Monday September 21 2020
Pirlo orchestrates a perfect Juve debut

Andrea Pirlo’s coaching career kicked off in practically perfect fashion and Vilizar Yakimov is already impressed by Il Maestro and his Juventus symphony.

A breath of fresh air. That’s how their Serie A opener against Sampdoria felt for those who support Juventus, as both fans and players desperately needed a change after the awkward reign of Maurizio Sarri.

From the very beginning of the game it almost seemed like the Bianconeri were just liberated after being held in a cage, as every single player in black and white was brimming with energy, desire and confidence. While those on the pitch performed to a very high level, much of the credit should be given to Andrea Pirlo, who made some bold choices.

Alex Sandro’s injury put Il Maestro in a tricky situation even before his coaching debut, but Pirlo’s decision to hand Gianluca Frabotta only his second Serie A appearance proved to be a brilliant one. It would’ve been much easier and safer for Andrea to go with Mattia De Sciglio instead, but this is exactly the kind of decision that Juventus expect from their new coach.

The 21-year-old Frabotta repaid the faith that Pirlo showed in him, producing three accurate crosses, won as many aerial duels and being a useful outlet on the left of Juve’s 3-4-1-2 formation throughout the game.

However, the surprises didn’t stop there as Aaron Ramsey, who according to several sources was not in Pirlo’s plans, started in a more advanced midfield role and was undoubtedly one of the best players on the pitch. The Welshman, who was often criticized and looked like a shadow of himself last term, was the creative force for the La Vecchia Signora, contributing with six key passes and an assist for Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal.

Weston McKennie was another surprising name in midfield, as the American was granted his debut and he fully grabbed the opportunity. The former Schalke 04 prospect was the engine of this new-look Juventus, as he won five ground duels, four tackles and covered a huge area of the field, while also completing 88% of his passes.

Speaking of debuts, it took only 13 minutes for Dejan Kulusevski to open his account for the Bianconeri and his partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo looks more than promising already. Just like his coach, the Swede seems as cool as a cucumber and he’s clearly enjoying the freedom that he’s been given.

“Andrea is very relaxed, he believes in his players and gives me a lot of faith, so it’s easy to play for him. He lets me play and we can have fun.” Those are Kulusevski’s words after the game and indeed they describe the nature of Juve’s 3-0 triumph against I Blucerchiati perfectly.

It’s really hard to remember the last time Juventus players enjoyed themselves so much on the pitch, as Sarri’s strict philosophy when it comes to short passing and repetitive movements obviously bored the players.

However, the Sampdoria game, as well as the friendly against Novara, suggest that Pirlo cannot be more different to his predecessor in that regard. From what we’ve seen so far, l’architetto is clearly not trying to force a strict tactical approach to his players, but instead is fielding the team based on their characteristics and this is already paying off.

Reverting to a three-man backline clearly gets the best out of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, who can potentially form a formidable trio with Matthijs De Ligt once the Dutchman recovers from his shoulder injury. Bonucci is once again allowed to play his trademark long balls, which was showcased by his eight successful attempts against Samp.

On the other hand, we clearly see the freedom that’s been given to the likes of Kulusevski and Ramsey, while Cuadrado is clearly much better suited for playing at wing-back instead of defence.

It will be very interesting to see how Pirlo will handle the return of Paulo Dybala and the long-awaited arrival of a new forward. However, from what we’ve seen so far he is not afraid to field his best players together and play to their strengths. Having La Joya back and a new striker can only help Pirlo’s cause, as then he’ll have a truly multi-dimensional team.

Considering that Il Maestro arguably ticked all boxes in his coaching debut, it would be really easy to overhype him, but that’s something that must be avoided at all costs. As impressive as Juventus were last night, it’s been only one game against a Sampdoria team that still looked in a pre-season mode.

We are yet to see how the new Juventus tactician will handle games against better opposition, will he be able to find a place for Dybala and many more questions remain unanswered. However, the early signs are more than promising and we can surely say that Andrea Pirlo’s coaching debut was close to perfect.

Have your say...
It seems like the rich get richer in Serie A. Juve buys whatever it needs to insure they will win the Scudetto and compete in UCL. Pirla has been gifted with a new team that Sarri could have only wished for. Any coach would love to have added Kuveleski, Mckennie and Arthur, oh and now Morata too. Now Juve plays with more energy, enthusiasm and desire as Ramsey has suddenly found himself with this group of all stars as management sinks further into debt to stay on top. Bravo Pirlo, ti salutiamo
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 3:25pm
But they then ruin it with strange decisions like selling Kean, signing both Rabiot & Ramsey on huge wages when they didn't really need both. Swapping Cancelo for Danilo which everybody could see was a bad deal and failing to move Higuain on 2 years ago and ultimately losing him for nothing, same with Matuidi who they could've sold last year. Swapping Pjanic for Arthur was good business. If Arthur doesn't work out he's only 23/24 and you could easily see him being sold in a year or two for £40m
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 11:07am

Completely agree. Obviously Juve have a limited budget and can't buy every top youngster around but I feel like they don't plan ahead very well and are always thinking short term. I would have loved to see Aouar at Juve, and can you think of a better fit at RB then Hakimi? Why didn't they go in hard for him either of those. Mckennie will hopefully turn out to be a big surprise and players like De Ligt, Bentancur, Kulu and Demiral are steps in the right direction.
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 11:04am
The performance of Aaron Ramsey epitomizes the change within Juve. Last season he was there, yet, he was lost. Now he has been discovered. A truly remarkable transformation.
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 8:56am
we move for any good midfielders like Aouar (Lyon) or Rubén Neves (Wolverhampton)?

Why not being back Kean on loan so we have a backup for Morata during the course of a long season with 3 competitions (38 Serie A, min. 10 UCL games, 4 or 6 Coppa Italia matches, apart from SuperCoppa games?)? When Roma are moving for Santiago Arias from Atlètico, who are we targetting?

It's well worth remembering that the best teams in the world right now have been built over 5+ years, not in 5 mins...
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 8:49am

I totally agree with your point, those feelings resonate with me too. However, this insane obsession Agnelli and co. have with "this moment, right here" is what's causing problems for us.

The defenders in the backline (fullbacks) are either not talented enough or just not amply supported. Take out Sandro, and we have no one. Why is Pellegrini being shipped out again without cause? How long does it take to see Danilo, Cuadrado, and De Sciglio aren't good enough for Juve?

Why didn't
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 8:40am
but with the right scouting young talent is out there. Just look at Haaland. It's a question of unearthing these players whilst they're young and cheap. If it doesn't work out they're young enough to move on. Morata has had plenty of chances at big clubs and done very little. I do agree he's more mobile than Dzeko or Suarez which is good as Juve need that, it's not so much the player it's the potential total cost that worries me. They'll never get that money back as happened with Higuain
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 7:45am

I agree there aren't many top strikers under 25 years old around. But that's exactly why i'd have preferred to see Juve go in for a youngster with big potential like Fabio Silva who Wolves picked up for £30mill. Yeah he's only 18 and raw but somebody like him could go on to become world class and cover the position for the next 10-15 years. Inter got Martinez from nowhere and look at him now. Same with City and Jesus. You're obviously going to get it wrong occasionaly like Gabigol
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 7:42am
Regardless that it was against a meek Sampdoria, the most impressive part of Juve's performance was the aggressiveness of the side. Ramsay, McKannie, Rabbiot, Frabotta and Kulu were aggressive and fought very hard to win the ball back quickly - haven't seen this in 3 years. Throw in Dybala and Demiral (for Danilo) and the level will rise another notch in quality, aggressiveness and technique.
I honestly believe Chiellini, Bonucci and De Ligt/Demiral, are the best backline in Europe.
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 2:36am
This is the style of play that i and most Juve supporters have been waiting for. However its still to early to tell how we will do once we face teams that also play free flowing attacking football. I personally feel that we are a tid bit light on strength and quality. I can almost guarantee us struggling against Napoli, Inter, Milan and Atalanta.
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 1:51am
"Will he be able to find a place for Dybala?"
Serie A player of the season? Yes he will.
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 1:41am
While juve looked good under pirlo we still can't judge. Sampdoria is a very weak team and no matter what problems juve had, they're still the scudetto winners. Let's see how pirlo does against roma before we judge. A team surely to give juve some problems and throughout the game he'll have to come up with something to stop them. Although looks good so far.

Morata had that price just sounds crazy. For that money the amount of better strikers is plenty.
on the 22nd September, 2020 at 1:37am
Delighted with that performance. Hope the team continues like this, and that the club keep faith with Pirlo when the going gets tough (and they will!). Finally, a Juve that is a delight to watch! Also, I’d take Morata ahead of Dzeko or Suárez any day ... OK, If they were all 27 years old then maybe not, but they’re not! Forza Juve!
on the 21st September, 2020 at 7:42pm
Juventus is not paying €45 million for Morata that’s why the 2nd consecutive loan deal is there. After the 2 year loan spell Juve will negotiate for less or send him back. Atletico probably won’t want him back so they’ll settle for Juventus price range or send him somewhere else. Anyways Morata will bring pace on the counter to the frontline something we were missing for a while now.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 5:11pm

And, finally, to answer your question: this is more about trust. Pirlo played with Morata, he must see something more in Alvaro than mere fans like you and I can/do.

Let's trust Andrea a bit before we try to judge him... After all, it's only up we can go from hereon, no...??


on the 21st September, 2020 at 4:59pm

Amico mio. You have to understand: Werner had a clause for €50m which was activated by Chelsea. Morata has NO such clause, only clause he had was the buyback one which we agreed to during Allegri's coaching stint.

Furthermore, can you honestly name 3 strikers today who are: young (younger than 25), have a proven record (say, 60 goals and 20 assists in 100 games in any of top 4 leagues) and is available for €50m for less? Even Raul Jimenez (29 years) of Wolverhampton costs 65m, FYI.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 4:55pm
Amazing when a team plays for it's Mister! I agree with Firetruck I see Dybala as the main starter behind the strikers with Ramsey as his sub.

Once the #9 arrives I see Kulu moving to the RWB. He has the pace, vision and forward runs to succeed.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 4:52pm
Can anyone tell me what Morata has done since he left Juve to be valued at 10mill loan + 54mill to make it permanent? Especially in the post Covid market! Werner was only 45mill, you could probably get Jesus for a similar amount to what they're paying for Morata. The Juventus board really are all over the place, they're too tentative in going for their no.1 target and inevitably end up missing out on them and then overpaying for their no.3 target
on the 21st September, 2020 at 4:17pm
It's only ONE GAME let's see how they play against top teams in SERIE A and Champions league. Still think it's too early for pirlo to win Scudetto best option is Domestic cups and top 4 finish. Think he will be given time like KLOPP of liverpool.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 3:40pm
Ok lets all calm down, it was one game!
on the 21st September, 2020 at 2:27pm
well happy, good play still not Bayern or Liverpool at the minute and feel we'd still get torn to shreds by either....great to see Ramsey playing so well he popped up all over the place and looked hungry....Cuadrado wasn't great but was also pleased to see Frabotta
on the 21st September, 2020 at 1:46pm
I still think the team doesn't have enough pace to compete at the highest level and blow teams away the way Bayern, Liverpool, PSG and City can. I actually think Inter are better equipped to win the league this season if Conte can get his 3-4-1-2 going with Eriksen pulling the strings behind Lu-La and Vidal and Barella snapping into tackles in the midfield with the added pace of Hakimi. Juve were impressive though, the new buys looked good and Ramsey had a new lease of life
on the 21st September, 2020 at 1:44pm
Nice to FINALLY see attractive football from Serie A's best team!!! Maybe they'll have a real chance for Champions League now, and on the way not bore us to death!

Inter, Napoli, Lazio and Milan all strengthened as well, so as long as we can take points off Juventus, all four can contend for the title!
on the 21st September, 2020 at 12:52pm
I wonder where are all those lame Sarri fan boys aka Paratici haters? Hiding in closet?

It's obvious now Ramsey and Rabiot are not trash. They both can defense, both have creativity and can play quick passes. And and guess what???? Juve don't need to sell half of the "trash-overrated squad" (according to the Paratici haters) to play beautiful football like yesterday's game.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 12:28pm
Also everyone praising Ramsey/McK, but Rabiot was smooth as silk in that role. It's as if when Sarri was telling Pjanic what to do, Rabiot was taking notes. Btw saw Pjanic in Barca's 1st game. Felt sorry for him. Yeah he's at Barca, but man that was slow dead Sarribal they were playing. In like 15 mins I saw Pjanic play 30 sideways passes and 10 backwards. I wonder if he saw Juve's highlights and saw how free flowing and attacking they were
on the 21st September, 2020 at 12:12pm
Good game it was... positive signs for sure. Hope Ramsey can stay fit. Also with 3-5-2 I don't see Dybala playing in Kulu's spot but Ramsey's. McKennie was great but will need to improve his longer passing & positioning / awareness. Frabotta played like Sandro...when he was at Porto. One weakness we have is defending crosses. Besides our CB's (not Rugani), everyone else needs work.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 12:08pm
I'm delighted for Andrea and eternally grateful for everything he did for Milan but Samp were so poor I'm going to reserve my judgement. Early on Juve did look really good, really imposing going forward and fluid with position changes. I don't think a Samp could exploit any of that with their current form. However, I think a bigger, faster, more attack minded team may pounce on that fluidity and make it feel more like a disjointed defence. Good start, though.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 11:42am
It was great seeing Juve play that style of football last night, and great for Il Maestro to start his managerial career off in style . I'm not delusional though, there's a long way to go, with tougher tests to face, but that is the style of play that I have been waiting for since the Lippi days to be honest. Their game philosophy, speed and hunger in the play bodes well, and long may it continue - Fino alla fine.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 11:07am
It was a dazzling performance, lots of intent and positivity. Formation is suited to the players' strengths. Ramsey looks like the Auoar we want to sign.. he struggled in Sarri's lethargic Juventus, and clearly thrives in a high energy game. Granted, its only Sampdoria but very promising start. Roma/Napoli will provide real tests in the next couple of weeks. In the mercato a striker and 2 wing backs are absolutely essential to complete this team. Strong wing backs are crucial in a 3-5-2
on the 21st September, 2020 at 10:31am
Sampdoria were playing as if they already have one foot in serie b already, even before the season started tbf.
on the 21st September, 2020 at 10:27am

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