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Tuesday June 16 2020
Will Sarri's Juventus stand up?

Juventus were the first team to reach the Olimpico showpiece but, as Livio Caferoglu writes, they have plenty to mull over before the Final with Napoli...

For Juventus, there was an overriding sense of relief when Gianluca Rocchi blew for full-time last Friday. They booked their place in the Coppa Italia Final, courtesy of a goalless draw with Milan, and pulled through without any injuries, even managing to play a bit in the first half. However, their performance levels plummeted after the restart, leaving Maurizio Sarri with more questions than answers going into Wednesday’s Final against former club Napoli.

Granted, Juve were playing for the first time in over three months and so were never going to press for 90 minutes. They flew out the traps and, despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s saved penalty, seemed to be heading for a goal fest when Ante Rebic was sent off for a kung-fu kick. Yet the red card had the opposite effect on the two teams. Instead, Milan sparked into life with one less man, whereas the Bianconeri looked laboured and lethargic.

Yet for those first 20-30 minutes, it was perhaps the best football Maurizio Sarri’s Juve have ever played. Even the coach confessed to being “very surprised and satisfied, as we moved the ball so quickly and totally dominated the game. After that, we slowly dropped our tempo, intensity and determination.” This is the quandary that continues to torment Bianconeri supporters, as they see flashes of what could be an unstoppable and spectacular force, but too often this team trudges along. Is it worth sticking with the project, and how long will it take for them to replicate some of the style he had at Napoli?

While it’s true that the Rossoneri never came close to breaking down Juve, the same could be said in reverse. Miralem Pjanic played as if his head was already at Barcelona, Paulo Dybala was clearly unfit, Douglas Costa was wrongly sacrificed and none of the substitutes made any impact. In the end, away goals were their salvation – and even then the winner was an equaliser, scored against 10 men, from the penalty spot and deep in injury time.

Sarri is expected to make changes for the Final, starting in midfield where Sami Khedira is likely to replace Pjanic, in turn giving more prominence to Rodrigo Bentancur. Elsewhere, Juan Cuadrado could fill in for Douglas Costa out wide, but Gonzalo Higuain, Giorgio Chiellini, Aaron Ramsey and Merih Demiral are all unlikely to recover in time to face Napoli. The loss of Higuain, in particular, should see Cristiano Ronaldo stay on as the lone striker.

Although he failed to score in the second leg against Milan, Ronaldo’s contribution showed CR9 could be possibly more effective than CR7. He averaged nine attempts on goal, compared to 5.4 on average from the left wing, created more chances (two compared to 1.4 on average) and played more passes to teammates (66 compared to an average of 56.1). Dybala is an option as a false nine, but Sarri appears inclined to stick with the Portuguese up top.

Having already let one trophy slip this season, Sarri can’t afford to pass up the Coppa too if he wants to lay the building blocks for Juve’s future. The circumstances are far from ideal, but winning is all that counts for the Old Lady and their coach must demonstrate he is aware of that on Wednesday.

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Have your say...
@TOTO: i am impressed at your soccer knowledge because I have been saying the same things myself ! But do not be too hard on Parataci because everyone he sold he made profit - we do not want to be like some teams in Italy that buy high and sell low because that will destroy everything that Juve worked for.
on the 23rd June, 2020 at 8:09pm
The forwards isn't doing anything to help the midfield either, har to create something when all forwards ahve their back towards enemy goal and standing still. They have to run to force enemy defenders to move and get out of position. Can't really stare in a goal
on the 21st June, 2020 at 1:05am
The worrying thing is that even with those 3 I mentioned they would still lack in the right back position and another top class CM to play with Bentancur and Auoar but at least they'd be moving in the right direction.

Costa, Khedira, Rugani, Higuain, Rabiot, Matuidi, Perin, Ramsey, Bernadeschi all expendable. They obviously can't all leave but at least half of them have to go
on the 19th June, 2020 at 2:39pm
3 players i'd like to see at Juve who are all affordable and realistically would want to go.

1) Aouar: 22 years old, technically excellent and can replace Pjanic. The Lyon president said if he has to sell him he wants to sell to Juve. £35mill + Matuidi

2) Richarlison: 22 years old, can play wide or up front, has good pace and is aggressive and direct which Juve need more of. £50mill

3) Moussa Diaby: 20 years old, lightning quick and extremely direct. Replaces Costa as the super sub. £35mill
on the 19th June, 2020 at 2:37pm
Juve lacks playmaking midfielders and attacking full backs plain and simple. When Pirlo was running the show we passed the ball with ease and the results spoke for themselves but those years we lacked a good enough attack. Now we lack the midfield quality so Juve needs to make some changes like get a regista and attacking midfielder and more importantly full backs that move forward, move quickly, press and oh year cross the ball. I hope they fire paratici as his strategy was an epic failure.
on the 19th June, 2020 at 1:44pm
The criticism of Sarri is unwarranted. He is an excellent coach in a difficult situation.
Coaching Juve is always a herculean task with expectations always very high.
Moving away from Allegri's defensive nature to Sarri's attacking style is a transition that requires patience and players that embrace the change.
Sarri needs more of a Jorhingo type of playmaker as well as better ball movement and passing from the midfield and wings. There is nothing wrong with CR, Dyb other then better teamwork.
on the 19th June, 2020 at 1:35pm
My name. Period.
on the 17th June, 2020 at 10:21pm
Khedira, Pjanic, and Matuidi all need to be replaced. Then we can talk about Sarri.
on the 17th June, 2020 at 12:41pm
42 y.o. goalkeeper - incredible.
on the 17th June, 2020 at 10:39am
This issue was exacerbated by players refusal to leave - Mandzukic (devastated to see him go) the only professional amongst them. For me the question isn't about Sarri's success, its more "how were Juve so successful this whole time". We have a team of fighters who grind out results. Whilst I admire the resolve, after 30 years of watching this I'm sick of seeing these close contests when we should batter teams 4,5-nil. Sarri's examination can only take place after he's had a proper transfer wind
on the 17th June, 2020 at 2:36am
Juve shouldnt really bother reviewing this season-it would be unfair to Sarri. I, myself, was quick to criticise but the issue remains that he hasn't been able to buy a single player who is comfortable on the ball and absorbing pressure. This current Juventus midfield panic when there's an opponent within a 10m radius of them. Unfortunately for juve they have a massive wage bill they need to reduce before signing players that fit the mould of that higher brand of football they desire.
on the 17th June, 2020 at 2:35am
LOl people are still hyping up how Milan played. Juve, like other teams have a game every few days and you expect them to come back from 3 months off to just steam roll teams?? You honestly think Milan couldn't touch the ball the first few mins and then after the red they some how found mental and physical strength to compete with 11-man Juve? LOL. Juve played like garbage but let's be honest, if Juve had to win that match they would have. CR7 would not be trying rabona crosses lol
on the 16th June, 2020 at 5:35pm
@ Omar Makko

I agree about the midfield, very ponderous, no athleticism and ball circulation is far too slow. Bentancur looks great but he needs to be playing alongside some real quality. Juve have a bloated, aging squad full of deadwood and a huge couple of transfer windows are coming up. Get it right and they'll continue to dominate. Get it wrong and the era will be over like happened to Milan when they hung on to ageing stars for too long and then lost them all at once
on the 16th June, 2020 at 12:00pm
really we are judging the team after 3 months of no football!

here is the thing, Mr. sari (the coach) knows better than all of you plastic fans/keyboard football experts.
on the 16th June, 2020 at 11:57am
Omar Makko, did you mix up your red and blue jellies again?
on the 16th June, 2020 at 11:16am
I only took away positives from the game. As you say yourself Livio, they flew out of the traps and seemed to be headed for a goal fest, but then Milan settled for a 0-0 after being reduced to 10 men.
The lack of fitness was evident and that is perfectly understandable. We need to get the squad back to peak fitness and it has never been more crucial to avoid injuries with a tonne of games coming up thick and fast. Biggest positives - 1. Bentancur performance 2. Costa performance and not injured
on the 16th June, 2020 at 11:08am
Sarri needs to get back to putting bentancur at regista.i still like dybala playing as striker and ronaldo as the winger. juve need to get back to how they played vs inter.
on the 16th June, 2020 at 10:18am
As a faithful Juve supporter, I am supporting Napoli tomorrow night. Juve’s management needs to be woken up to see that they made a mistake appointing this worthless phys ed coach with his tracksuits. He is not made for big teams.
on the 16th June, 2020 at 6:24am
I am not optimistic. We bring in the wrong man, an inflexible stubborn geezer with no proven track record of success. Tumorous Tootsie, The Czech Cyst, and The Chain Smoking Cancer parading as a coach will be the demise of this team.

That midfield is pathetic, Bentancur aside. Let's see what happens in the summer, and if the management finally wake up and realize the midfield is a steaming pile of garbage.
on the 16th June, 2020 at 3:20am

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