forget that milan got -20 point aswell>And BTW how is havvin a prime minister been owner of football club not conflict of interests???
on the 27th February, 2020 at 6:55pm
The only goal Lyon scored was when De Ligt got his face stomped on and Juve played with 1 player less. Had it not been for that injury, this game would have ended 0-0. It's not look Juve had a 2-0 half time lead and let in 3 goals in the second half like inter did against Borussia Dortmund only to end up losing 3-2 - I mean if that were to happen then yes i would be embarrassed because in CL you do not park the bus - too bad conte never learned that lesson. Remember last yr, 2-0 loss+3-0 win :)
on the 27th February, 2020 at 6:04pm
Sack everyone, sell the lot of them! Jeez calm it down ladies. This reminds me of when Ronaldo was being criticized in November. Apparently he was 'obviously' a washed up and a spent force! I believe Sarri is honest, almost to a fault. If he says the players are as 'fast as lightning' in training I believe him. I would recommend everyone to give the manager and players some respect and maybe even some support? A toxic attitude has seeped down into the fan base from the 'Ultras' and it is a shame
on the 27th February, 2020 at 4:57pm
Players to sell:

Defense: Sandro, Danilo, Demiral, Bonucci
Midfield: Pjanic, Rabiot, Ramsey, Khedira
Forward: Higuain, Berna, Costa, Dybala

Players to buy:
Defense: Emerson (Chelsea), Pellegrini (Calgliari), Hakimi (Dortmund), Romagnolli (Milan)
Midfield: Pogba (ManU), Milincovic Savic (Lazio), Zaniolo ( Roma), Chiesa (Fiorentina), Tonali (Brescia)
Forward: M’bappe (PSG), Felix (Atletico), Traore (Wolves)

Coach: Zidane (RM)
on the 27th February, 2020 at 4:39pm
Since when is passing the ball backwards going to score goals, the midfield needs improvement however Sarri no matter what the boards says was a last resort when Guardiola said no to juventus.....
on the 27th February, 2020 at 4:32pm
The very first comment by Sten says it all. If Juve brings Pogba back and then Tonali (as the new Pirlo) it will be a step in the right direction. It's too early to give up on Betancur as the Marchisio box to box type. He's only 22. What Juve do need is the tenacious pitbull a la Vidal. Not sure what names can fit the bill this summer, but if they can find that player and bring in the aforementioned Pogba and Tonali then Juve will have a truly formidable midfield yet again.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 4:19pm
This team has become unwatchable. Slow, plodding, no passion, no heart. Sarri was a mistake, I did say so when he was hired, not that that matters. So many problems, Danilo, terrible. Rabiot, negative energy, really doesn't seem to care. Bonucci sucks. And I know everyone loves Ronaldo but he needs to be less selfish and stop taking free kicks. I think we win 2-1 in the return leg and are bounced out which might be what needs to happen so we can end this failed Sarri experiment.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 4:03pm
Juve are simply not good enough to win the Champions League.
Lets not blame Sarri and throw him under the bus during his first season.
Juve have been playing badly for several months and are only top tks to their 12th Man - the REFEREE!. They have at least 15 more points that deserved all tks to corrupt fiat REFEREES!
In Europe they do not get this extra help and this was shown last night by the brilliant referee. 1996 is a long time away - and they can keep dreaming! forza Milan
on the 27th February, 2020 at 3:41pm
Easy to speak when things are poor folks. Indeed, much of what has been stated may be true (even though you don't get that sense from player comments over past months), however, the team is where it is now and will not change personnel until the year is over. I would add (& have been saying since Aug) that is was a mistake to let Mandzukic go for this year. We have no number 9, and it would have helped Ronaldo & Dybala. At this point, we must be patient and that is not easy for any fan.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 3:40pm
Sell Pjanic.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 3:01pm
@Baggio10 Juve fan here too 1-Sarri have to go seen how juve tryed crosses most of d time vs Lyon made me sad cos apart from Ronaldo noone in that team was good at scoring crosses and he was d one to do this croses...... bad choise for tactic and starting 11 whit that style of play. 2-Juve have no defence Chielini injured and defence is horid.Bonuchi is half d player he was before joining milan.quadrado is notdefender and sandro and danilo are very big downgrade to evra and dani alves
on the 27th February, 2020 at 3:00pm
@Anonymous totaly agree for ramsey and rabiot they bring too little for their big Salary,Matuidi have more energy and is beter fit then them,no point for Pjanic to go as we dont have a beter player then him to play in his role.Danilo is as clear downgrade to cancelo as sarri is to Alegri,i like berna sadly he is never used in his best position they play him anyware but on d wings.And finaly i think Alex sandro have to go this days he only thry to get past someone infront juve penalty area,.
on the 27th February, 2020 at 2:51pm

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