Imitation isn’t working, Juventus must find their own new style

Date: 21st September 2021 at 11:49am
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Before Juventus took on AC Milan at the Juventus Stadium on Sunday night in Serie A, coach Massimiliano Allegri had clearly seen the Rossoneri struggling to contain Liverpool in the Champions League midweek, before shocking the Premier League side and narrowly losing 3-2 at Anfield.

With the first full house for a European fixture on Merseyside since March 2020, the Diavolo struggled to withstand wave-after-wave of attacks from the 2019 European Champions and found themselves 1-0 down inside 10 minutes, after granting them an astonishing 13 shots in 15 minutes.

In Turin, the Bianconeri set about Milan similarly, chasing down their opponents with an intensity and determination not seen from them for a number of years, and were quickly rewarded when Alvaro Morata raced away to score on four minutes.

However, while Alex Sandro looked to exploit the uncertainty of makeshift right-back Fikayo Tomori, and later Pierre Kalulu, Juventus simply did not have the attacking quality to replicate the efforts of their English inspirations.

After they forced Rossoneri goalkeeper Mike Maignan to deny Morata and then Paulo Dybala inside the first 30 minutes, the Bianconeri had just one further shot on target, and were already labouring to create any noteworthy chances.

A Milan side without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Olivier Giroud, Davide Calabria, losing centre-back Simon Kjaer to a muscle injury, and those left visibly drained from their excursions at Anfield four days early were there for the taking.

Other than Sandro Tonali – who had played just 20 minutes against Liverpool – snapping into tackles and attempting to disrupt the hosts, the Rossoneri midfield was incredibly lethargic and would have been easily overrun by previous iterations of Allegri’s Juventus.

Instead, the Old Lady became as slow and predictable as they have been since Allegri departed in the summer of 2019, but particularly under Andrea Pirlo last season, and, when Milan had regrouped at the break, even seemed happy to concede possession.

With the high-intensity experiment having failed within 30 minutes and no longer able to count on Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals to at least keep them relevant in the Serie A title race, Juventus must quickly find a formation and approach to maximise a squad with plenty of talent or their domestic campaign could be over by November.

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