Wednesday January 6 2021
Depth decisive for Milan and Juve

Federico Chiesa tormented Theo Hernandez and was decisive in Juventus’ win over Milan, but Lorenzo Bettoni believes another factor will be key in the Scudetto race.

Federico Chiesa scored twice in the Old Lady’s win at San Siro on Wednesday evening, tearing highly-rated Milan left-back Theo Hernandez to shreds.

He was the undisputed man of the match and his brace allowed the Bianconeri to move within seven points of leaders Milan, with a game in hand.

The former Fiorentina star had even hit the woodwork with a magnificent volley minutes before breaking the deadlock, making the most of a smart back-heel assist by Paulo Dybala.

Even if Theo has shown signs of improvement in the defensive phase this season, Chiesa exposed him like nobody else had done before.

The French winger was caught off position in both Chiesa’s goals and many more times during the game. He also failed to create genuine problems going forward for Juventus.

“I needed someone who could prevent Theo from attacking,” Pirlo confirmed at the end of the game.

Even if the Old Lady are still some way off the top of the table, this win can boost the self-confidence of Pirlo’s side, just like their away Champions League win at Barcelona did in December.

Ironically, Juventus have impressed more against big sides this season, rather than against the so-called ‘small teams’.

They won against Milan, who were the only unbeaten team in Europe’s leading leagues, they beat Barcelona 3-0 last month and recovered from one goal down despite being reduced to 10 men at the Olimpico against Roma at the start of the season.

It's good news for Pirlo, who will face Napoli in the Italian Supercup final and Inter in Serie A in January, but Chiesa wasn’t the only difference maker for the Old Lady at San Siro.

Juventus’ depth was also as decisive and it is no coincidence the Serie A champions closed the game with a Weston McKennie goal, set up by Dejan Kulusevski. Both had come off the bench just a few minutes earlier.

Depth could be key factor in the race for the Serie A title this season.

It is impossible to discuss Milan-Juve without taking into account the absentees. The Rossoneri were without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ismael Bennacer, Matteo Gabbia and Alexis Saelemaekers. Sandro Tonali was suspended, while Rade Krunic and Ante Rebic tested positive for COVID.

Juventus had Alvaro Morata injured, Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro positive for Coronavirus.

Imagine how Pioli felt, who had prepared such a tough game without some of his most important players only to find out hours before the game two of his most valuable replacements had COVID.

The former Lazio coach had to adapt Davide Calabria as a defensive midfield and the Italian right-back did well in his new position, even scoring the equaliser in the first half.

But take a look at the possible replacements at Pirlo and Pioli’s disposal and you would understand where the difference between the two sides lay.

Milan had Ciprian Tatarusanu, Andrea Conti, Pierre Kalulu, Brahim Diaz, Mateo Musacchio, Daniel Maldini, Lorenzo Colombo, Leo Duarte and Marco Frigerio.

The players sitting on the Juventus bench were: Giorgio Chiellini, Arthur, Weston McKennie, Merih Demiral, Carlo Pinsoglio, Federico Bernardeschi, Marco Da Graca, Alessandro Di Pardo, Manolo Portanova, Nicolo Fagioli, Dejan Kulusevski and Gigi Buffon.

Without Ibra, Rebic and Saelemaekers, Pioli had no options to change the game when he needed it, while Juventus’ third goal was set up by two players who came off the bench.

Depth was vital for Juventus to beat Milan and depth will be crucial to win the Serie A title. This, of course, does not only apply to Bianconeri and Rossoneri, but also to Inter, Roma, Napoli and Atalanta.

The fixture list is as busy as ever due to the COVID pandemic, which can also take players away from the squad from one day to the next. It happened to Milan and Juventus this time, but it had already happened in the past with other clubs, in Serie A and Champions League.

Max Allegri, who won the Scudetto with both Milan and Juve, loves to say “the management of unexpected events is fundamental in order to achieve success.” That rings true this season more than any other, as coaches will need that quality and a deep squad in case of emergencies.



Have your say...
I wouldn't say the issue was mental or tactical. Looking at the players after the first and second Juve goals they were angry and then hungry on the attack. Absences cannot possibly be compared on both sides. One Milan absentee would need to be considered as 2 for Juve because the squad depth is incomparable. Juve have a champion in reserve in every position. Chiesa comes off, Bernadeschi comes on. Morata out, Dybala in. Chiellini out, De Ligt in. The two sets of absences can't be compared.
on the 9th January, 2021 at 10:23am
I am just sorry they didn't give Milan yet another weak penalty in 93RD MINUTE.
According to the crazies here, they'd score TWO more in the next two minutes & win 3-4!
I would have loved to see that. :)

...Otherwise, Milan is deservedly top.
They play GREAT football & are doing it without spending 60-80 millions on individual players.
It will be hard to beat Inter/ Juve for Championship, but they can do it.
on the 9th January, 2021 at 8:50am
@ Ravanelli

Firstly, Alex Sandro is not a starter for Juve this season. Secondly, Juve have the depth to replace these players without issue, Milan don't, so Calabria had to play in midfield.

Milan's problem was definitely neither tactical nor mental, as they were on point and pushed till the end regardless. Milan lost because of individual errors and lack of quality of the bench compared to Juve.

Bentancur should've seen red and Milan were denied a clear pen, so don't go there.
on the 9th January, 2021 at 8:44am
Oh man, I almost DIED! I read comments from some biased hypocritical Milan trolls on FI's Juve-Milan LiveBlog & I simultaneously couldn't stop laughing AND vomiting. It was horrible, I choked for five minutes! :( Milan is now officially the "New Juve". I mean, coming to Turin stadium and scoring a goal after a crystal-clear foul --WITH VAR AVAILABLE!!!! & you should see these same trolls commenting Theo & Saelesmaeker's divings. They use totally different eyes & reasoning. :)
on the 9th January, 2021 at 6:43am
Some Milan fans are complaining about their absences and the referee. Forgetting that Juve has some key absences as well in addition to Milan's goal being a foul.

"With Rebic, Bennacer, Salemaker, and Ibra this game would have been very different. Keep in mind they are all starters. "

With Morata, Cuadrado, and Alex Sandro, this game would have been different. Keep in mind they are all starters.

Milan's issue in this match was clearly mental and tactical.
on the 8th January, 2021 at 10:54pm
@ Pinturicchio

Of course this is the weakest Juve squad in years! You pretending it isn't won't change that fact.

You were asked how many would get into their recent big CL squads. I doubt you'll answer ... too scared?

11 from 2015 and 2017 and 2020:

Lichsteiner/Alves - Barzagli - Bonucci - Chiellini - Sandro/Evra (Sandro/Bonucci both gone downhill since)
Vidal - Pirlo - Pogba/Marchisio
Tevez/Dybala (poor this season and 2 seasons ago) Ronaldo

See a pattern of deterioration yet?
on the 8th January, 2021 at 9:48pm

For someone who doesn't want to waste time, you spend an awful lot of it on here lol

no, it's not luck! lol "Luck" is an excuse. It's a lack of talent. But I'm sure you feel much better about yourself now that you've got the name-calling out of your system haha xx

Juve have the worst squad in years over the last few seasons. Get it into you're head like a good lad.

How many of the current team would get into their teams of 4/5/6 years ago? One? Two?

How many?? Do tell ...
on the 8th January, 2021 at 2:18pm
2. The entire system favors the most wealthy teams and it becomes rare for smaller clubs to ever win the Scudetto or compete in UCL. As Serie A attracts more talent because they can pay players as much as other european clubs, Juve loses it biggest advantage and Pinturicchio's shoebox really doesn't help. The winds of change have come to Northern Italy and the Agnelli family can't do much about it. Endless spending is self defeating and all the whining in Turin does help the team nor the league.
on the 8th January, 2021 at 2:12pm
Juve must get used to looking up the table unlesss covid and injury decimate their competitors. The endless amount of debt needed to keep this team afloat can only be compared to PSG, Man United, Barcelona etc. Unable to develop players within their own system or scout young talent they simply rely on buying talent from other lower tier Serie A clubs helping destroy league competiveness. Now Milan & Inter are playing a similar game purchasing talent from abroad as they have found external funds
on the 8th January, 2021 at 2:02pm
Sorry for going off topic, was actually wondering all this while why FI didn't activate comment sections on all the news pieces. Now we know why. Banters are always welcomed but some people seem to always gone too far.

Anyway, congrats to Juve, was a really good game (apart from the refereeing), I hope we will avenge this loss in the return fixture later. While obviously disappointed that we lost, like most Milan fans, I am still proud of the young guns. Let's see how we respond!
on the 8th January, 2021 at 12:40pm
Milan are playing great football there’s no denying it but it’s a risky tactic long term and it’ll be a miracle if they’ll have a full squad at any point until the end of the season. It’ll be injuries from one player to the next unless Pioli change his tactics but why change what’s already working. Juve will drop points same as Milan but it’ll be because of injuries rather than performance but in the end nothing will matter but who comes on top. It’s just halfway through with many twists to come
on the 8th January, 2021 at 8:51am
My last message here, because I don't want to spend my energy on idiotic trolls.

@ITA1 Even with the best squad and the best players, we didn't win the elusive prize. It has nothing to do with best/worst squad, you oaf, it has to do with luck. But you actually need a functional brain to grasp this fundamental concept, which you clearly lack. Have fun screaming at the wall.


Let me know all your valuable insights and areas of improvements for Juventus here: [email protected][email protected]
on the 8th January, 2021 at 8:03am
Guys go easy on Pinocchio, he's clearly just a child with access to internet. A child with serious anger issues though. Maybe venting about football and insulting other teams is the only way to escape his reality. Just let him be.
on the 8th January, 2021 at 6:25am
Pinturrichio if juve are such giants why is agnelli still crying over the 4 points against Napoli that were retracted. Instead of being the goliaths that u say u r then face Napoli and prove it on the field. Instead u r owner continues his whine and chastises referees when they call games against them. At 240 million payroll 2x inter payroll u sit here and try to insult everyone that comments against juve. U should hide ur head and mouth and don't gloat because that's embarrassing
on the 7th January, 2021 at 11:28pm
Pinturrichio last UCL 1996 and u probably won't see one in ur lifetime, so stop criticizing everyone juve suck plain and simple. Milans history make juve looks like a seria B team. All ur money, stars and let's not forget officiating assistance will at best get u the domestic title. Ronaldo won't do u any better. So look in mirror before u insult other teams. 1996 remember it well.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 11:18pm
@ Pinturicchio

thanks for proving my point! - you're so wound up and angry, U can't take any criticism. If u were a real fan, you'd know the squad isn't up to it - at least in the CL

this IS the worst Juve squad in years, have you been living in a cave?

the squad that won last year was bang average, and only won because the others are hopeless, not because Juve themselves were good

a few decent signings this season, but still one of their weaker squads in recent years

now ... run along
on the 7th January, 2021 at 11:13pm
As far as depth goes Juve have the better squad and anyone thinking otherwise in not ground in reality. Thats not to say Milan didn't have a good game its just that Juve have too much talent at their disposal. Inter is the team I'd like to see get torn up with that clown Conte who has some strange penchant for washed up over the hill Chileans.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 7:22pm
If Ibra, Bennacer and Rebic had been available and not having to play a full back in midfield, yesterday will have been a walk in the park. The reality is that bar a few hairy moments in the first half, they couldn't cope once we started pressing. Theo has to hold his hands up - essentially responsible for both Chiesa goals. But Juventus were largely average vs a depleted team full of youngsters. Had the referee had the courage to send off bentancur, the story might've been different.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 6:21pm
The following statement gave me a really good laugh......

"fully restoring the dignity and image of SSC Napoli"

Napoli really are a farcical club, a complete joke.

Fair play to Milan & Juve on a great game last night despite the difficult circumstances. Either club could have pulled a trick like Napoli but both of these clubs have too much class.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 6:07pm
Heads held high. Let's not keep talking about absences. We did the best we could under the circumstances. The young guns showed incredible spirit. Ultimately Juve had a lot more quality on the field and they rightly won. Congrats to them for the win.

Losses are part of the learning process and we all knew this day would come. No shame losing to this Juve. Gotta regroup and look forward. In the end it was just 3 pts lost. Need to focus on the next 3 and slowly welcome back our starters.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 4:55pm
If anything, milan showed that they are serious scudetto challengers. Never mind the depth factor. Juventus has cuadrado, Sandro and Morata out. Milan had ibra, rebic, saelemaekers, krunic, tonali, bennacer, gabbia all out. With all those key players milan had out they still played a great game and it could have gone either way. Milan would have won it with more key players. Add a couple players in January and milan will definitely challenge till end of the year
on the 7th January, 2021 at 1:54pm
This Milan side reminds me of Juve 2011. So yeah after watched Milan-Juve game, i believe they are title contender. Next game will be crucial for them. As Juve fan, I hope they can't recover quickly. Meanwhile, i really hope Juve players regain their motivation to win this competition.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 12:52pm
@Milan Fan Expected, from you. And the supporter of a club who can't even get into Europe, but act like they own the world. Good job, kid. But hey, get some class next time, okay kiddo? @ITA1 Wow, you need a dictionary and the word “FIGURATIVELY” pointed out to you, and then have you sit down and explained how figuratively differs from literally. He calls this Juve squad "worst team in years" LMFAO delusion at its best.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 12:46pm

FerBan didn't say any of that bile you put inside quotation marks lol.
U say stuff like "I have booboo on my finger, waa" and something about ice-cream lol
Time for u to grow up kid ????

By the way, I've heard him praise Juve multiple times on here for how they're run and his last paragraph seemed to suggest that. don't comment unless u know what you're talking about and plan to do it in a more mature manner than "waa" and "booboo" lol.
be a man Pinturicchio, not a child
on the 7th January, 2021 at 11:40am
It was a very entertaining game of football. Reminiscent of the great classics of the past. I was really impressed by the attitude from both teams. The ref had a poor game but his mistakes probably evenly effected both teams.

Credit should be given to Juve who were good and deservedly won on the night but Milan can hold their heads up as they played well and still lead the way.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 11:14am
@ Pinturicchio

Who killed your dog?
on the 7th January, 2021 at 11:04am
(Part 2 of 2)

Look at the evidence... Juventus were unfairly stigmatized and punished for NOTHING (read the goddamn Naples verdicts if you have an iota of brain-matter). Juventus were told if they'd appeal Farsopoli Italy would be banned from UCL/UEL and Euro 2008.

Napoli FC, instead of a slap across their face, got their decision overturned. What a farce!!

Juventus have been flag-bearers of Italy for over a decade yet never given their due.

This mentality is the bane of your country.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 8:30am
And, as for you, Lorenzo Bettini.

This blog is the kind of shameful and, frankly, pathetic mentality which has become the virtue of negative/outward signalling across Italy.

You and your kin cannot appreciate and applaud the well-oiled machine that Juventus is, or accept the fact that Juventus' domestic dominance is them reaping the benefits of their hardwork, patience, and trust in themselves despite the adversities they've faced both locally and internationally.

(Part 1 of 2)
on the 7th January, 2021 at 8:24am
Beating Benevento is more important. If we beat every Benevento then we can win the title. That was the key to Feguson's success.
on the 7th January, 2021 at 7:55am
avoid injuries. The only reason the media and directors like to talk about DEPTH is that it then leads to their next favourite topic TRANSFERS! This team has delivered title winning form over a calendar year. Therefore we need to be very careful with the transfers not to undermine the balance.

As to the game, I agree with Pioli, we put in a great performance, and could easily have taken the lead before we conceded a second. Calabria is my player of the season so far. Beating Juve doesn't matter
on the 7th January, 2021 at 7:54am

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