Following a deep analysis, I came to the following conclusion: Juventus’ performance was really bad.
Oh, but you were expecting more than that! Fine then, let’s take a deeper dive into the game, but I warned you. While the score is not horrific looking at how Juventus played, three painful events occurred during this game.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The first came after just 8 minutes when we saw Douglas Costa limping out the field. The official website mentioned the following: “Douglas Costa, instead, reported a medium-grade muscle injury to the semimembranosus muscle of the right thigh; in 15 days new checks will be carried out to precisely define recovery times.”
Although we are not certain on how long it would take to see Douglas back in action, the player is motivated and is fully determined to return as fast as he can:
The second unfortunate event happened when we saw Miralem Pjanic injured as well and being subbed for Bentancur in the first half. At that point, a lot of Juventini started to panic and not because of the Fiorentina game, but more at the thought of the toughest games taking place this Wednesday. Juventus will travel to Madrid to play their first UEFA Champions League (UCL) game of the season against Atletico Madrid.
But then, around minute 62, another player asked to be subbed. Danilo, who played his first game as a starter because De Sciglio is still injured, was replaced by Cuadrado. So, three subs for three injured players just before the crucial game on Wednesday. Are we cursed? Not quite, because it turned out Danilo is fine and was training regularly on Monday. One player was not happy, though, with this situation because let’s face it Fiorentina dominated the game and could have won if only they capitalized on their chances.
Fiorentina played better and controlled the ball and the tempo of the game. Ribery and Pulgar were dangerous around the Juventus box and Chiesa also played his part. Among the Juventus squad, only Szczęsny (also known as Tek) scored higher than 7. It reflects the performance of the visiting team on Saturday.
According to whoscored.com, the best player was Wojciech Szczęsny (I copied the name) with a rating of 8.3. Tek (much easier to write than Szczęsny) made three saves in the first half and two in the second. He scared us though with some shaky clearances. The closest one was when Chiesa almost scored from a weak clearance from Tek. Thankfully, it went over the bar. If it wasn’t for Tek and a bit of luck, Fiorentina could have easily scored 2 or 3 goals.
The Juventus defense was not very solid as they received 18 shots with most coming from the middle between Bonucci and de Ligt. Fiorentina started their attacks on their left side where Ribery was giving Danilo and Bonucci a hard time to Danilo and Bonucci. Chiesa was provoking de Ligt, who stood his ground on some occasions but that did not prevent Chiesa from having taking three shots. Inside the Juventus box, Milenkovic, the Fiorentina center back, won two aerial duels and almost scored. De Ligt had the most clearances with 3 of them inside the box.
The Juventus midfielders’ performance was very disappointing in this game. Most ball touches and passes came from defenders (298 touches from defenders vs 188 from midfielders). Khedira, Matuidi and Pjanic/Bentancur failed to link up with the center forwards and lost the balls on several occasions. Matuidi lost possession on 4 occasions, 3 of them from tackles and 1 due to a missed touch. Khedira and Bentancur each lost the ball twice (1 from a tackle and 1 due to a missed touch each).
From all central midfielders, only Matuidi managed 3 dribbles. Khedira participated more on the defensive side with 8 tackles attempted (highest in the team) followed by Matuidi with 5. Khedira, Pjanic and Matuidi each attempted one shot on the Fiorentina goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo had the highest number of shots (only 3) followed by Bernardeschi with 2. Most of these shots came from outside the box, whereas Higuain, our main center forward, had zero shots. As I said in my previous section, the midfield was not providing any decisive passes and, therefore, very few chances were created. Yeah, that’s it. There isn’t much to add.
My Final Take
It was a really disappointing performance and we expected much more from this team full of stars. Players such as Rabiot and Demiral have not had a chance to play yet this season. Ramsey is still recovering but might have played if it wasn’t for the forced subs due to injuries. It was a painful match to watch, and it reminded us of last year’s performance when Juventus players couldn’t complete more than two consecutive passes. Fiorentina was pressuring high and managed to steal the ball from a team that lost a bit of the fighting spirit. This could be due to Chiellini’s absence, Bonucci’s inability to guide the team as captain, and the absence of players with strong characters like Mandzukic (who will be sold soon by the looks of it).
I did not like Sarri’s excuses after the game that it was played at 3 PM (CET time) and that it was sunny. It gives guys (like “Bald Tony”) opportunities to take jabs at Juventus.
Let’s hope Juventus give their 200% against Atletico Madrid and show the world that this team can go all the way.
Fino alla fine Forza Juventus!