Saturday August 8 2020
Juve's Champions League curse continues

Juventus failed in Europe yet again, this time eliminated by a tactically-astute Lyon, but Elio Salerno saw problems that extend far beyond just Maurizio Sarri.

It was another night of misery in the Champions League for Juventus, as The Old Lady were again sent packing in Europe’s elite football competition. The feeling of disappointment will be overwhelming for Juventini, but what will perhaps hurt the most is that this latest elimination is not at all surprising.

With two wins from their last eight Serie A matches, the Bianconeri came into this game in dreadful form and had been made to look average domestically by teams with less quality than Lyon. This outcome had been on the horizon for many months, whilst in previous years they could have perhaps hid behind the success of another Scudetto, this time around Juve’s flaws have been well and truly exposed.

Missing their creative jewel Paulo Dybala was undoubtedly a devastating blow to Juve’s chances of recovering from the first leg deficit, but there was hope that Cristiano Ronaldo would have another magical night in the tournament he thrives in. However, a truly woeful penalty decision inside the opening 15 minutes from German official Felix Zwayer gifted Lyon a crucial away goal. Converted expertly by Memphis Depay, it was a call that ultimately knocked the Italian champions out.

Terrible officiating aside, over the course of 90 minutes La Vecchia Signora were in no way superior to a Lyon team that had played just one competitive game in over three months. To the French side’s credit, they matched Juve in every department and had no physical problems later in the match.

The visitors replicated the 3-1-4-2 that served them well in the previous meeting. Rudi Garcia’s team took few risks and were calculated in their use of the ball. Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes used a nice mix of long and short passes from the back, allowing Lyon to maintain control over how the game was played.

Juve never got to grips with Lyon’s shape. La Madama were unable to press when their opponents did play short, as they simply lack the dynamic players required to cover distances quickly. If Sarri’s team pressed against Lyon’s back three, Bruno Guimaraes supported from his holding midfield position to provide an overload. If a Juventus midfield player jumped onto Guimaraes, they would simply use their wing backs to escape.

The width provided by Max Cornet and Leo Dubois was key in allowing Lyon to have important spells of possession. Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro could not push high through fear of leaving spaces around the side and Juve’s narrow midfield were not releasing early enough to apply pressure in wide areas.

If Sarri’s men were being asked questions without possession, when they had it, the problems continued anyway. If an onslaught was expected from the home team, what materialized instead was Cristiano Ronaldo on a one-man mission carrying a laboured attack on his shoulders.

It was the same old problem that had been seen time and again this campaign. Ball speed was slow, there was little in the way of vertical progression into dangerous spaces beyond and around Lyon’s midfield line. On occasions Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur flirted with the idea of positioning themselves higher, but in general when Miralem Pjanic had possession, there was almost no way of playing forward.

As anticipated, the away side reverted into a 5-3-2 block, and as in the reverse fixture, it proved effective. Rudi Garcia knew the Turin giants would prefer to play through central areas, so they remained compact and were happy to concede the ball to Juve’s deeply positioned full-backs, where they knew could squeeze play. Aside from the spectacular or a spot-kick, this Juventus are extremely limited and it is a trait that has been developing over the last couple of years, but has been emphasised even further this season.

Play in the final third was again disjointed and it turned into a desperate case of attempting to find Ronaldo at every opportunity, be it via crosses or other avenues. The Portuguese superstar did everything in his power, at times it was a throwback to his best days. A team that should have been built for Ronaldo again relied on him to do the job, but this time not even one of the greatest could make up for the mediocre supporting cast.

Cohesion was always going to triumph here, a characteristic that Juve sorely lack. Mister Sarri has a distinct lack of tactical flexibility and it is highlighted on these occasions. When Plan A is faltering, that’s where a coach earns his salary by making a difference from the sidelines. Worryingly for Juve, Sarri has shown an inability to do this at the top level where it is needed most.

The inquest into this defeat will run for weeks, the new season is around the corner and the pressure on Sarri will be significantly ramped up following this embarrassing exit. Fingers will be rightly pointed at the former Napoli tactician, but the issues here run beyond the coach. There are problems in multiple departments from the management, to the playing squad and how recruitment has been handled in recent times.

For the first time in years Juventus are vulnerable, their normally unwavering self-belief appears to be breaking. There is no quick fix, a revolution is needed and the next few weeks could be decisive in shaping Juve’s future success.

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Have your say...
Juve has no quality outside of Italy and they never will - specially, with these directors in charge. Since Marotta left the club, Paratici and Nedved have systematically destroyed the team. How long do they think they can ride the 'free transfer' train? With the players they currently have, not even god can win them the UCL. If Agnelli is serious about the future, he should sack these two football gangsters. Sacking the caoch is a cowardly way of dealing with the real issues in the club.
on the 10th August, 2020 at 8:54am
Ask I MISS MARCO BRANCA what happened, he knows everything.
on the 9th August, 2020 at 9:03am
Pirlo will give us the European DNA.... just like Milan and it will probably last 30 years like them and then Juve will RIP because AC Milan is done for the next 20-30 years (just like their European pedigree disappeared after their win in the 60's and didnt return for 2 decades)
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:22pm
LMAO!!! And if Agnelli wasn’t completely ridiculous up to now, he hires Pirlo as their new coach?! PIRLO?! Has everyone at Juve lost their mind?! You have time, Don’t throw anything and the kitchen sink into the coaching position. Make intelligent decisions here. Instead this?
on the 8th August, 2020 at 7:20pm
It’s amazing how Juve fan fail to realise that the only reason they keep winning the league despite being bad is due to obvious favours they get in Italy. One notable moment was when they were supposed to face Inter after losing against Lyon without a single shot in goal. Then 24 hrs before the match was cancelled after being allowed to go through without fans and both parties agreed. I’m glad Lyon finished the job they started it’s hard to win in a competition equal treatment and no favours.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 6:27pm
Sarri... Allegri.... How many Coaches does Juve need to go through to realize that maybe Champion's League Glory is not in their DNA :)
on the 8th August, 2020 at 5:15pm
Also, "both" Management and Coaches have been questionable. Started with Allegri, moving on a promising youngster such as K.Coman to Bayern? Not playing promising youngster M.Kean? Acquiring perpetually injury prone players like Costa and Ramsey? and then going after and keeping overweight, digressing and aging players such as Higuain, Ronaldo, Khedira, Bonucci, Sandro, Rugani? Continually playing a non-attacking midfielder, Pjanic who's already out the door because you have no one else?
on the 8th August, 2020 at 4:48pm
So much drama from ppl. Juve had already lost this in the 1st match with Lyon with 0 goals. You can't win in Euro competitions with 0 goals and they've always been more about keeping clean sheets then scoring goals. Everyone knows this. You want to break the curse? The mantra has to change. Scoring is more important then keeping clean sheets in the Modern game. This is the reality and it may seem crazy but ask yourself how a small team like Atalanta can get to the CL and Juve keep loosing in it.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 4:33pm
Sarri was more concerned for his player then for his own future.
In this difficult and troubling season Sarri did a tremendous job juggling the many egos of his club and sacrificing his ideas of attacking football, often concentrating on using a more defensive strategy even without Chiellini. It wasn't easy but he always kept his composure and did win the title.
In this modern era the competition for the best talent constantly evolves and will become more challenging as teams strive to be # 1.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 4:03pm
Firstly, this is the worst performing Juve I've seen in years and yet Inter and co still couldn't overtake them so what does that say about them? We won the league despite having Sarri and broken players like Costa, Sandro and Khedira. Time to shift the deadwood and get decisive players. Pjanic is a ghost in midfield, certainly no Pirlo replacement. Sarriball is as bad as Zemanlandia. Now we know we can walk Serie A without effort, more focus on CL. Play youngsters in A and they'd still win it.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:58pm
Firing Sarri is not the answer, nor for that matter was firing Allegri.
The overpowering desire to be the best and win the Champions league though admirable is a psychological impediment and challege to Juve management. Why?

As in any sport luck and refereeing play a role in a challenging tournament with other competetive teams.
How often does the "best" team in a league or tournament fail, too many to count, often due to unforseen circumstances.
Sarri didn't play Dybala to insure his future.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:52pm
Jidane the only choice left for juvey ...
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:42pm
i think Juve's biggest problem is Ronaldo, all decision are to acomodate him in the expense of Others, even coach didnt dare to chalange him coz investment on him is too big. if i am in the helm of Dir sport, i would sell him
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:39pm
Juventus have little power and quality in Europe. Lack of quality football shows in Europe. They rely solely on a 35 year old to win matches because he did it at Real Madrid. Defence is weak now but I am sure will improve next year when Max is back to win another glorious championship. Juventus are bad for Serie A. A bad representation. 2/36 or is it 38 or maybe 50 championships they claim. Rubentus! If they can’t win fairly they find another way! They stain Serie A
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:31pm
I hope this will be the wake up call Juventus need. They keep focusing on winning an uncompetitive league. They are making Serie A look like a joke! Why? They focus on winning domestically to keep the local Italian supporters on side and make more fans that are not from Turin. Juventus is only supported for their championship success. Not the style of football they play. Juventus play ugly to win and they need to wake up if they have any European ambition.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:27pm
they should have never hired sarri if they weren't prepared to back his ideas as a coach. It was just simper to get rid of sarri than change the playing style of juventus.

btw congratulations to lyon
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:03pm
I know it sounds like sour grapes but UEFA should have cancelled away goals as Lyon played the first game in front of their fans. Juve would have got through in extra time. Clearly Sarri has not been able to find a cohesive mix but recruitment has to be looked at - Why buy Rabiot when you have similiar players like Costa and Bernie? Why buy Ramsey and not play him? Also, Juve need a top, top striker. Higuin is just not in that class. Roma were awful and Juve are out. Serie A is going backwards.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 2:26pm
ever since italian clubs started buying foriegn defenders they all have performed badly in europe foreign defenders are not deciplined like italians they dont understand the art of defending
on the 8th August, 2020 at 1:35pm
Pathetic. Lyon were 28 points behind PSG in Ligue 1 before the postponement. And yet, the so called champions of Serie A couldn't beat them. Laughing stock.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 12:49pm
Congrats to LYON
They have beaten the best team of the world
Who won 9 titles In a row .... I am a juve fan
This is a laughing joke 9 times winners and loose To a
Mid table team

Well done 9 time winners juve lol
on the 8th August, 2020 at 12:48pm
Let's hope Inter win the Europa and Atalanta and Napoli make good progress in the CL because right now Serie A is a laughing stock. Again.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:46am
Ronaldo Part 2 - It's very difficult to coach a a team with Ronaldo as the team has to play for Ronaldo and the system has to fit that. 4-3-3 does not fit a Ronaldo team. A 4-4-2 would be better as Ancelotti and Zidane used with him. Still, I get back to his selfishness and how that makes the other players go back into their shells - he always takes shots when he should play people into the box. Juve should sell him and use the funds to invest in talented players that better fit the club ethos
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:46am
Ronaldo Part 1 - Let's talk about the elephant in the room. For all of Ronaldo's greatness, he simply does not fit this club. The club has actually gone backwards in the last two years and we made 2 UCL finals without him. He is simply too selfish and has made the players around him less effective because of this selfishness. For example he has taken 46 free kicks for a return of ONE goal! Pjanic and Dybala used to score 4-5 goals from free kicks but now are barely allowed to take one.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:40am
Congrats to Lyon. They are a decent side and I hope they can build on this momentum and play to their best in the next round against Abu Dhabi.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:31am
Sczcesny - PERIN - Buffon
ATAL - Cuadrado - De Sciglio
Demiral - Bonucci
De Ligt - Chiellini - ROMERO
Bentancur - LOCATELLI
Ronaldo - ISAK

Too many changes, probably, but they really need an overhaul. Aouar might be another option.

Time for Rugani, Danilo, Khedira, Higuain and Pjaca to go.

And Sandro, Ramsey, Rabiot, De Sciglio, Costa, Bernardeschi are there or thereabouts too.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:31am

I'd like to see at least one young Italian prospect as a key player (not a Locatelli, who isn't even in contention of a squad place for Italy's midfield).

Does Sarri gel with Ronaldo? No, so why give him another season, he could put his stamp on Juve and improve performances BUT does that suit the reason Ronaldo was bought - time is running out to utilise him. Perhaps Poch / Allegri back for a few seasons until what seems inevitable - Guardiola becoming manager (when available)
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:27am
The coach does need to go in my opinion. His comments after the game about performing better than expected were a joke. Even with injuries, a bad PK decision and some average midfielders he should be able to get them fired up for a match against a mid table French team. The players should have been sent out for the second half to give EVERYTHING for the shirt. Put 4 men in attack. Try everything to win. The mentality is all wrong.
So fire Sarri, and sign a LOT of new young players.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:19am
Not suprised with Juve's early exit. Apart from winnnng their 9th consecutive Scudetto, Juve's performances throughout the season never suggested they would reach great heights in the CL.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 11:06am
i have no problems with sarri staying next season. but if rumours of pochettino is true. i think his 4-4-2 and 4231 would suit dybala and ronaldo.
Ronaldo--dybala/Duvan Zapata
Sandro/Gosens--Dermiral--de ligt--Meunier

Duvan zapata
Sandro/Gosens--Dermiral--de ligt--Meunier
i think got a raw deal but perhaps pocchettino is a better fit. i am not sure the possesion style suits CR7
on the 8th August, 2020 at 10:52am
keep the coach. makes no sense firing him. the main issue is the market. IN: mids: Arthur, Aouar, Verratti, ST:Duvan Zapata, LB:Gosens, Winger: Kulusevski, Boga rback:Meunier
OUT: Bernardeshi, Higuain, Rugani, Douglas Costa, Ramsey, Pjanic, Khedira, De siglio
Next season: Attackers: Kulusevski, Duvan zapata, Ronaldo, Dybala, Cuadrado, Boga
Midfielders; Arthur, Bentancur,Aouar,Verratti,Matuidi,Rabiot
Defence: Gosens, Sandro, Meunier, bonucci, Chiellini, Romero, De Ligt, Dermiral, Danilo
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:52am

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