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...
Also, how do u expect to do anything significant with only two great players in the middle & attack? For years, everyone's been saying that Rubentus need a killer striker, somewhat of Icardi caliber, yet they stick with Higuain! U really expect that guy to score when it's most needed?! Look at the midfield - mediocre at best! The only positions they have covered are centre-backs, other than that, only Dybala & CR7, everything else is total rubbish! And on top of that, a coach who's completely lost
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:34am
From the glory days of the 90's, to this uninspired shambles. We've completely lost our identity, both on and off the pitch. No grinta, passion, cohesion or chemistry from the team or manager. No commonsense or longterm thinking from the the board. Our midfield has been a shambles for several seasons now. It baffles me how the board refuses to acknowledge this, and the many other problems that need resolving. We need an organisational and footballing revolution from the bottom up, total reform.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:33am
Curse? This has nothing to do with a curse but a reality! If Agnelli wasn't owner of Serie A refs, we would've sen a REAL Scudetto winner in Italy as well! Not this #@[email protected] called Rubentus' 9th Scudetto ("Stronger"?!? Hahaha). THIS IS REALITY BITES! That's what this title should've been!
Only if that game against Atalanta was clean & the 2 penalties weren't given, we could've seen a real Serie A winner as well! This way, the comedy continues!
It took u THIS, to see how bad this team is for Serie A
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:27am
Juventus have unrealistic expectations so, invariably, they fail. I don't think Juventus will win the champions league any time soon because they're simply not built for it. Squad depth and, simply, money won them the league this year by such a small margin. That's just not good enough to win in Europe.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:26am
The only time this policy has worked is with Pogba and Can and guess why, because they were both young enough to move on.

Now let's look at the full-backs. Almost every top club has 2 energetic, pacy, attacking full backs. It's a huge part of the modern game. SO why on earth were they so quick to sack off Cancelo who is poor defensively but a threat going forward. Danilo was mediocre at City and surprise surprise he's mediocre at Juve. What were they expecting.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:26am

When they needed a goal who did Sarri have to turn to on the bench, an injured Dybala or a youth player, that is simply unacceptable. They wasted money on both Ramsey who every man and his dog knew had injury problems and Rabiot when they were struggling to get rid of Khedira Matuidi. Why did they struggle to get rid of them? Because Juve's transfer policy of buying ageing players for free or cheap but on high wages makes it almost impossible to move them on as they have no resale value.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:21am
1) The problems at Juve have been evident all season and whilst I do believe Sarri should be moved on you have to also lay some of the blame at the directors who haven't given Sarri the tools he needs to do his job and i'm not talking about the midfield. How can a supposed top 5 club in the world have 5 attacking options, 3 of which are an overweight, overpaid, sluggish Higuain, Injury prone Costa and average Bernadeschi.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:17am
paratici even though is a good youth scout has made some wretched decision. selling cancelo and bringing in injury prone di siglio and a washed danilo. the decision to get rid of mandzukic even though he doesnt like sitting on the bench was a bad move. higuain was washed for 3years now and you sold a talented moise kean to keep him. to me the main problem has been the management. the coach has gotten dybala back to his best. the coach deserves a 2nd year with better players.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:14am
It's a disappointing season as the problems were there from the beginning to the end of the season. Slow football, lack of commitment from players and coaching staff. Sari has nothing to offer the club I must say as he got no plan B .
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:54am

...players from other nations. Historically Juve were always a team built around a core of the best Italians. Bernadeschi isn’t a key player so he doesn’t count likewise Bonucci and Chiellini at their ages and lengthy careers do not count in this bracket - they did a few years ago but not today.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:31am

...and drive to challenge in Europe. And then when you consider the starting line up you ask where is the up and coming Italian’s in the side? At a time where Italy is producing so many young talents - Donarumma, Romagnoli, Bastoni, Tonali, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Chiesa (or even world class Italian’s like Veratti) - signing any one of these players would improve the team and move Juve back towards the more traditional Italian spine they always had surrounded by world class...
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:30am
PART 7 madness, not only isn’t he good enough as a starter in his natural position they move him back to form a makeshift rightback which has since turned into his position. Like the Champions league final where he was sent off and killed the game, and again like last night he goes missing in big games. Hakimi was available and ideal for Juve and yet they didn’t even try, leaving Inter to sign him.


Bar Ronaldo, Dybala De ligt the team lacks grit...
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:29am

..problems - extra players on wild wages to hinder other targeted transfers and a group of non-specific players trying to fit into a system that doesn’t exist, from there it can go two ways, take Rabiot and Ramsey, both on huge salaries - Rabiot is moody whenever he is used sparingly, which cannot be good for the harmony of the team, whereas Ramsey seems to be happy to earn 400k per week and sit on the bench - neither scenario is ideal.


Cuadrado at right back..
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:28am

...were thrashings EURO 12 4-0 CL 15 3-1 CL 17 4-1. Why did the board bring him back? Next season should see a subs role for Bonucci with a pairing of Demiral and De Ligt

FREE TRANSFERS - When they sign a player on a free which has become Juve’s so called masterstroke, they are bringing in someone they do not specifically target to fit a system or because they have an X factor, they are merely signing them because they are a decent name, at a decent age and free, and with that comes...
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:27am

...form a new partnership with Donnarumma and Romagnoli Italy’s future, played badly without Chiellini to carry him, realised it was a struggle, realised his place for Italy would be questioned and then following the Ronaldo transfer rushed to conveniently move back to Juve, and cement his place for Italy. What’s left is a tired player who’s not good enough for Juve as a starter, also starting for the Azzurri. Looking at his career he has lost 3 major finals with Juve and Italy all...
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:26am

...thrashing Chelsea 6-0. Many thought it made more sense to keep Allegri until Guardiola became a viable option, whether that was 1-3 years. And strangely it feels like bringing him back might be a good idea.


PLAYERS PAST THEIR PRIME - Over reliance on players past their prime some who even in their prime weren’t winners - i.e. Bonucci - he showed his flaws at Milan - a move he made selfishly with the National team in mind - left Italy’s old BBC to go to and
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:25am
APPOINTMENT OF SARRI - Sarri has a specific style and was always going to be unable to translate it with the players he had at his disposal - so why was he ever considered a good fit as manager? To match his style you needed to sign half a team, which Juve were never going to do, and even that wouldn’t have guaranteed Euro success, it would have merely enabled him to show his style. A style which actually has flaws, and a drubbing in it - even with the players to suit it, as we saw with Man City
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:24am

Ronaldo has held up his part of the deal no one can blame him, De Ligt was necessary to an ageing back line and can become the world’s best CB. Dybala has been incredible which only reinforces the boards incompetence, since they were so desperate to shift him on at the start of the season against the will of all Juve’s fans who felt it was madness.

Juve’s management have a lot to answer for:
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:23am

9 Scudettos always seems like the fallback and despite that being great, what achievement is that when they have been unable to translate the same success in Europe? Even the Europa League in 2014 was an amazing opportunity to win European Silverware to build on and they failed that losing to a beatable Benfica in the Semi’s, sure it's not relevant to now but it is in the sense of crossing a mental barrier of winning European silverware. No improvement on the CL’s in 2015 and 2017.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:22am
Penaldo can´t do everything....If CL was Serie A then Juve would go through by another penalty at 90 th minute. Sarri should stay so Juve can fight for Europa League next season.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:16am
Penaldo can´t do everything....If CL was Serie A then Juve would go through by another penalty at 90 th minute. Sarri should stay so Juve can fight for Europa League next season.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 8:14am
Rubentus keeps being the eternal joke in europe.

Sadly it highlights that the overall level in serie a is still much lower than in England and Spain, but also that the corruption is still massive in italian football. No way this rubentus team would have won serie a without ref help, thats for sure.

No doubt that one of the Milano teams will win the CL before Rubentus does.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 7:25am
Like ripping off a band-aid, I'm glad this is over, we are done with it.

Sarri can start with a clean slate, and we Juventini will expect much, much more positive results and a better outlook from Sarri.

To add to this, I expect the following personnel changes:

A decent LWB (apart from Pellegrini)

A world-class RB/RWB

Aouar in cash + exchange for Matuidi

Pathetic underperformers like Khedira, Cuadrado, Danilo, de Sciglio, and Ramsey

Exchange Aouar plus cash for Matuidi
on the 8th August, 2020 at 6:23am
Turning a match around of top calibre is only allegri's arsenals. But Juventas Wanted to change so they need to weather it with sarri now i think.........,continuity
on the 8th August, 2020 at 5:38am
In all honesty, this is the worst Juventus in 9 years, oddly enough with ronaldo in the squad. Their lb and rb are awful, alex Sandro the shadow of a player he used to be. No longer is bonucci a dominant defender. The midfield is average. Absolutely no creative mids serving great strikers in ronaldo and dybala. They need mid and defence badly cause they won't even win domestically
on the 8th August, 2020 at 4:58am
Cheer up juventini. Im sure getting knocked out by Ajax and Lyon were everything you dreamed of when you signed Ronaldo.

Next summer you can celebrate the 25 year anniversary of last time you won a european title.

And no its nothing but a curse. Its just a club who have failed their target in Europe for so long, the pressure and desperation from within become too much for the players.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 4:50am
PART 2: So end of next season will be a better time to judge Sarri. If Juve's management actually builds a team that suits Sarri, obviously he will do better. Sarri has already proven himself in Europe (albeit the Europa League) but I think he can replicate that in Champions League.

Not to complain, as Juve deserved to go out, but considering there were no fans, why enforce the away goal rule? How much of an advantage did Juve have in an empty stadium? Maybe fans would've pushed Juve for a 3rd?
on the 8th August, 2020 at 4:30am
PART 1: On the one bitter, disappointed hand, I am irritated by many things of this Juve - the terrible midfield/fullbacks management has put together, Sarri's tactical impotence, the inability of any Juve team to step it up when needed. On the other, hopeful hand, this is Sarri's first year (he in particular needs more time considering how different his style is to the previous coaches'), there are promising youngsters (Benta, De Ligt), and this year was messed up because of COVID.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 4:26am
They've been poor all season.

The real worry is how bad the rest of the teams are in Italy when they haven't the talent themselves to win enough games to pass Juve

Is the league really this bad?

As for Juve, anyone could have seen they needed an overhaul last summer, but it never came, and so they were left with an ageing squad with a lack of creative players

It seems that if Dybala doesn't create something, no one will

Sign Zaniolo fast - that should give them an immediate boost
on the 8th August, 2020 at 3:52am
Yes, Juve has not been all that great this year. Yes, it is an ageing squad. Yes it has a tactically inflexible manager. Yes, it was always going to be wishful thinking that Bernadeschi would score a wonder goal. That all being said, Juve is always cursed in this competition. The Lyon penalty was disgraceful. It would not happen to Real Madrid or Barcelona. The penalty completely conditioned the game. And, Juve continues to have soft tissue injuries to key players prior to a knockout game
on the 8th August, 2020 at 2:36am

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