Saturday July 18 2020
Not much Sarri in this Juventus

Maurizio Sarri has failed to make Juventus more than the sum of their parts, writes Owen Diana, but the Champions League could save him.

When Maurizio Sarri arrived at Juventus last summer, it marked the end of an unconventional climb to the top of the coaching pyramid. By hiring the former banker, Italy’s most powerful club hoped that they could finally reach the summit of the Champions League, a tournament that had tormented them for decades. When the Champions League resumes in August, Sarri will have the chance to lead The Old Lady to an elusive third title. However, Juve’s recent performances suggest that the vision of Giorgio Chiellini lifting Ol’ Big Ears at Lisbon’s Estádio da Luz later this summer is little more than a pipe dream.

In the last few weeks, Juventus have looked a shell of the self-assured side that has dominated the domestic scene for nearly a decade. They needed two penalties against Atalanta, the second of which was a naïve handball by forward Luis Muriel, to scrape a draw at home. Even two-goal leads, usually a guarantee of three points for a side of Juve’s pedigree, were surrendered against Milan and Sassuolo.

The defensive fragility will be a major worry for Sarri as he prepares for the decisive second leg against Lyon. However, he should be more concerned by the state of Juve’s attack. With most of the season gone, ‘Sarriball’ has only made fleeting appearances. Atalanta and Sassuolo controlled possession and territory against their more illustrious opponent, stringing together dizzying short-passing interchanges that were supposed to be the hallmark of Sarri’s Juventus. Meanwhile, set pieces or long balls towards Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala were The Old Lady’s most promising attacking outlets in both matches.

On paper, Sarri seemed an odd choice to bring The Old Lady long-awaited European glory. Last season’s Europa League triumph with Chelsea was the only major title on his CV. Nevertheless, the enthralling football that he engineered at Empoli and Napoli was a clear departure from the more pragmatic style favoured by previous incumbent Massimiliano Allegri. As a result, it was possible that Sarri’s Juventus would concede more often than Allegri’s version. Yet, more progress on the implementation of a fluid, exciting attacking strategy would have surely been expected by this point.

Fortunately for Sarri and Juventus, the margins in this season’s Champions League knockout stages are much finer than in other years. A single-match elimination format means that only four games separate The Old Lady from long-awaited European glory. With Ronaldo and Dybala in the team, Juventus can play poorly and still defeat any opponent on the continent. However, Sarri has failed to make Juve more than the sum of their parts.

The Old Lady’s superior individual quality is enough to perpetuate their domestic hegemony. Even after taking only two points from their last three league matches, a ninth consecutive Scudetto is nearly assured thanks to the inconsistent form of main chasers Inter and Lazio. Yet, talent alone does not guarantee European success. If Sarri cannot find the right formula come August, his reign at Juventus is likely to end after just one season.

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Have your say...
i believe sari ball is going to get juvey anywhere. if your look back the last ten games. all goals were mistake from other teams or setpeaces.juvey can't even creates chances anymore.if sari fails to win the CL.he's get to go.bring alagri back at least.
on the 3rd August, 2020 at 2:16am
Letting allegri go was one of the strangest decisions over. in 5 years this guy won 11 out of a possible 14 domestic trophies along with 2 UCL finals.
in 5 years - took the team to 2 UCL finals. in the game against real madrid - in the QF - well they played a perfect game until the last minute. Juve under him was one of the most compact sides, impossible to breakdown.

not too sure about cr7 signing also - could have used the money for something else
on the 27th July, 2020 at 8:05pm
@ I MISS MARCO BRANCA - Paratici is terrible at planning and has no strategy. When he brought in Ronaldo and DeLigt, he desparately tried to offload his strikers to finance the purchases. Manzu left on a free tansfer. Nobody wanted Higuain because of his huge wage bill. And, Dybala refused to leave. Do you know why? Beacsue, it was all an afterthought. He had not planned it. He has managed to ruin the club's wage structure. Given the chnace, I rather see Marotta than Allegri back at the club.
on the 23rd July, 2020 at 1:31pm
@Jay: "Juve has been heading in the wrong direction since Marotta's departure" are you nuts?! Under Paratici we have sold mostly where we can make a profit - Paratici is not like Ausilio who spends 140 mill + Zaniolo for Gabigol, Kondogbia, Joar Mario and Nainggolan - this is Juve and Paratici has made this team young with Deligt, Demiral, Kulusevski and we already have Dybala, Bernadeschi, Bentancur, Rabiot...leave the geezers to Marotta and Conte!
on the 20th July, 2020 at 5:52pm
Anyway, It's better for Juve fans to keep calm and forget about Juve's identity: Italian grinta - solid defense and watch Juve slowly grows with Sarri's spanish football idea next year. Oh, I disagree with you about Paratici-Nedved. They have been doing decent job. I blame all this mess to spoiled Juve fans who wanted Allegri out.
on the 20th July, 2020 at 12:26pm

Spot on! Sarri inherited Napoli squad from Spanish coach with spanish players as the core. I mean, He could perform Sarrismo in his first year because his squad had been familiar with how to play possession - attacking football. And now, He can't repeat what he's done at Napoli because Juve's recent squad was meant for Allegri (minus Dybala, Costa, and all players who can't serve Ronaldo well). If only Allegri were still at Juve, he would have won scudetto and coppa...
on the 20th July, 2020 at 12:25pm

You're so right, personally i'm not sure I believe it's true but if Ramsey really is on £400k a week that is such stupid business for an injury prone player who will be near impossible to move on. It can work well as with Can who was sold on for profit, Rabiot could well end up the same but it seems Juve just want to pick up any free transfer going for the sake of it
on the 20th July, 2020 at 10:45am
Besides, Juve has been heading in the wrong direction since Marotta's departure. Paratici and Nedved are largely clueless and have no idea how to do business. They spent all of last summer trying to offload the most suited palyer to Sarri's style - Dybala. On top of that, they have this mornonic obsession with signing out of contract players, and putting them on astronomical salaries - which then makes them illiquid assets. They think they are being shrewd and smart!!
on the 20th July, 2020 at 10:04am
2/2 - with the right plyers suited to his style. At the moment, it feels like Juve = Ronaldo + 10, which was not the case at Napoli. We have already seen glimpses of Sarri's style and it works. Higuain's goal against Sassuolo was exactly that. He needs the right tools to play his style of football. If Juve want another Allegri at the helms, then bring him back. Otherwise, their fans should shut up and let this man get on with the job.
on the 20th July, 2020 at 8:47am
1/2 - There is no way Sarri can play the kind of dynamic attacking football he brought to Napoli at Juve in his first year. Simply put, this team is not built for that. Just one look at the Juve MF and the only thing you can is do laugh. The MF is old, sluggish and bereft of creativity. Yes, Allegri was a good coach but he just took over where Conte left off. Sarri is trying to introduce a very new style of playing. He needs the management to be fully committed to this project and support him
on the 20th July, 2020 at 8:35am
It's obviously just paper talk but I still feel Juve are being linked with all the wrong players. Hopefully Higuain leaves, great, but why replace him with a 29 year old Jiminez or Lacazette? Both are good players but in 1 or 2 years time they'll be in exactly the same position as they are now where they're looking to move them on for being old and on high wages. Why not look for a younger player who will be in the squad for 5-6 years and they won't have to worry about that position for a while.
on the 19th July, 2020 at 9:59am
Only Alegri is smiling these days, Its very difficult to play attractive football in Italy,
This is the reason Sarri was brought in but this idea is starting to look bad as Juve are struggling in almost all areas of the pitch! We can blame many players but ultimately the Sarri will take the fall as he has failed to transform the team, Juve have regressed since his arrival unfortunately, they should try to lure Klopp to this side as he could bring this team the cl glory they are looking for
on the 19th July, 2020 at 3:49am
Only Alegri is smiling these days, Its very difficult to play attractive football in Italy,
This is the reason Sarri was brought in but this idea is starting to look bad as Juve are struggling in almost all areas of the pitch! We can blame many players but ultimately the Sarri will take the fall as he has failed to transform the team, Juve have regressed since his arrival unfortunately, they should try to lure Klopp to this side as he could bring this team the cl glory they are looking for
on the 19th July, 2020 at 3:49am
This is also a bit antithetical to Juve and even the Italian approach in general where they promote experience over youth and you saw that preference for experience heavily when Allegri was in charge. But it's a philiopshy beyond Sarri that they will need to accept in order to go beyond domestic trophies. Teams like Atalanta are forced to use this approach because of their budget. But Juve have to realize that Atalanta's approach and youth won against their Ronaldo at the end of the day.
on the 18th July, 2020 at 9:50pm
For me, the discussion needs to be around players also and not always Sarri. We all agree that Sarri ball requires a certain chemistry from "all" players on the team. Yet I still see passes being forced through Ronaldo when others are in better positions. This is not a team effort and Ronaldo is past his prime where he had the pace and could be selfish and effective at the same time. You want to play like Atalanta? Start prioritizing youth over has been players like Ronaldo.
on the 18th July, 2020 at 9:39pm
juve have ronaldo, dybala and higuian as striking options it is hardly surprising that are not interested in playing integrate passes when you have that kind of quality up front

in any case it juve have always played a particular style even in the days of del piero, nedved or in the days of zidane they were relatively conservative.

besides sarri free flowing integrate style won napoli nothing at chelsea they just about made the top 4. if they win the tittle what does it matter?
on the 18th July, 2020 at 8:30pm
He should have never been brought in to begin with. He was the wrong choice, and we can thank Tootsie and Blondie for that.

Sorri the bus driver is the antithesis of a Juve coach. Classless, clueless, and lacking both charisma and the winning gene.

I wish Zidane were still available - that's a coach befitting of Juventus.
on the 18th July, 2020 at 7:13pm
Have to agree with bento. This team started to go downhill once Ronaldo joined.

Dybala around whom the team should be built around was sidelined.

Higuain who operates well with dybala but is constantly being pushed out of the door cos of his high wage

Bernardeski never gets a game the midfielders always chopping and changing the only constant is Ronaldo

Heck the guy starts every game and is never substituted ever

He does wonders for the bottom line but any idea of a team has been sacrificed
on the 18th July, 2020 at 6:42pm
Not much Sarri in this Juventus?????Ican only see Sarri in this juventus,full of excuses evry time some goes wrong its not his falt.year ago 2-0 wos geme won for sure now they need to score 3 to just get a draw wft.No champions mentality aswell he managet to kill that too
on the 18th July, 2020 at 4:56pm
Ronaldo needs to stop taking free kicks and he has missed too many attempts. Juventus era is slowly coming to a END. They will win the SCUDETTO and next year they will FADE. SARRI is a top manager but he needs to change some players and change tactics.
on the 18th July, 2020 at 4:26pm
The Champions League will be full confirmation that Sarri is NOT the man required to win Juventus trophies. IF we edge past Lyon, look for our team to give up 5 plus goals to either City or Real, we are that bad......
on the 18th July, 2020 at 3:48pm
I'm with Sarri, he delivered EL cup while criticized day and night by Blues fans. Belive me, he will deliver CL cup for Juve this time
on the 18th July, 2020 at 3:18pm
@ Bento

I completely agree, Ronaldo is so selfish he only passes if he absolutely has to or if there's a high chance he'll get the ball straight back in a scoring position. He takes free kicks in shooting positions that should be left to Dybala and he's scored 11 penalties. He's a phenomenal player no doubt but he's lost his pace and contributes little to nothing in the build up. If Dybala was on pens and free kicks he'd have 25 league goals and then team would be more functional without Ron
on the 18th July, 2020 at 1:48pm
It's hard to string together dizzying short-passing interchanges when you have a player like Ronaldo who always first wants to take a few touches to see if he can create a chance for himself. Despite all his goals he completely ruins the attacking flow.
on the 18th July, 2020 at 11:44am
Juve have been poor most of the season, which doesn't say much about the quality of the rest of the league if they are still on course for yet another title with one of the worst squads they've had in a decade.

Hopefully Lazio will get at least a draw and let Atalanta and Inter back into the race a bit.

As for the CL, it looks like a pipe dream, alright. Even Lyon at home might be too much for them, let alone a stronger opponent.
on the 18th July, 2020 at 11:28am

Regarding Sarri it's a difficult one, i'd be tempted to keep him on, give him more of the players he wants and see if he can implement his style. On the other hand Pochettino is available right now and there aren't many top teams searching for a manager so Juve would have a great chance of getting him. Do you give Sarri more time only for him to fail in 9 months and Poch has already gone elsewhere. Tough choices
on the 18th July, 2020 at 9:48am
1. Juve lack that threat in behind the opposition defence, someone like Mane, Sterling, Mbappe, i'm not suggesting for one second that Juve could get any of those players but they need someone who is a constant threat in behind and doesn't just want to come short to feet all the time. In possession they need to stretch the pitch to create space for the likes of Dybala and the midfield to operate and having a player in the team willing to do that will help so much
on the 18th July, 2020 at 9:45am
secondly i think juve can still do some damage in the c.legaue due to its unpredictability. but i feel juve neeeds to have its best 11 available. so to me we need to win the scudetto as fast as possible. rest some tired legs and get ready for lyon. like i said maybe its rotation but juve have these 'blackouts' whenever pjanic plays. vs milan, sassuolo, ajax, vs real madrid in the c.league final. if juve continues with a workrate midfield of matuidi-bentencur-rabiot we will do well.
on the 18th July, 2020 at 7:24am
once Sarri secures the scudetto i would give him another season with the players he wants.u have to get players willing to play in the system.right now i dont see much of the 1-2 touch passing and movement. he is making a mistake continuing to play pjanic. maybe it is just rotation.but for the crucial games against lazio he should play his best midfield in matuidi-bentencur-rabiot.the best front 3 is ronaldo-dybala-costa. but i think he is being cautious with costa due to injuries,understandable
on the 18th July, 2020 at 7:18am
It's like these bloggers have never kicked a ball/participated in a match which required players to develop chemistry.

Oh, wait, that's EXACTLY it - these horrendous FI scribes have never been on a football field for 90 mins in their life.

Allegri polished an already set system of champions like BBBC and MVPP and pushed them to the peak of their performance.

Sarri has inherited a set system of winners, but he needs them to change mindset and adapt... How about time, and patience?
on the 18th July, 2020 at 6:50am

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