Monday, April 24, 2017

Juventus’ one-on-one analysis: Old Lady clinch berth into Champions League semifinals

Bonucci Messi Juventus Barcelona

Bonucci and Messi hustling for a ball – Credit: Estrella Digital

Gianluigi Buffon (7): Despite the fact that Barcelona attacked during the entire game, Buffon only made one save. Fortunately for him, Barcelona was not accurate in the final third so the veteran did not have the kind of workload that was expected in the preview. However, he responded when required, and did a good job to organise the defence throughout the whole contest.

Dani Alves (6): The former Barcelona star once again registered an impressive performance against his former teammates. Barely moved past the halfway line considering he had to lock down Neymar. However, he limited the impact of his countrymen during the majority of the match. And that was his main task, so he responded to what the team needed from him.

Giorgio Chiellini (7): Just like Leonardo Bonucci, Chiellini also excelled at the back trying to contend the opposing forwards. Won most of the duels against Suarez and the rest of the attackers. And played an integral role in Juventus’ keeping the clean sheet away from home.

Leonardo Bonucci (8): One of the best players on the pitch for Juventus. He had the tough task to contain Luis Suarez, but excelled on that task. The Italian international erased Suarez off the pitch, and did not give the Uruguayan star an inch inside the box. At times he had to contain Lionel Messi and Neymar, but did it anyway.

Alex Sandro (7): The Brazilian full back had the tough task to contain Messi. And even though he struggled a bit at times, he got the job done. Considering the team’s strategy, Sandro did not offer a lot going forward. But the team needed him to excel at the back, and he did.

Sami Khedira (6): Khedira played in front of the defensive line the entire game. The German had to battle against the likes of Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic, but did an excellent job disrupting the opposing playmakers. Unfortunately, he received a yellow card so he will miss the next match with a suspension.

Miralem Pjanic (8): Undoubtedly the most important player for Juventus. On a game where the Italian outfit played with an extremely defensive strategy, the Bosnian playmaker was the one who always tried to connect with the attacking trio. He distributed the ball accurately and also excelled defensively. Contributed on both ends of the pitch.

Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (7): The Colombian winger excelled on both sides of the ball. When he operated on a more defensive stance, he contributed with the marking of Neymar. And when he decided to run forward looking for spaces in the final third, he always posed a threat to the opposing defence. He could have scored had he been a bit more accurate with his shooting.

Paulo Dybala (6): It is hard to analyse what the Argentinian playmaker did in this game. He was doubtful prior to the game, and even though he started, he failed to make an impact. Taken off the game midway into the second half to add another defensive player such as Andrea Barzagli.

Mario Mandzukic (5): Mandzukic did not thrive playing on the wing this time. Noticeably uncomfortable since he had to help defence most of the game, he did not have a single shot on target during the entire match. Should bounce back in the coming matches, however, as today he was a product of the circunstances.

Gonzalo Higuain (6): The Argentinian forward only had one shot on target, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved it with relative ease. Since Juventus played with a counter-attacking strategy, Higuain spent most of the game isolated so his impact during the contest was fairly limited.

Substitutes:

Andrea Barzagli (-): Played almost 20 minutes and replaced Dybala to add another defensive player on the back line. His presence allowed Juventus to use a five-men defensive line in the final minutes.

Mario Lemina (-): Replaced Cuadrado towards the end of the match. Barely touched the ball, but managed to register a shot on target.

Kwadwo Asamoah (-): Replaced Higuain in the final minutes. Barely touched the ball.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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