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JUVENTUS SEASON 2017-2018

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Super Cup: Probable line-ups

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108080/super-cup-probable-line-ups

 

 

Aug 12, 2017

 

Douglas Costa and Lucas Leiva are expected to start when Juventus and Lazio face off for the Italian Super Cup on Sunday night.

 

It kicks off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome at 20.45 CET - 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

 

This is traditionally between the Serie A winners and Coppa Italia holders, but as Juve won both those titles last season, they are taking on the beaten Coppa finalists.

 

Max Allegri said he had “three or four doubts” for his line-up, but confirmed Gigi Buffon, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain would start.

 

It’s believed Douglas Costa gets the nod ahead of Juan Cuadrado, while Claudio Marchisio is the favourite ahead of Sami Khedira for the midfield.

 

Mattia De Sciglio seems to be on the bench in favour of Stephan Lichtsteiner.

 

Lazio must wait for a Felipe Anderson fitness test, but it seems frankly unlikely the Brazilian will be ready to feature.

 

Keita Balde Diao is also a concern, but this time it is because of his desire to join Juventus and therefore fears he is not fully focused.

 

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is tipped to start with Luis Alberto in supporting lone centre-forward Ciro Immobile.

 

Lucas Leiva should be given his competitive debut in a Lazio jersey following the transfer from Liverpool.

 

 

Probable line-ups

 

Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Marchisio; Douglas Costa, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuain

Juventus bench: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Benatia, Rugani, Asamoah, Khedira, Sturaro, Bentancur, Bernardeschi, Cuadrado, Kean

 

Lazio: Strakosha; Wallace, De Vrij, Radu; Basta, Parolo, Lucas Leiva, Lulic; Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto; Immobile

Lazio bench: Vargic, Guerrieri, Hoedt, Luiz Felipe, Lukaku, Marusic, Patric, Di Gennaro, Murgia, Crecco, Keita, Lombardi, Caicedo

 

Ref: Massa 

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Allegri angry with ugly Juventus performance

 

Manager’s comments after wasted comeback in Supercoppa

 

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https://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/8/14/16141452/allegri-angry-ugly-

juventus-performance-dumb-lazio-supercoppa-supercup-comeback

 

 

Aug 14, 2017

 

Juventus were unable to take advantage of a thrilling, late comeback and lost 3-2 to Lazio in the Italian SuperCup final.

After the game manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the media, his frustration visible .

“Apart from the goal, where we were dumb, Lazio deserved it. They played better, we didn’t play at all until the final 30 minutes and we need to reflect on that, to get our feet back on the ground.

“It’s going to be a tough season and we need to understand that now. Lazio were sharp and quicker to the ball, the moment we had chances, we took them.

“We should’ve taken it to extra time, but regardless, Lazio did deserve it.”

The substitutions late in the game made the difference with Douglas Costa coming on for Juan Cuadrado and making an immediate difference.

“When Douglas Costa came on we spread the play more and opened Lazio up, which frankly we were supposed to do in the first half as well.

“We started pre-season training later and some are struggling in purely physical terms. I knew there could be some difficulties, but I thought we could control the first 45 minutes better.

“It was an ugly performance and Lazio deserved to win. We weren’t up to the task, it’s a shame that we missed the first objective of the season, but from next weekend we’ve got to start winning.

“Victories must be earned, this is a difficult year. We beat Lazio in Beijing for the Super Cup two years ago and then had a bad start to the Serie A season, so hopefully we’ll do it the other way round this time.”

With the Serie A starting next weekend, the pressure will be on Juve to start off strong after this limp display.

"In the championship we will not and cannot be the same. This defeat brings us back to the ground. Winning is not easy.

"Some of us are not yet in shape. I knew it would not be easy. The season has just begun and it will certainly not be a simple one but we will see a different Juve, starting from Saturday.”

 

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Dybala: 'Juve small-team mentality'

 

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http://www.football-italia.net/108138/dybala-juve-small-team-mentality

 

 

Aug 14, 2017

 

Paulo Dybala lambasted the Juventus attitude after a 3-2 Italian Super Cup defeat to Lazio, calling it “a small-team mentality.”

 

La Joya’s late brace looked as if it was going to force extra time after coming back from 2-0 down, but Alessandro Murgia snatched the winner for 3-2 in stoppages.

 

“It’s a game we deserved to lose and Lazio comfortably deserved to win, even if we had come close to turning it around,” Dybala told JTV.

 

“If we had gone to extra time, our chances of winning would’ve changed, but the performance we put in was not much to shout about. The result showed that they deserved the victory.

 

“The first 10-15 minutes were really good because we were attacking, we were aggressive towards Lazio and had the chances to score goals.

 

“We can’t just change attitude like that and play 50-60 minutes with that mentality. We have to turn over a new leaf, think of the next match and be aware that we must become more mature, because what we saw tonight was a small-team mentality.

 

“We want to change attitude straight away, because this isn’t the real Juve and we know that. We must be more mature and train this week to be ready for a very important game against Cagliari.”

 

Dybala curled in a wonderful free kick and converted a penalty, but he rebuffed compliments.

 

“Personally, I cannot be happy with my performance. Even if I scored two goals, I didn’t play well and I think I’ll have to work twice as hard this week too, because we’ve got to start the Serie A season strong against Cagliari.”

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Juventus vs. Lazio 2017: Final score 2-3, De Sciglio’s

madness wastes incredible Juve comeback in Supercoppa

 

Paulo Dybala’s brace had Juve ascendant late, but the new signing’s

big mistake gifted Lazio a 3-2 win in the season’s curtain-raiser.

 

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hhttps://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/8/14/16141318/juventus-

lazio-2017-serie-a-italian-super-cup-final-score-recap-result

 

 

Aug 14, 2017

 

Sunday night’s Supercoppa Italiana was certainly a roller coaster ride. Ten minutes in, it looked like Juventus was going to rise out of an iffy preseason and smash Lazio’s face in. For most of the next 80, we were wondering just what was had gone so terribly wrong.

Then for a fleeting moment, everything went right. In his first game wearing Juve’s iconic No. 10 shirt, Paulo Dybala pumped in two goals in the final five minutes of the match, seemingly securing extra time and proving once again that you can never count this Juventus team out of a domestic match.

Then Mattia De Sciglio happened. I haven’t seen a whiff that bad since Greg Maddux was in his heyday with the Atlanta Braves.

Depressing as the last-second defeat was, it came in a game that, in the long run of things, didn’t mean a whole heck of a lot. At least not when compared with what’s coming.

Massimiliano Allegri, as we’ll get to in a bit, has to bear the majority of the responsibility for this loss. His starting lieup was, at first glance, perplexing. Playing Medhi Benatia next to Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli at right back raised an eyebrow. So too did the exclusion of Claudio Marchisio, who so thoroughly outplayed Sami Khedira in preseason. One also wondered why Juan Cuadrado was starting in the stead of newcomers Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi, both of whom were bought as upgrades to the Colombian on the wing.

Of course, for the first 10 minutes of the game, it looked like it wouldn’t matter how many people were doing their best Spock eyebrows at the team sheet. Three minutes in, Alex Sandro was sent slashing down the left side. He put in a fantastic low cross that was met by Cuadrado. It was the first of many letdowns for Cuadrado on the day. He met the ball for a first-time shot and had Lazio keeper Thomas Strakosha going the other way, but somehow managed to hit the Albanian in the leg — and let’s be real here, he was not flailing back for it, the ball hit him, not the other way around.

That passage of play turned into three consecutive corners, the first two of which saw Strakosha called into action again. The first, a short play, saw an angled drive from Dybala beaten away. Then Gonzalo Higuain got in on the act, pouncing on a second ball and firing a bouncing shot that the keeper again had to scramble to.

But from the moment Lazio broke that initial wave of pressure, Juve was never able to re-establish themselves in the attacking half. Players were dispossessed, passes were scattered to the winds, and Lazio settled in. By the 18th minute, when Benatia blocked an attempted bicycle kick with his face, it was clear that the momentum had turned.

It was about a minute after that sequence that it started becoming clear that Cuadrado needed to be removed as fast as possible. He was overpowered by Senad Lulic, who sent Lazio on a dangerous counter down the right side. It was broken up, but Cuadrado had firmly established himself as a liability.

Chiellini made a few important defensive interventions as the half wore on, but in the 31st minute, Juve finally paid the price for his failure. He allowed himself to be dispossessed again, and the resulting counterattack sent Ciro Immobile careening downfield. Gianluigi Buffon came to meet him, but was never going to gain the ball. He clattered into the former Juve youth player, earning Immobile a penalty and himself a yellow card. Immobile came up to take the penalty himself, sending a low shot that was perfectly angled to beat Buffon, who had correctly guessed that his young Italy teammate would take the shot to his right. 1-0 Lazio.

Two minutes later it could have been all but over, but Buffon redeemed himself by pulling of a sensational double save, winning a 1-on-1 matchup with a free-running Dusan Basta before resetting and tipping Lucas Leiva’s follow-up over the bar.

Juve, meanwhile, was totally unable to formulate any offense of their own. Cuadrado gave the ball away a few more times, and even when Juve recovered quickly from those, players were isolated by Lazio’s pressure and forced into giving the ball away. By halftime, even Dybala was passing the ball to no one in particular.

As the teams arrived on the field for the second half, it was upsetting to see that Allegri had not seen fit to change anything. Cuadrado was imploding and Barzagli was having problems with pace out wide, but apparently Max was going to give it another go.

Unsurprisingly, the second period started much the same as the first ended — with Juve, and Cuadrado in particular, giving the ball away left and right. It also didn’t help when the winger was shoved to the ground without any call from referee Davide Massa, while barely a minute later Mario Mandzukic was called for a foul that didn’t actually happen and was booked for dissent.

Ten minutes into the half Marco Parolo, who until then had literally made a friend sitting next to me forget he was in the starting lineup, put a fantastic cross into the Juve box. Benatia was caught ball-watching — surprise, surprise... — and Immobile easily jumped in front of Barzagli to power home his second goal. It was 2-0 to Lazio, and Juve was showing no signs of being able to turn things around.

Juventus v SS Lazio - Italian SupercupPhoto by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Allegri finally cut the cord on Cuadrado and Benatia two minutes later, sending on Costa in a straight swap on the wing and De Sciglio to take over at right-back while Barzagli moved into the center.

Things improved from there. De Sciglio’s first action was to float in a cross, and while his high crosses are notoriously inaccurate, his first one was put into a fairly dangerous spot that Lazio couldn’t completely clear, but Chiellini’s shot on the follow-up went tamely into Strakosha’s hands.

On the hour Immobile nearly had a hat-trick handed to him after a miscommunication in the back left the ball in open space in the box, but Buffon sprang out and beat him to the ball.

Costa proved a shot in the arm. He cut inside hard and forced the Lazio players to react to him. In the 68th minute he slipped inside and unleashed a hard shot that unfortunately went right at Strakosha, but considering the fact that that was the most dangerous shot the Lazio keeper had seen in about 65 minutes of game time, it was a clear improvement. A few minutes later he curled in a beautiful ball to the far post that really should have made it game on, but Higuain, who after his one shot in the opening minutes had managed to do just shy of nothing, couldn’t manage to get on the end of it.

Federico Bernardeschi made his competitive debut for Juve with 18 minutes remaining, but frustration was setting in, and Miralem Pjanic, saw yellow for an off-ball shove a minute later. Buffon again kept his team in it by saving an absolute screamer from Luis Alberto, but there just didn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.

That changed with five minutes of normal time remaining. After earning a free kick and getting Parolo booked in the process, Dybala took over free kick duties from Pjanic, who had been airmailing his efforts up to that point, and put a wicked curve into his shot, bending it inside of the post and around Strakosha’s hand at the same time to set up a grandstand finish.

Juve pressed hard into Lazio’s penalty area but couldn’t come up with a killer ball. Then Sandro burst into the box and was tripped by Adam Marusic. It was a clear penalty, and as the game lapsed into stoppage time Dybala sent Strakosha the wrong way, improbably tying the game.

Had Juve gotten to the full time whistle level, it wouldn’t have been hard to see them winning in extra time. That kind of comeback is enough to take the light out of a team’s eyes. But Lazio got lucky when substitute Jordan Lukaku’s normal-looking run down the attacking left became very dangerous indeed when De Sciglio went for a sliding tackle and missed. Missed the ball, missed the man, missed absolutely everything. Free to pick a spot at his leisure, the Belgian found a pocket of space for 21-year-old academy product Alessandro Muriga to fire past a stranded Buffon as Bernardeschi desperately tried to get back in time.

Massa let play go on an extra minute beyond the minimum after Lazio’s celebrations, but there was no more magic in those desperate seconds. The whistle sounded, and the first match of the year ended in a deserved defeat.

 

LE PAGELLE

Gianluigi Buffon - 6. You can’t get too upset over his conceding the penalty — he had been completely stranded and few options. He more than made up for it as the game wore on, making a bunch of saves that kept Juve in some kind of striking distance. His double stop on Basta and Leiva was remarkable, although he makes that kind of stop so often that for a Juventino it almost seems a matter of routine.

Andrea Barzagli - 5.5. He just doesn’t belong on the flank anymore, period. He can’t deal with pacy players at his age. Much better once he moved inside after the introduction of De Sciglio.

Giorgio Chiellini - 6. Struggled to mesh with Benatia, but knowing the Moroccan that might not his fault. Still made a couple of good defensive interventions and did his best to push forward as the clock ticked down.

Medhi Benatia - 4. The king of mistakes is back! Just as I was thinking that he had had a fairly strong game to that point, he throws it all away by ball watching. That was a totally preventable goal.

Alex Sandro - 6. Shackled offensively as the game went on, but that early burst was a thing of beauty and he did well to earn the equalizing penalty. One of the few players that can really hold his head high tonight.

Sami Khedira - 4. Did absolutely nothing. The decline in his level of play from this time last year to this is stunning.

Miralem Pjanic - 4.5. A wee bit better than Khedira, but not by much. His free kick deliveries were atrocious.

Juan Cuadrado - 3. It was harder to miss that early chance than it was to score. You wonder if that killed his confidence, because his play after that was totally indifferent. Gave the ball away whenever it came close to him and went down far too easy.

Paulo Dybala - 7. Not a bad way to start off your tenure as the No. 10. He didn’t respond to Lazio’s pressure in the best of ways, but made a couple of good dribbles, earned some free kicks, and came up big when it counted to tie the score. All three of his shots hit the target, and he made two key passes as well.

Mario Mandzukic - 4. I usually rank Mario quite highly even if he has a below-average offensive day because of his defensive contributions, but even that was limited for the most part today. Definitely not his best.

Gonzalo Higuain - 4. He got little service, yes, but when he did get the ball he usually made the wrong decisions with it. One particular incident early in the second half saw him blindly cross the ball when he was pushed out wide when there wasn’t any support in the middle. Needs to come up bigger in high-stakes games.

SUBS

Douglas Costa - 7. Totally changed the game on being introduced. Stretched the Lazio defense the way Cuadrado was supposed to and made a couple of really great crosses.

Mattia De Sciglio - 4.5. Crossing was wayward. He did make the back four more balanced against pace—until that whiff. I still can’t believe I saw that.

Federico Bernardeschi - 5.5. Didn’t really do a whole lot in attack. Culpability in marking Murgia on the winning goal is debatable—he likely wouldn’t have been in that position at all if De Sciglio had done his job.

Juventus v SS Lazio - Italian SupercupPhoto by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

MANAGER

Mx Allegri - 3. The starting XI was atrocious. He had two fully fit right backs to choose from and decided to use Barzagli out of position instead. Two years ago he would have been able to manage, but not now. Heck, he’d been having issues with dealing with pace far longer than that. Most of Lazio’s most dangerous attacks came down that side in the first half, including the one that earned the penalty (although that was Cuadrado’s fault).

Speaking of Cuadrado, he simply should not be starting anymore. Bernardeschi and Costa were brought in as upgrades on the wing. Both are better players than him at this point. He can’t be the starter anymore.

The same can be said of Benatia. The only acceptable reason for Daniele Rugani riding the bench right now is if he still isn’t back to full fitness after his extended break following the U-21 Euros. If Benatia is starting over a healthy and fit Rugani by the middle of September, then questions need to start being asked.

Beyond the choices for the starters, Allegri also changed things far too late. Cuadrado should have been off at halftime.

The biggest strike, though, comes in the form of Marchisio. Why il Principino didn’t play AT ALLis beyond comprehension. He he outplayed Khedira during preseason by a significant margin, and with the midfield being overrun Marchisio’s passing ability and experience could have been decisive in turning the tide against Lazio’s press. He should have been starting this game, but the fact that he didn’t even make an appearance is unconscionable.

TACTICAL ANALYSIS

It’s weird to see Juventus struggling against teams that press them. Three seasons ago Juve disposed of one of the most significant pressing teams in recent times in Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund. Yes, that BVB team wasn’t at it’s 2010-12 prime, but they still slipped that press with relative ease.

It’s concerning, then to see Juve’s midfield fold so badly in the face of the press. This isn’t a case of buying a player to give the midfield more steel, this is a tactical issue. Lazio managed to strand players in possession far from any outlets to keep possession. That forced them into the bad passes and giveaways that because the story of this game.

For years, of course, Juve’s best weapon against the press was a long ball over the top by Leonardo Bonucci, but that option is no longer available. It’s going to take Allegri’s tactical skill to come up with an alternative option.

Other teams in Serie A are going to take this game as a blueprint for how to cause the bianconeri maximum trouble. Allegri is going to have to work out how to get support to the player on the ball so that they won’t be harried into the kind of performance we saw today. If he can’t figure it out, it could be a long season.

LOOKING AHEAD

At the end of the day, the Supercoppa isn’t the be-all and end-all of the world. Next week’s game against Cagliari means a lot more. If things go well, this won’t even be a footnote in the story of the season.

But Allegri needs to learn the lessons of today. It will take time for the back line to adjust without Bonucci, but it looks like the new players up front are settling in nicely, particularly Costa.

A loss like this can be instructive, but Allegri needs to learn those lessons quickly as league play approaches. The season starts in earnest in six days.

 

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Super Cup: Juventus Player Ratings

 

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http://www.football-italia.net/108133/super-cup-juventus-player-ratings

 

 

Aug 14, 2017

 

Paulo Dybala proved he really can't do it on his own, while Juan Cuadrado and Medhi Benatia made a mockery of Max Allegri's team selection.

 

Gianluigi Buffon: 6

Buffon wasn’t exactly helped by the defence in front of him, but we can all say he’s had better games in the past. His saves in the first half kept Juve in with a shouting chance, but giving away the penalty didn’t aid his cause.  

Giorgio Chiellini: 5

Chiellini was fairly solid for large parts of the game, but really did look like he could be beaten with pace easily. Obviously, he is still a good defender, no one can question that, but he is looking rather lost without his former partner in crime Leonardo Bonucci. It will take time for them to get used to life without Leo, but it isn’t looking great so far.  


Medhi Benatia: 5

Similar to Chiellini, Benatia dealt with most of what came his way, but he didn’t look like anything special, certainly not Juve level. With Daniele Rugani coming up in to the first team, Benatia will probably find his chances limited, but with performances like this you can see why.  

Andrea Barzagli: 4

Very few 36-year-olds can put in a shift at right-back, but Barzagli gave it his best shot, despite his lack of forward runs. He offers solidity at the back, but that’s about it and it left you wondering why didn’t Mattia De Sciglio start?


Alex Sandro: 6

Probably the most active of the Juve side in the first half, Alex Sandro tried to create something early on and nearly provided an assist for Dybala, but after that he wasn’t able to do much. Poor by his standards, but still decent compared to his teammates on the night.  

Benatia-1708-_Milinkovic-epa.jpg

Juan Cuadrado: 4

Cuadrado is clearly a talented player, but how does he still get a game? He offers nothing but pace, but most of the time his end product was wasted and didn’t reach a player in black and white. His turnover gifted Lazio the penalty.


Miralem Pjanic: 5

Pjanic will be disappointed in his showing, not being able to dictate play like he would’ve wanted and even poor from free kicks. He needs a midfielder next to him that will cover his defensive duties, allowing him to spread the play out.


Sami Khedira: 4

Speaking of having another defensive midfielder next to Pjanic, it’s easy to see why Juve have been actively searching on the market. Khedira just isn’t the same as he was even last season and it really slows the team down at times. Is his time at the club up?  
 

Paulo Dybala: 6

Probably the only Juve player who can come out of this with his head held high, with his free kick and penalty being the only reason Juve lasted as long as they did. Dybala really is the gem of the team, but as tonight proved, he cannot do it on his own.  


Mario Mandzukic: 4

Anonymous for the majority of the game, it was a bit weird that Mandzukic started, especially when Allegri had both Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi on the bench. Poor from Mandzukic, but that seemed to be the pattern of play for Juve tonight.

Gonzalo Higuain: 4

How can one score without actually having chances? Simple, you can’t and Higuain found this out the hard way tonight. It’s hard to lay blame on the guy when he just didn’t get all that many chances to put the ball away.  

Subs:

Douglas Costa for Cuadrado: 6

Costa looked bright when coming on and gave Juventus a spring in their step once he replaced Cuadrado, begging the question why he didn’t start.

De Sciglio for Benatia: 4

The former Milan full-back still can’t put in a decent cross and was skinned by Jordan Lukaku for the decisive goal.

Bernardeschi for Mandzukic: N/A

 

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Not so super Juventus

 

Just as they did in Cardiff, Juventus looked woefully

short of answers as they lost the Supercoppa Italiana

 

224745675-904e7557-4863-4a64-8c02-c9651d

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108134/not-so-super-juventus

 

 

Aug 14, 2017

 

“Fino alla fine” has long been the motto of Juventus. Embroidered on shirts and sung by supporters, the phrase – meaning “until the end” – captures the relentless drive of the Bianconeri, a team who never ever give up.

 

For a few minutes of Sunday’s Supercoppa Italiana, it seemed as if the Old Lady was to once again show the world that she is never beaten, coming back from a two-goal deficit to draw level with Coppa Italia runners-up Lazio. But despite Paulo Dybala’s perfectly struck free kick and penalty double, it would be the Capital club who went on to lift the trophy, substitute Alessandro Murgia slotting home after great work from Jordan Lukaku.

 

It was a victory that ended a run of 10 consecutive Juve wins against the same opponent, Lazio lifting the trophy after a performance which they should be immensely proud of. Yet for all the effort, tactical awareness and diligent pressing from Simone Inzaghi’s men, this was a result which said much more about the losers than of a triumphant Lazio.

 

What played out in 95 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico was no different to the stark truths laid bare in Cardiff little over two months ago. A number of shortcomings in the Bianconeri side that have not been addressed over the summer were highlighted once again, while perhaps Max Allegri was also allowed to make a costly point at the expense of the new arrivals in his squad.

 

The loss in UEFA’s elite competition proved beyond all doubt that Juve lack bite and strength in the middle of the park, and Lazio continually over-ran them in a similar manner.

 

Linked with moves for Liverpool’s Emre Can and Blaise Matuidi of Paris Saint-Germain, director general Beppe Marotta insisted before kick-off that he will bring in a midfielder before the window closes and, as the game unfolded, that looked like a desperate requirement.

 

Sami Khedira looked sluggish both in terms of covering ground and the speed of his passing, his laboured approach sucking Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain far too deep. It is a problem that has blighted the side for over a year, but Marotta – who memorably tried and failed to sign Axel Witsel in January – has since allowed Mario Lemina and Tomas Rincon to depart while inexplicably bringing in no proven reinforcement.

 

With his strike force neutralised as a result of the team’s shortcomings in central midfield, Allegri’s decision to leave both Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa on the bench harmed the side even more. The latter was arguably the one bright spark after his introduction and Lazio certainly had no answer for his drive and skilful dribbling, but it appeared that the Juve boss was making a point that a place in the starting XI must be earned by every player.

 

If that is the case, as it has been in the past with Dybala, Higuain, Alvaro Morata and others, then losing the Supercoppa is an expensive price to pay. But, if defeat here prompts the club to finally seal a deal for a top-class midfielder, then it was arguably worth watching Lazio celebrate and seeing the Bianconeri collect another runners-up medal.

 

Otherwise, the end of Juve’s dominance might be much closer than the Old Lady expected.

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xlf6gm.gif

 

 

 

 

Juventus need leadership, consistency

from Paulo Dybala to reach their goals

 

092543520-890a858e-bc15-4d29-9279-c6f13e

 

http://www.espnfc.co.uk/club/juventus/111/blog/post/3180386/juventus

-need-leadership-from-paulo-dybala-to-reach-their-goals

 

 

Aug 15, 2017

 

"We have to turn over a new leaf, think of the next match and be aware that we must become more mature, because what we saw tonight was a small-team mentality," explained Paulo Dybala after Juventus' 3-2 loss to Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana.

Donning the No. 10 jersey for the first time, Dybala is keen to live up to what is expected from a player with that shirt number. While the youngster did admit he too didn't play so well on Sunday evening despite going on to score a brace to briefly level things out, he is the player whose mentality causes the most concern.

A forward who boasts sublime talent, Dybala is a magician when he is in his element. If things go his way and Juventus are on top in a match, the playmaker comes to life, moving between the lines to overwhelm the opponent and split apart the strongest defences.

However, what he is yet to learn is how to be a leader on a consistent basis. We perhaps shouldn't expect too much from one who is still developing, but his performance in the Champions League final was beyond disappointing.

While many will point to Gonzalo Higuain's average display or Dani Alves' indiscipline to leave Andrea Barzagli exposed, the one who simply shut down and collapsed mentally was Dybala. When Juve bought Higuain, they knew what they were purchasing: a lethal striker certainly, but one who cannot create his own chances and must be afforded good service. As for Alves, indiscipline is part of his game largely due to his love of offensive football.

Dybala, however, was supposed to have learned his lessons and matured. The penalty miss against Milan in last year's Supercoppa was past him; Max Allegri spoke of how he had grown and against Barcelona, the diminutive genius demonstrated his talent to awaken the world's interest. One yellow card in the final and Dybala fell apart, vanishing from the game to devastating effect.

Of course, tactically Zinedine Zidane addressed all his side's problems from the first half to deliver a perfect strategy in the second, and playing against Galacticos will always be difficult. But more was expected from Dybala, especially for a player who seems to have been rewarded with the shirt number the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and Michel Platini once wore.

r244521_1296x729_16-9.jpg&w=738&site=esp
His skills are unquestioned, but consistent leadership from Paulo Dybala will be key to Juventus' success this season.

Can Dybala handle the pressure of the No. 10 jersey? Based on Juve's first competitive match of the season, we can be optimistic. But if Dybala truly wants to be the next Ballon d'Or winner and capable of upstaging the world's best to earn Juventus the Champions League trophy they covet, then he'll need to prove to be the consistent leader the team needs in the big matches -- and that means more than regurgitating Alves' criticisms of the small-team mentality that exists at Juve.

In this modern age of football, there is no such thing as a young player. At Dybala's age, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were dominating, while players like Kylian Mbappe are proving themselves in all the right games. At Juve, there is no room for inconsistency, and the Bianconeri can only hope that this season, Dybala will overcome the weight of pressure and express that potential on the big stage, 

The Champions League is and will always be Juventus' priority. Too many failures at the final hurdle are bound to have a negative effect on the team going forward, and Allegri's job will prove much more difficult this season. For one thing, the team lacks tactical balance, and defensively the Bianconeri are a shamble.

Allegri is a notoriously slow starter, and it takes him a few months to discover the right tactic and translate his ideals to his squad. However, what the side cannot afford is a lack of humility.

At the start of last season, Juventus hardly thrilled with their style of football, but they still won their matches. The team must recover that fighting spirit. Napoli, Inter, Milan and perhaps a few others will be gunning for the title, and the Old Lady must prove why they are still everyone's favourites to win the Scudetto for an unprecedented seventh time.

Blaise Matuidi should soon arrive to provide help in midfield, while Juve have certainly upgraded their players on the wings to bolster the attack. But until they recover their comfort in the defensive phase of the game, chances are they will continue to suffer.

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Maresca for Juventus-Cagliari

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108312/tagliavento-inter-fiorentina

 

 

Aug 17, 2017

 

The referees have been announced for the first weekend of Serie A, with Paolo Tagliavento taking charge of Inter-Fiorentina.

 

The season gets underway on Saturday evening when Juventus host Cagliari, with Fabio Maresca overseeing that game.

 

However, the biggest clash of the weekend is the Viola’s trip to San Siro, and Tagliavento will be the man in the middle for that match.

 

Elsewhere, Michael Fabbri will run the rule over Napoli’s trip to Verona, with Pierpaolo Mariani entrusted with Crotone-Milan.

 

 

Serie A Week 1 referees:

 

Atalanta-Roma - Piero Giacomelli
Bologna-Torino - Davide Massa
Crotone-Milan - Pierpaolo Mariani
Verona-Napoli - Michael Fabbri
Inter-Fiorentina - Paolo Tagliavento
Juventus-Cagliari - Fabio Maresca
Lazio-SPAL - Rosario Abisso
Sampdoria-Benevento - Fabrizio Pasqua
Sassuolo-Genoa - Antonio Damato
Udinese-Chievo - Claudio Gavillucci

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Matuidi in Juventus squad

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108388/matuidi-juventus-squad

 

 

Aug 18, 2017

 

Blaise Matuidi could make his Juventus debut tomorrow, as he’s been included in the squad to face Cagliari.

 

The midfielder officially completed his move from Paris Saint-Germain earlier today, signing for €20m plus another potential €10.5m in bonuses.

 

Coach Massimiliano Allegri has opted to put the French international straight into his squad for tomorrow’s match, so he could feature at some point.

 

Kwadwo Asamoah is also in the party, despite rumours he's close to joining Turkish side Galatasaray.

 

There are otherwise no real surprises in the squad, with Wojciech Szczesny included after shaking off an injury.

 

Captain Gianluigi Buffon is present for the first match of what is likely to be his final Serie A season.

 

 

Juventus squad to face Cagliari: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Szczesny, De Sciglio, Chiellini, Benatia, Alex Sandro, Barzagli, Rugani, Lichtsteiner, Pjanic, Khedira, Marchisio, Matuidi, Asamoah, Sturaro, Bentancur, Cuadrado, Higuain, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Mandzukic, Bernardeschi, Kean

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Cagliari drop Borriello

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108386/cagliari-drop-borriello

 

 

Aug 18, 2017

 

Marco Borriello is believed to be in talks with SPAL, and Cagliari haven’t called him up for their trip to Juventus.

 

The striker scored 16 goals in Serie A last season, and signed a new contractwith the Isolani last month.

 

Despite that, Alfredo Pedulla’s website believes he’s set to leave Sardinia, with talks taking place with newly promoted SPAL.

 

Adding fuel to the fire, the Italian international hasn’t been called for tomorrow’s trip to Juventus, one of his former clubs.

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Juventus stick with 4-2-3-1

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108390/juventus-stick-4-2-3-1

 

 

Aug 18, 2017

 

Juventus are expected to stick with 4-2-3-1 for the opening game of Serie A, with Sami Khedira and Miralem Pjanic in midfield.

 

Following the defeat to Lazio in the Supercoppa and the arrival of Blaise Matuidi from Paris Saint-Germain, it has been suggested the Bianconeri could switch to 4-3-3.

 

However, today’s training session at Juventus Stadium appeared to indicate that last season’s shape will be retained, at least initially.

 

In terms of the line-up, TuttoJuve reports that Mattia De Sciglio is likely to be preferred to Stephan Lichtsteiner at right-back, flanking Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.

 

Last season’s first-choice central-midfield pairing of Pjanic and Khedira looks set to continue, with Matuidi and Claudio Marchisio on the bench.

 

New signing Douglas Costa will likely be preferred to Juan Cuadrado on the right, with Mario Mandzukic continuing his role on the left wing and Paulo Dybala playing just behind Gonzalo Higuain.

 

Probable Juventus line-up: Buffon; De Sciglio, Barzagli, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Douglas Costa, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuain

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Line-ups: Juventus-Cagliari

 

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108429/line-ups-juventus-cagliari

 

 

Aug 19, 2017

 

Juventus look to the old guard in their Serie A opener against Cagliari, as Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi are benched.

 

It kicks off in Turin’s newly-named Allianz Stadium at 18.00 CET - 17.00 UK time (16.00 GMT).

 

The Bianconeri already made history with a sixth consecutive Scudetto and begin the hunt for a seventh, but are also smarting from a second Champions League Final defeat in three years.

 

Max Allegri continues to insist fans should not be disappointed by last term, seeing as they won the Serie A crown and Coppa Italia again, but there is a sense of unease.

 

The departure of Leonardo Bonucci to Milan and Dani Alves towards Paris Saint-Germain exacerbated that feeling an era was coming to an end, as did last weekend’s 3-2 defeat to Lazio in the Italian Super Cup.

 

Mattia De Sciglio, Douglas Costa and Bernardeschi are on the bench today, with Claudio Marchisio picked ahead of Sami Khedira in midfield, while new buy Blaise Matuidi only completed his transfer from PSG yesterday.

 

Marko Pjaca is the only player on the treatment table.

 

Cagliari make the trip without Marco Borriello, as the 35-year-old made his move to Spal today with Bartosz Salamon, while Rafael, Federico Melchiorri and Alessandro Deiola are injured.

 

Diego Farias leads the line with Duje Cop, while Luca Cigarini is a promising new addition to pull the midfield strings.

 

Marco Sau and Joao Pedro are rather surprisingly dropped.

 

The last time Juventus lost to Cagliari at home was in 2009 when a late Alessandro Matri winner sealed a 3-2 victory for the Rossoblu against his future club.

 

 

Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Marchisio, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain

Juventus bench: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Benatia, Barzagli, Asamoah, Khedira, Matuidi, Douglas Costa, Bentancur, Sturaro, Bernardeschi

 

Cagliari: Cragno; Padoin, Andreolli, Pisacane, Capuano; Faragò, Cigarini, Ionita; Barella; Farias, Cop

Cagliari bench: Crosta, Daga, Ceppitelli, Miangue, Romagna, Cossu, Dessena, Joao Pedro, Giannetti, Sau

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HT 2-0: Juve lead despite VAR

 

Mandzukic-1708-celebs-epa.jpg

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108434/ht-juve-lead-despite-var

 

 

Aug 19, 2017

 

Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala put Juventus 2-0 up at half-time, but Gigi Buffon denied a Cagliari penalty awarded by VAR.

 

The reigning champions began the hunt for a seventh consecutive Scudetto, but did not start any of their summer signings. The Sardinians were without Federico Melchiorri and Alessandro Deiola, while Marco Borriello and Bartosz Salamon completed moves to Spal this morning.

 

The last time Juve lost to Cagliari at home was in 2009, when a late Alessandro Matri winner sealed a 3-2 victory for the Rossoblu. Fan anxiety at the departures of Leonardo Bonucci and Dani Alves was exacerbated by last week’s 3-2 Italian Super Cup defeat to Lazio.

 

Within two minutes, Miralem Pjanic’s free kick had shaved a coat of paint off the near top corner, but Juve broke the deadlock when Stephan Lichtsteiner floated in a cross for Mario Mandzukic to cushion a volley off the inside of his right boot from 10 yards.

 

The Bianconeri kept plenty of possession, but Gigi Buffon needed a great save on 34 minutes to parry from Diego Farias and, on the rebound Paolo Faragò blasted over the bar.

 

Serie A has introduced VAR this season and the Video Assistant Referee got its first use when Alex Sandro trod on the back of Duje Cop’s ankle. After several minutes and consultation on the monitors, the referee pointed to the spot. However, Farias stepped up and saw his penalty parried by 39-year-old Buffon.

 

On the stroke of half-time, the hosts doubled their lead, as Miralem Pjanic floated a fantastic ball over the top from his own half, Dybala chested it down and smashed into the roof of the net. It was his first Serie A goal since taking on the Number 10 jersey.

 

 

Juventus 2-0 Cagliari (Half-Time)

Mandzukic 13 (J), Dybala 45 (J)

 

Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Marchisio, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain

 

Cagliari: Cragno; Padoin, Andreolli, Pisacane, Capuano; Faragò, Cigarini, Ionita; Barella; Farias, Cop

 

Ref: Maresca

 

Saved penalty: Farias 39 (C)

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JUVENTUS 3 CAGLIARI 0: BUFFON SAVES SERIE A'S

FIRST VAR PENALTY IN COMFORTABLE WIN

 

Gianluigi Buffon saved a penalty awarded via VAR as Mario Mandzukic,

Paulo Dybala & Gonzalo Higuain scored in Juventus' win over Cagliari.

 

 

183006370-cd998226-cf47-4ff1-96b9-b92092

 

http://www.goal.com/en/match/juventus-v-cagliari/report/al45hw7butnzzwlgdayb0fb6y

 

 

Aug 19, 2017

 

Gianluigi Buffon added to his legendary status in Italian football by saving the first penalty awarded via VAR in Serie A as Juventus began their title defence with a 3-0 home win over Cagliari.

Veteran Juve skipper and Italy international Buffon denied Diego Farias from 12 yards after on-field official Fabio Maresca used video technology to award Cagliari a first-half spot-kick following Alex Sandro's tackle from behind on Duje Cop.

It proved a costly miss for Massimo Rastelli's side, who were already trailing to the champions following Mario Mandzukic's opener in the 12th minute.

Paulo Dybala added to Cagliari's frustrations when he picked out the top corner on the stroke of half-time, with calls for handball in the build-up from the visitors ignored by the referee.

Argentina international Dybala was denied a second by the crossbar early in the second half, but compatriot Gonzalo Higuain got on the scoreboard as Juve bounced back from their Supercoppa Italiana defeat to Lazio in fine fashion.

Blaise Matuidi was handed a Juve debut from the bench after completing his €20million move from Paris Saint-Germain on Friday, getting 20 minutes to help see out a 38th successive Serie A home match without defeat for Massimiliano Allegri's men.

Miralem Pjanic curled an excellent free-kick narrowly wide, but Juve only had to wait until the 12th minute for the opening goal. Mandzukic guided a lovely right-footed volley from Stephan Lichtsteiner's right-wing cross beyond Alessio Cragno to put Juve ahead.

Paolo Farago fired over after Buffon saved a powerful shot from Farias before Cagliari had a fantastic chance to equalise when referee Maresca awarded them a penalty following a video review of Sandro's tackle on Cop.

Farias stuttered in his run-up and placed a poor spot-kick close enough to Buffon for him to save, and Juve punished the visitors further by adding to their tally before the break.

Pjanic sent an exquisite pass down the middle for Dybala, who was deemed to have controlled with his chest before beating Cragno with a fine finish into the top-right corner.

 
View image on Twitter

1 - Paulo Dybala has scored with his first touch in the opp box. Sniper. #JuveCagliari

 

Within two minutes of the restart Dybala came agonisingly close to his second when, at the end of a flowing move, his cross-goal strike bounced down and out off the bar, with Mandzukic's follow-up header held by Cragno.

Farago volleyed a rare opportunity for Cagliari over the top of Buffon's goal, and Higuain showed him how to finish five minutes later.

At the end of a brilliant move involving substitute Sami Khedira and Sandro, Higuain placed a cross-goal shot through the legs of Marco Andreolli and into the bottom-right corner.

The Argentine was replaced by debutant Matuidi in the 70th minute, while Douglas Costa made his first Serie A appearance since joining from Bayern Munich by replacing Juan Cuadrado.

Dybala drilled narrowly wide at the end of a sweeping move in the 93rd minute, but Juve had already done enough to begin their bid for a seventh successive Scudetto with three points.

 

Key Opta stats: 

- Mario Mandzukic has scored two goals in his last three Serie A games - as many as in his previous 11.

- Cagliari have conceded goal in all their last 20 away Serie A games.

- Gianluigi Buffon has saved two of the last three penalties faced in Serie A.

- Paulo Dybala has scored five goals in his last five appearances with Juventus (all competitions).

 

- Gonzalo Higuain has scored with his first shot on target.

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History made in Juventus-Cagliari

 

DHm4frqXoAABk9j.jpg:small

 

http://www.football-italia.net/SerieA/match/106372

 

 

Aug 19, 2017

 

Juventus swept Cagliari aside 3-0 in the League opener, but Gigi Buffon also saved the first Serie A penalty awarded via VAR.

 

The reigning champions began the hunt for a seventh consecutive Scudetto, but did not start any of their summer signings. The Sardinians were without Federico Melchiorri and Alessandro Deiola, while Marco Borriello and Bartosz Salamon completed moves to Spal this morning.

 

The last time Juve lost to Cagliari at home was in 2009, when a late Alessandro Matri winner sealed a 3-2 victory for the Rossoblu. Fan anxiety at the departures of Leonardo Bonucci and Dani Alves was exacerbated by last week’s 3-2 Italian Super Cup defeat to Lazio.

 

Within two minutes, Miralem Pjanic’s free kick had shaved a coat of paint off the near top corner, but Juve broke the deadlock when Stephan Lichtsteiner floated in a cross for Mario Mandzukic to cushion a volley off the inside of his right boot from 10 yards.

 

The Bianconeri kept plenty of possession, but Gigi Buffon needed a great save on 34 minutes to parry from Diego Farias and, on the rebound Paolo Faragò blasted over the bar.

 

Serie A has introduced VAR this season and the Video Assistant Referee got its first use when Alex Sandro trod on the back of Duje Cop’s ankle. After several minutes and consultation on the monitors, the referee pointed to the spot. However, Farias stepped up and saw his penalty parried by 39-year-old Buffon.

 

On the stroke of half-time, the hosts doubled their lead, as Miralem Pjanic floated a fantastic ball over the top from his own half, Dybala chested it down and smashed into the roof of the net. It was his first Serie A goal since taking on the Number 10 jersey.

 

Straight after the restart, La Joya almost added another, his curler from the edge of the box thumping the crossbar.

 

Gonzalo Higuain’s effort was charged down by Marco Andreolli, while Faragò wasted another golden opportunity by firing over.

 

Pipita did get his goal eventually, sliding an angled drive under the defender’s legs after Sami Khedira and Alex Sandro combined down the left flank.

 

Blaise Matuidi made his Juventus debut, just 24 hours after completing his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, for a 4-3-3 formation. Douglas Costa also made his Serie A bow and with the final kick of the game, Dybala skimmed the base of the upright.

 


 
Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Marchisio (Khedira 61), Pjanic; Cuadrado (Douglas Costa 74), Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain (Matuidi 71)
 
Cagliari: Cragno; Padoin (Joao Pedro 62), Andreolli, Pisacane, Capuano; Faragò, Cigarini (Dessena 85), Ionita; Barella; Farias, Cop (Sau 85)
 
Ref: Maresca
 

Saved penalty: Farias 39 (C)

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Dybala: 'Juve got game on track'

 

192846517-3dff8af0-f482-44bf-ae90-72fc8b

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108437/dybala-juve-got-game-track

 

 

Aug 19, 2017

 

Paulo Dybala thanked Gigi Buffon for saving a penalty when it was still only 1-0, as Juventus went on to beat Cagliari 3-0.

 

“I think it was a good performance from the team. I am happy with my goal, as it helped us double our lead in the first half, and glad we kept a clean sheet too,” La Joya told Sky Sport Italia.

 

“We started a little shaky, but when we opened the scoring, the game got on track. Thanks to Gigi, he saved the penalty, and we remained concentrated for the rest of the match.”

 

There were tactical changes in the second half, moving to 4-3-3 with Mario Mandzukic as the centre-forward and Dybala wide left.

 

“I wasn’t expecting to play in Mandzukic’s role, but I did play there at Palermo, so I am happy there too.”

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Allegri: 'Juve rely on Mandzukic'

 

192946535-bcb881d8-f0e3-4b98-9690-ec7711

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108438/allegri-juve-rely-mandzukic

 

 

Aug 19, 2017

 

Max Allegri was critical of Juventus defending again in a 3-0 win over Cagliariand underlined the importance of Mario Mandzukic.

 

The Croatian, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain secured a 3-0 victory, while Gigi Buffon parried the first penalty to be awarded in Serie A using VAR.

 

“We needed a strong performance after the Super Cup, although we weren’t consistent throughout the 90 minutes.

 

“Today the lads defended well after the penalty, because we did not defend properly before then and allowed Cagliari a few chances,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.

 

It was only 1-0 when Alex Sandro tripped Duje Cop and it was spotted by the Video Assistant Referee, but Buffon saved the Diego Farias spot-kick.

 

“I waited for the referee to make a decision, he gave the penalty, but fortunately Buffon is always a Number 1 and he got us out of a difficult situation.

 

“Against Lazio, the second Ciro Immobile goal was similar, we gave them about 10 minutes to choose a cross. If you cross under pressure, it becomes more difficult to find your target.

 

“The lads interpreted the match well overall and I am happy.”

 

Undoubtedly, Juventus must undergo tactical changes with Leonardo Bonucci’s transfer to Milan.

 

“These lads are talented, they play for Juventus. They might not have Leo’s 40-metre pass, but they have skills and can also play out from the back. We need to improve in the movements of the midfielders and forwards, so it will all eventually fall into place.”

 

Blaise Matuidi made his debut this evening in the second half, moving to a 4-3-3 formation.

 

“We can play with two in midfield, with three, with three and a half. The substitutions made a big impact tonight, as when you introduce Sami Khedira and Matuidi, obviously it’s going to make a difference.

 

“Mandzukic gives us physicality both defending and attacking. When we’re under pressure, we rely on him to a degree. He’s an important player and makes me angry every now and then when he has a bad night, like in some friendlies and against Lazio.”

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Juventus Player Ratings

 

192828325-bb675a0f-3706-451e-82be-684e36

 

http://www.football-italia.net/108447/juventus-player-ratings

 

 

Aug 19, 2017

 

After a difficult summer with many questions asked, Juventus and Gigi Buffon settled the nerves against Cagliari.

Gianluigi Buffon: 8

On his 620th Serie A appearance, Gigi was as impressive as ever, the Juventus stopper again coming to his team’s rescue during the first half. With the score at 1-0 he produced a fine reaction save from a shot inside the box, then in a piece of Serie A history, Buffon saved the first penalty awarded using VAR when denying Diego Farias. In what could be his last season, Buffon gave us a timely reminder of his brilliance.

Stephan Lichtsteiner: 6

With question marks surrounding his future and a drop off in performance, the Swiss international wanted to show he still has lots to offer. Despite providing an early assist for the first Juventus goal, this felt like another reminder that Lichty is passed his marauding best. Cagliari’s most dangerous attacks came down the Juventus right, catching Lichtsteiner out on a couple of occasions.

Daniele Rugani: 6.5

With the job of replacing Leonardo Bonucci, Rugani’s every move will be closely monitored in the coming months. He put in a composed and mature display here. The young Italian defender anticipated the game well and often cut out any developing Cagliari attacks. Confident to step forward with the ball, he helped Juventus build possession from the back. A bright start for the Juventus defender.

Giorgio Chiellini: 6

Largely untroubled defensively in what was a comfortable game for the experienced defender, Chiellini had lots of possession in this game. With the Juventus defence looking shaky recently, he will have welcomed this clean sheet.

Alex Sandro: 7.5

Perhaps Juve’s best piece of business this summer is keeping their Brazilian left-back, as he proved why he’s so highly regarded. Defensively untroubled, he offered Juventus a constant outlet, providing width on the left and supplying an attacking threat with his trademark forward runs. He topped off a great performance assisting the third Juventus goal with a well-executed low cross for Gonzalo Higuain.

Claudio Marchisio: 6.5

Juventus fans will have been happy to see Marchisio in the starting line-up, as his return to fitness and form is vital. He showed the control he brings to the team, providing consistent options to link play across the pitch. Assured and aware in possession, his intelligent use of the ball dictated the game for long periods. With Leonardo Bonucci gone, Juve need the added technical quality and vision Marchisio brings, especially when they are playing from the back.

Miralem Pjanic: 6

Provided the stand-out moment of the game with his assist for Juve’s second goal. A sublime first time pass from inside his own half to play Dybala through will have many Juventus fans reminiscing of a certain Andrea Pirlo. Pjanic is a super technician and this is the kind of genius we should see from him more often. However, it often feels like he plays safe when he should be willing to take more risks with the quality he has to offer.

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Paulo Dybala: 8

Just before half-time Dybala expertly controlled a Pjanic pass and proceeded to fire home his third goal in two matches. The new Juventus number 10 has made a great start to the season and looks ready to take his game to an even higher level in the coming months. Constantly playing in-between opposition lines, Dybala linked well and had opportunities to add to his goal. It seems he is relishing being the star of this Juventus team and, if he maintains this form, he will lead the Bianconeri to more glory.

Mario Mandzukic: 6.5

With all the attacking options now at Juve’s disposal, many will have looked at Mandzukic as the player that could miss out this season. An integral part of their success last term, he provided a reminder of why he is so difficult to dislodge from this team. Mandzukic expertly steered home a Lichtsteiner cross to give Juventus a quick start, his tireless work rate has become normal to see, but he does a good job in creating space for Alex Sandro round the outside. The Croatian is someone Juventus can rely on.

Juan Cuadrado: 5.5

Cuadrado works for the team and his physical attributes provide Juventus with something different. However, he is a source of frustration, as again his decision making and use of the ball were inconsistent. Cuadrado must find form if he is to keep his place in this team. He is playing like someone who knows his position is under threat and is finding difficult to deal with the pressure.

Gonzalo Higuain: 6

For large parts of the game, Higuain cut an isolated and frustrated figure, unable to find a way in and increasingly detached from the play. However, shortly before his substitution, Higuain does what Higuain does best: score! Picking up Alex Sandro’s low cross, Pipita dispatched his left-footed shot into the bottom right corner of Cagliari’s goal. It was his only real chance and the instant relief was evident in his celebration. Looking to beat his 32 goals last season, he will be pleased to be off the mark.

 

Subs

Sami Khedira: 6

Had an instant impact on the game, a trademark forward run from Khedira played a key role in setting up the third goal. The German still has an important role to play for the team and exploiting tired opposition could be the best way to use him this season.

Blaise Matuidi: 6

With the game won, it was the perfect time to introduce new signing Matuidi. In his short time on the pitch it was a dynamic and confident cameo from the French international. Juventus fans will hope this is a positive sign for the future from their new midfield signing.

Douglas Costa: 6

Instant spark and attacking threat, Costa is a live-wire and already looks to be striking up a partnership with Dybala. Took this opportunity to again show the trouble he will cause opposition defences with his driving runs forward, it will surely be only a matter of time before he is in the starting line-up.

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Juventus vs. Cagliari 2017: Final score 3-0,

Juve cruise past Cagliari in Serie A opener

 

Paulo Dybala and Gianluigi Buffon shine.

 

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https://www.blackwhitereadallover.com/2017/8/20/16173978/juventus

-cagliari-2017-serie-a-round-1-final-score-result-match-recap

 

 

Aug 20, 2017

Saturday’s Serie A opener at Allianz Stadium was a smooth ride for Juventus. From the moment the game started, Juventus looked focused to rebound from last Sunday night’s Supercoppa Italiana disaster. It was clear Juventus wanted to put Cagliari away with an aggressive attack before the Sardinians could gain any momentum.

In the second minute of the game, Miralem Pjanić struck a free-kick ball that narrowly missed the top left corner by a foot. The well-struck ball missed, but set the tone for the game: Juventus is not taking this lightly.

The next 10 minutes had the same aggressive pace by applying pressure, but Juve still had not created many clean scoring chances. That changed quickly in the 12th minute, as Juan Cuadrado dumped it off for Pjanić, who passed it across the field to a wide-open Stephan Lichtsteiner. Lichtsteiner gave the ball a soft touch before chipping it for a light cross into the penalty box where Mario Mandžukić one-timed the ball into the back of the net. Mandžukić positioned himself beautifully behind the defense and made an equally pretty finish.

Juventus v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A
Mario Mandzukic of Juventus FC celebrates his first goal during the Serie A match between Juventus and Cagliari Calcio at Allianz Stadium on August 19, 2017 in Turin, Italy.
 Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

As Juventus led 1-0, the defense remained strong through the first 22 minutes of the match. In the 18th minute, Lichtsteiner made a strong recovery on Luca Cigarini, who had beaten Juve’s defense. If not for Lichtsteiner’s effort, Cigarini would’ve been by himself with a lot of space. Then in the 22nd minute, it was Giorgio Chiellini’s turn to contribute. Chiellini denied three crosses in a row from an intense Cagliari attack before Juve finally cleared the ball and took possession in the 25th minute.

Through out the rest of the half, Juventus looked crisp on offense. Dybala showed outstanding passing, vision, touch and dribbling through the tight spacing of Cagliari. Juventus held the lead but only a goal separated the teams from a huge momentum shift that would’ve been nightmarish to Juventus.

If it weren’t for Gianluigi Buffon’s heroics, momentum may have shifted quickly.

In the 35th minute, Diego Farias found himself with an open shot inside Juve’s penalty box. Farias hit a low line drive that had some velocity on it, but it was shot right at Buffon. Paolo Faragò had a wide open net on the rebound, but blasted it into the stands over the net. Buffon prevented the initial goal, but where was Juve’s help defense on the blind side? Gonzalo Higuaín was covering Faragò, before losing him on the rebound. That can’t happen. Better teams will finish that rebound and make Juve pay for their lackluster blindside help.

Just as Juve thought they had escaped danger, Alex Sandro made contact with Duje Cop on a lazy challenge from a difficult angle in the 37th minute. The play was ignored, but referees were advised to review the play. The camera angle showed Sandro’s sloppy challenge warranted a penalty kick, which was awarded to Cagliari by the referee.

But luckily for Juventus, Buffon would have another heroic moment.

Farias took the penalty kick and botched the opportunity. The ball was well struck, but hit low, and Buffon dove to his left to deflect the ball out of danger. Farias’ underwhelming kick may have been due to an inexplicable stutter-step, which seemed to throw off his timing.

Buffon saved two goals in the span of two minutes for Juventus.

Juventus v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon keeps tha ball during the penalty during the Serie A match between Juventus and Cagliari Calcio at Allianz Stadium on August 19, 2017 in Turin, Italy.
 Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

In the 46th minute, Juventus had lead possession 72 percent to 28. It seemed inevitable that Juve would break through for their second goal of the match. Pjanić and Dybala combined to do just that. Pjanić sent a scintillating long ball to Dybala, who used a terrific first touch to rip his 47th career Serie A goal into the back of the net. It was one of the more impressive combinations you’ll see all season. Juventus lead 2-0 at halftime.

Dybala came out of the half with scoring on his mind. In the opening minute of the second-half, he hit a rocket that beat goal keeper Alessio Cragno, but saw it graze the top bar and deny him of his second goal of the season. Cagliari were down, but not out, yet.

Finally in the 66th minute, Sandro made a great pass into the penalty box to hit a streaking Higuaín, who struck the ball underneath the defender’s legs to beat Cragno. It was reassuring to see Higuaín finish after playing a poor, slow first half. His goal proved to be the dagger, as Juventus would go on to win 3-0.

It was a satisfying, clean win versus Cagliari, but Juventus must forget about it. Winning against an underwhelming, inferior team who conceded 76 goals — the worst in club history — last year, is expected.

 

LE PAGELLE

 

Gianluigi Buffon: 7

Buffon wasn’t tested too much this match, but was heroic when faced with challenges. Farias had an open shot on net in the 35th minute, and Buffon made a key save. Two minutes later, Buffon made the save of the game by denying Farias on the penalty kick. The kick wasn’t well placed, but Buffon guessed the right direction and made an excellent save.

Giorgio Chiellini: 6.5

Chiellini was solid throughout the game. Like Buffon, he wasn’t tested much but made the most of any challenges he faced. Committing four fouls isn’t ideal, but his three straight cross denials in the 22nd minute was symbolic of Juve’s defense all day: rock solid.

Juan Cuadrado: 5

Cuadrado didn’t do anything special, but he didn't do anything catastrophic either. He was involved in a couple of attacking opportunities, but he’ll end up as a substitute role moving forward with the new additions to the team.

Paulo Dybala: 8

Dybala ran circles around Cagliari’s defense all day. He looked like a world class player with his dribbling, passing and ball skills. His goal in the added minute before halftime was classic Dybala, but his rocket that hit the post was a beautiful shot. It’s a shame that he was robbed of a second goal because he deserved it. Great start to the season for Dybala.

Gonzalo Higuaín: 5.5

Don’t let Higuaín’s goal fool you; he looked out of form. He had a lethargic first half and looked slow for much of the game. A few moments of aggression lead to his eventual goal inside the penalty box — the dagger of the match — but Juventus needs more from him moving forward.

Stephan Lichtsteiner: 7

Lichtsteiner looked sharp on both sides of the ball. He played a clean, tactical game on defense. He immediately disarmed a few attacks down the sideline, and Cagliari failed to execute offense from his side of the field. His chip-shot cross to Mandžukić’s goal was a beautiful way to set the tone early.

Mario Mandžukić: 7

Mandžukić was active all game. After positioning himself in the penalty box, he received the pass from Lichtsteiner and buried it into the back of the net. The goal was executed perfectly, and helped Juventus break through after a few early chances went begging. Cagliari’s defense had difficulty matching him physically, and Juventus missed him streaking a couple of times.

Claudio Marchisio: 6

Marchisio didn’t stand out by doing anything remarkable, but he looked sharp all game. He looked like he was back in form and over his injuries. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a strong season for him.

Miralem Pjanić: 8

Pjanić played exceptional all game. He was involved in defending midfield attacks, but his creativity on offense was terrific. Pjanić was involved in most of the attacks and had crisp passes that opened up offensive opportunities for Juve. The assist to Dybala in the 46th minute was magnificent. It’ll be one of the most beautiful passes anyone makes all season.

Daniele Rugani: 6.5

Rugani had clean sheet on defense. His first challenge was made in a calm and collected fashion. He wasn't challenged much, but he was brilliant when he had to defend. Many have been begging for him to be the permanent starter, and he certainly showed why on Saturday.

Alex Sandro: 5.5

Sandro had a lazy challenge at Duje Cop that lead to a penalty kick in the 37th minute. The inexcusable foul could’ve changed momentum of the game if Buffon didn't save the day. Sandro has to be better than that. Imagine if Cagliari had converted the penalty kick? No reason to let an inferior team who struggled offensively gain any momentum. Sandro had a much cleaner second half and made a great pass that lead to Higuaín’s goal. His second half performance salvaged his game, but he needs to be smarter when defending scoring chances.

 

SUBS

Sami Khedira, Douglas Costa and Blaise Matuidi: 6

Khedira defended well in the time he was in the game, but was relatively uninvolved on offense. Costa stretched the field and opened the attack up even further than it already was. With Costa on the field, there was a noticeable difference in speed and pressure in the last 10 minutes of the game. Matuidi is widely known as a defensive midfielder, but his speed is going to put pressure on a lot of defensemen this season. If he can push forward and get involved in the offense, he will make Juve’s attack lethal.

 

MANAGER

Massimiliano Allegri: 7

Most fans wanted to see Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Mattia De Sciglio or Blaise Matuidi starting. But Allegri knows it’s a long season, and there’s no reason to force any new additions to the lineup until their in perfect form. Starting Rugani paid off for Juve’s defense, and starting Mandžukić on offense lead to the game’s first goal. Allegri pushed the right buttons with the starting lineup. The chemistry on offense was strong from the beginning, and every player executed well — minus Higuaín. The substitutions weren’t game-changing, but served as a nice way to get the new additions involved. Allegri didn’t show any ground-breaking strategy, but his conservative lineup was rewarded by an aggressive offensive attack. The players responded to criticism and played with a chip on their shoulders from the opening minute of the game. It will be interesting to see what the starting lineup is moving forward, and if Allegri can push the right buttons when necessary. Allegri can’t be afraid to substitute for Higuaín if he looks like he did in the first half of Saturday’s match.

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