Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt is gaining a bit of a reputation but all for the wrong reasons, following yet another penalty incident which handed Lecce a point on Saturday afternoon.
The Dutchman gave away his third penalty of the season and all for handball, calling some to question his quality following his €70 million summer move from Ajax.
It’s the stuff of nightmares for the young central defender but his calamitous errors are almost becoming laughable, meme worthy moments with many people turning to social media to point out that he’s not a handball player, or that he’s not supposed to be. Poor Matthijs.
The 20-year-old is clearly on a run of extremely bad luck, but after his new club dug deep into their pockets to acquire the highly sort after defender I think it’s time to give the young man a break as we’re all more than aware of the quality that he possesses.
Some fans have started to speculate that Serie A is too much of a step up and far too soon for De Ligt, but he’s in the right place and in the right company as he strives to prove that it was money well spent.
Sarri rings the changes
The term ‘bogey team’ springs to mind when you hear Maurizio Sarri and Lecce mentioned in the same sentence.
The Juventus coach has failed to beat the Giallorossi on four occasions, with Saturday’s faltering 1-1 draw with his new star-studded side coming as a surprise to many, but perhaps not to the man himself.
The Bianconeri boss lost his three previous outings, all in Serie B, while at the helm of Arezzo and then Grosetto .
Despite Juventus having 70 percent possession and the lion’s share of the chances, the Serie A champions never really looked as though they’d go on to win the game comfortably, as had been the pre-match prediction from many.
Initially, the away side stuttered and found it difficult to get a firm grip on the game, with their usual free-flowing style floundering as Lecce perhaps took encouragement from the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo was nowhere to be seen.
Sarri decided to leave the Portuguese goal-getter out of the squad completely after admitting that his star man was “in need of a rest”, which in-turn meant that Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain were given the chance to form an all-Argentinian front line on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the south.
Dybala scored from the spot – his third of the season in Serie A – and looked lively going forward throughout, whereas Higuain cut a somewhat forlorn figure up front as he failed to make a real impact, despite having a tap-in ruled out for offside.
Ronaldo, bogey teams and ‘Sarriball’ aside, the champions will have to improve their final product in and around the box in the weeks to come if they’re to win their ninth consecutive Scudetto as they struggle for goals this season, having failed to score more than two goals in a game this season, thus far.
If Juventus didn’t realise the importance of Ronaldo then perhaps they do now, meaning that the boss will be reluctant to rest his main man again, dispelling the myth that his side have two elevens capable of winning the title, and in doing so giving more respect to the minnows – with or without their phenomenal No.7 – and rightfully so.