Tuesday November 24 2020
Juventus can’t be happy

Juventus struggled more than necessary to beat Ferencvaros 2-1 in Champions League and Lorenzo Bettoni explains why the Old Lady can’t be happy.

Even if a 2-1 home win against Ferencvaros is enough for Juventus to qualify for the last-16 stage of the Champions League with two games in hand, the Serie A giants struggled more than necessary to take the three points home against the Hungarians and there is more than one reason why the Bianconeri should not be happy with their display.

Andrea Pirlo started Paulo Dybala up front alongside Cristiano Ronaldo with Alvaro Morata on the bench and the Bianconeri line-up was without an Italian defender or goalkeeper for the first time in the club’s history.

The injuries of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Merih Demiral forced Pirlo to play Danilo in centre defence close to Matthijs de Ligt, while Rodrigo Bentancur was given a chance in the middle of the park with former Barcelona midfielder Arthur.

Juventus’ reaction after Myrto Uzuni’s early opener was as weak as their approach to the game. The ball was moved too slowly, Dybala and Ronaldo’s partnership was not as devastating as under Maurizio Sarri, mainly due to La Joya’s poor form. The defence was struggling and conceded their opponents more than a chance to score on the counter.

CR7 star netted the equalizer five minutes before half time but failed to celebrate with his usual “Siuuu.” He instead looked around him with an angry face, making his way to the middle of the pitch to resume the game as quickly as possible.

One would expect Juventus to dominate the second half after such an inconsistent display in the opening 45 minutes. Yet again, it didn’t happen. It must be said Pirlo’s men were also a little bit unlucky in the second half as they hit the woodwork twice: first with Federico Bernardeschi and then with Alvaro Morata.

The Spaniard came off the bench to replace Dybala who is still, clearly, not fit. He scored his only seasonal goal against the Hungarians three weeks ago, but the Old Lady are finding their own identity without him on the pitch.

Pirlo needed some substitutions to win the game. He threw in Alvaro Morata, Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski after 62 minutes, subbing off the likes of Dybala, Bernardeschi and Weston McKennie who was also disappointing.

Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot came in to replace Arthur and Bentancur with eight minutes left to be played and Juventus eventually won the game in the injury time thanks to Morata’s seventh seasonal goal. The Juventus bench and Pirlo erupted in a scream of collective joy, hugging each-other after the winning header of the ex-Atletico and Real Madrid. They all know deep inside this can’t be enough.

Morata and Ronaldo combined have scored 16 of Juventus’ 22 goals so far this season. Enough to say the Serie A champions can’t do without their attacking duo. The feeling, however, is that there must be something wrong if Juventus need to put in their best players to beat Ferencvaros, with all the respect due.

Three days before the Champions League game, they had beaten Cagliari with, possibly, the best performance of the season so far and a full-strength team.

The good news from the Allianz Stadium is that the Old Lady can now focus only on Serie A until February as they’ve already qualified for the last-16 stage with games against Dynamo Kiev and Barcelona yet to be played.

In a campaign that will see clubs involved in European competition play one match every three days, however, Pirlo should be able to rely on all his players, not only 12 or 13 of them, otherwise Juventus’ run in Serie A and Champions League is probably not going to last long.



Have your say...
with no pre-season this is a work in progress. In time they will get it right - hopefully before the second stages of the CL......but make no mistake without Ronaldo they'd be in trouble.
on the 26th November, 2020 at 10:17am
Arthur needs to release the ball a bit quicker at times but at least he has the ability and confidence to receive it under pressure and get the team out of trouble. His press resistance is great, on a number of occasions Juve will have the ball around their own box, not want to play it long but also not feel comfortable enough having it in that situation so fire a pass into someone else who will likely be under pressure. When that someone is Arthur he finds a way out and then opens up the game
on the 26th November, 2020 at 9:55am
Have some commentators even seen Juve's games recently? Midfield is not complete but its clearly better than before. Some problems come from constant rotation. Starting McKennie and Bentancur in a CL game just because its Hungarian team? Juve need to always start their best in form players atm for CL no matter the competition. Had Pirlo played Moratta, Rabiot and Kulu from the start it would have been a different story. Arthur remains questionable as he was clearly moving the ball too slowly.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 6:46pm
Juve midfield it’s not good enough I can’t believe juve gave away pjanic for arthur we use to say pjanic is slow but this guy Arthur is the slowest player I ever seen and when he passes is like 5 to 10 meters passes no more then that even those just sideways passes such a bad investment in him.....even though David Silva was old I think he would have been good for juve......the midfielder they need is Locatelli he is classy....and if he plays Bernardeschi play him on the right
on the 25th November, 2020 at 6:17pm
A Band-Aid back line and back luck allowed the goal. The 4-4-2 to me is the best formation with this team, but yesterday showed that it is Rabiot who is the glue to the midfield.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 6:17pm
yes they can be happy because they qualified. One step at a time. This isn't Zemanlandia where you play great and lose 4-1.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 2:07pm
@ John Smith

I'm not doubting that splashing out on the likes of Aouar would bring quality, but do you not think in this current economic climate, it more be more shrewd to look at the likes of Calhanoglu (who could be brought in on a free or for a nominal fee if he is not likely to renew with Milan), or the vast array of Italian talent on offer (as I mentioned in an earlier thread), who I doubt would cost as much either.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 11:42am
I think the commentators should make a concerted effort to learn players' names. Its not "Diebala", and its not "Bernadeshi", and as for "Bentakoor"?? Need I say more???
on the 25th November, 2020 at 10:44am
I totally agree with what has been written in this tread.
Sandro, Demiral, De Ligt, Cuadradro
Kuleseski, Rabiot or Bentancur, AOUAR, Chiesa
Morata, CR7

Just pay the 50-60 mill. needed for Aouar in January.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 10:27am
Danilo, Bonucci, De Ligt - Cuadrado, Bentancur, Rabiot, Sandro - Ramsey - Morata, Ronaldo is the optimal 11 at this point. Demiral, Kulusevski, Chiesa ready to step up on somebody's place if needed. That's it. Chielini will be injured most of the time, Frabotta can play against weaker teams but he needs experience in a smaller team. Arthur and McKennie still have a lot to improve. Bernardeschi and Dybala are lost, although the italian played 2 good games.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 9:30am
@Chris I agree with you, but it's hard to build a team all in one go I guess. I hope they look at the growing Italian talent in the likes of Locatelli, Pellegrini, Castrovilli, Zaniolo to bolster the midfield. Annoying we let Spinazzola go to get "the next big thing" in Luca Pellegrini, but that's not quite worked out (yet).
on the 25th November, 2020 at 9:12am
I think last night, the problem with Juve was their lackadaisical mind set, they thought they would have it easy. I understand that games are coming thick and fast at the moment, and rotation is inevitable, but Pirlo also needs to ensure that the midfield only ever has one defensive minded midfielder starting. McKennie and Bentancur are never going to spark creativeness or dictate the midfield. The substitutions were key last night and an insight to what is probably Pirlo's best XI.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 7:59am
Feels like Pirlo rehearses these absurd formations on play station and assumes they will work in a match. Bentancur-McKennie-Arthur have no attacking impetus. They all pass back or horizontal, the only player capable of putting a player through to goal is Ramsey and he is limited to one role behind the strikers in this formation. Pirlo needs to stop experimenting so he can create a system and give this team an identity. Pariatici needs to provide him with a world class midfielder that can penetr
on the 25th November, 2020 at 7:39am
The Juve midfield badly needs a creator. Juve should go all out for Aouar (who is keen on joining the club). He would improve our overall play and create openings for our excellent forwards that they are currently not getting. Aouar in January would give Juve a chance at UCL glory as none of the very big teams (besides Liverpool and Bayern) are playing that well.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 7:22am
These players are young and some of them like Arthur don’t seem to be happy at Juve! Nothing is clicking so far and the midfield seems nonexistent there is no quality penetration no passing that breaks down opponents nothing seems to work in the middle and i don’t know what Pirlo expects from these players but unless Juve brings at least two fast paced midfielders in January we won’t see Juve win any trophy this season!
on the 25th November, 2020 at 7:04am
Let's be honest, what Serie A team has much hope of winning the CL?

Juve are through from a poor group, while Lazio need a point. Inter need 7, and even that might not do; Atalanta might need to win v Ajax to go through if other results go as expected.

We'll be lucky if 3 get through, but none of those would be expected to win it.

Inter are predictable, Juve have no top midfielders, Atalanta have no defence, and Lazio's squad is punching above it's weight.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 3:24am
It just seems the midfield lacks a quality central player. Someone with leadership- Juve used to have Pirlo, Pogba and Vidal. Rabiot, Bentancur, Arthur-- they just dont convince me. They are cheap signings to be honest. The full backs are okay but not world class.

All the money seems to have been spent on attack: CR7, Dybala, Chiesa, Bernadeschi, Kulesevski- and one CB, De Ligt. The way the transfer money has been used doesn't seem to make sense. The Midfield is like an empty hole. A donut.
on the 25th November, 2020 at 12:14am
McKennie is really bad. Morata really good. Pirlo, so far, 3/10
on the 24th November, 2020 at 11:02pm

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