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Chelsea FC: Juventus UEFA Champions League Scouting Report

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentOctober 25, 2016

Chelsea FC: Juventus UEFA Champions League Scouting Report

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    Chelsea vs. Juventus in the UEFA Champions League is an intriguing match because Roberto Di Matteo won’t be parking the bus. 

    Against Atlético Madrid, Diego Simeone outfoxed the Italian.

    Chelsea have the more expensive team but Juve are the more cohesive team.  

    This article is published for Chelsea supporters who haven’t watched Juventus this season.

    I’ve comprehensively scouted Juventus’ games against Napoli, Parma, Udinese and Genoa

What You Need to Know About Juventus

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    Talking Points

    Antonio Conte’s match-fixing ban has next to no affect on Juve because it’s a side deeply ingrained with his footballing philosophy.

    Conte still takes charge of the training sessions, and he’ll continue going through film sessions and tactical analysis with his players.

    Massimo Carrera will be the man making the decisions on match day. As long as he doesn’t do an André Villas-Boas, Juve will be fine.

    What type of football does Juve play? In defence, it’s a high tempo side with relentless pressing. In attack, Juve pass the ball beautifully with the architect being Andrea Pirlo.

    What’s their formation? A 3-5-2.

    The Bianconeri's MVP midfield (Marchisio, Vidal, Pirlo) is arguably the best triumvirate in European football right now.

    Last season, Andrea Barzagli played defence in such a shrewd manner. He doesn’t need to put in tackles because he’s generally always in the right position.

    On paper, Juve have a problem at centre forward, but Mirko Vučinić has had a good start to the season.

    Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea really struggled against Atlético Madrid, especially out wide.

    Chelsea supporters will meet Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner, two wing-backs who are energizer bunnies on the flanks.

    In the case of Asamoah, he’s been Juve’s best player this season.

    Who has been Juve’s worst player this season? Leonardo Bonucci. 

Juventus 4-2 Napoli | Supercoppa Italiana

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    Talking Points

    Alessandro Matri continues to waste an exclusive opportunity to start on a team with dynastic aspirations. Last season, Juve were unbeaten in Serie A even though Matri, their starting centre-forward, scored only 10 goals.

    When Mirko Vučinić replaced Matri, the Montenegrin was dynamic in tandem with Sebastian Giovinco. Vučinić could have scored twice as he hit the crossbar and had a shot cleared off the line.

    Andrea Pirlo was unusually sluggish.

    Juve's back three were run ragged the entire night. Even Andrea Barzagli, as great as he was last season, struggled. Lúcio had no answers to Edinson Cavani. Leonardo Bonucci was awful.

    If not for Napoli’s capitulation (two red cards), Juve wouldn’t have had such an advantage going into extra time. Of course, against Chelsea, Napoli also lost the plot as the Blues mounted a memorable comeback.

    Juve’s Best Players of the Game

    1. Kwadwo Asamoah (9/10): A livewire down the left flank as a wing-back. Even though he’s an elite box-to-box midfielder, he learnt the ins and outs of the 3-5-2 under Francesco Guidolin, so Asamoah didn’t have any tactical issues adjusting to the role change.

    2. Vučinić (8.5/10): Without the 28-year-old, Juve’s fortunes wouldn’t have changed so drastically. He did have a tendency to dribble blind like Gervinho, but that’s what you get from Vučinić.

    3. Giovinco (7/10): Kept the Napoli players honest with his trickery and zippy runs.

    Juve’s Worst Players of the Game

    1. Bonucci (3/10): Constantly caught out of position. Gifted Napoli a goal, could have given them another one and played the offside trap wrong when Cavani burst through on goal.

    2. Lúcio (4/10): Didn’t play with the usual zest to win back possession. Struggled against Cavani.

    3. Matri (4/10): When the MVP midfield is playing superlative football, Matri doesn’t take advantage of the situation. So, when the MVP midfield aren’t as dominant like against Napoli, don’t expect the Italian to feature. 

Juventus 2-0 Parma | Serie A

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    Talking Points

    Juventus started very slowly, but Parma’s forward line of Dorlan Pabon and Jonathan Biabiany lacked the end product.   

    Kwadwo Asamoah has played as a no. 10 for Ghana, was a box-to-box midfielder for Udinese and now he is a bona fide wing-back for Juve. What a player.

    Juve’s wing-back duo of Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner provided the cutting edge to make up for the passive play from Mirko Vučinić and Sebastian Giovinco.

    22-year-old Luca Marrone was surprisingly poised at centre-back.

    Leonardo Bonucci, who struggled again, could end up on the bench.

    Arturo Vidal’s penalty was abysmal but it’s only one miss. Should he miss again, Juve will need to think long and hard about replacing him as the designated penalty taker.

    Juve’s Best Players of the Game

    1. Asamoah (10/10): Without Kwadwo, Juve probably would have drawn the game, because he created something out of nothing to allow Juve to score. The Ghanaian completed six tackles, was always a presence on the left flank and was the difference maker.

    2. Andrea Barzagli (8/10): Pacified Pabon. Barzagli strolled through the game as he once against demonstrated his world-class positional awareness and high football IQ.

    3. Andrea Pirlo (7.5/10): Orchestrated possession with usual elegance. Spotted Antonio Mirante loafing about and scored a daisy-cutter free kick.

    4. Claudio Marchisio (7/10): A typical workman like performance mixed with superb long passing.

    Juve’s Worst Players of the Game

    1. Bonucci (4/10): Wasn’t caught out because Barzagli and Marrone played so well. However, Bonucci needs to up his game because he looked out of sync against a mediocre Parma side.

    2. Giovinco (4.5/10): Didn’t play with intensity which was the reason why he didn’t complete a single successful dribble. Looking back, the early yellow card for simulation rattled him. 

Udinese 1-4 Juventus | Serie A

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    Talking Points

    Aside from picking the ball out of the net, Gianluigi Buffon did nothing on his return to the starting lineup.

    Juventus took advantage of Zeljko Brkić’s early red card, which forced Diego Fabbrini to be sacrificed.

    Luca Marrone came on as a sub and played at the back. It seems he’ll be converted into a centre-back.

    Paolo De Ceglie will not play at left wing-back if Kwadwo Asamoah is fit, because the Ghanaian has been Juve’s best player this season.

    The Mirko Vučinić-Sebastian Giovinco strike partnership looks good.

    Juve’s Best Players of the Game

    1. Giovinco (10/10): Ran the show with his forward passing, his dinking runs and ability to drag Udinese’s players out of position. Factor in two goals and you have a perfect game from a forward. This was vital because Udinese were forced to shut up shop following Brkić’s sending off.

    2. Arturo Vidal (9.5/10): Completed seven tackles and intercepted two passes. Converted his penalty and was economical in distributing possession. Believe it or not, this is a standard Vidal game.

    During the 2010-11 season, I boldly ranked Vidal, who was playing for Bayer Leverkusen at the time, as the third best midfielder in Europe. Juve saw what he could offer and took a risk on him. Now they have a world-class midfielder, who fits perfectly into their high-tempo philosophy.

    3. Asamoah (9/10): He’s the real deal at wing-back. Won back possession five times, provided an assist and rendered Roberto Pereyra and Dusan Basta useless by himself.

    4. Andrea Pirlo (8.5/10): With no one applying pressure to the genius, he just lofted precise long passes all over the field. He ended up touching the ball 136 times.

    5. Stephan Lichtsteiner (7.5/10): Neutralised the speedy Pablo Armero and managed to provide a few bright moments for Juve.

    Juve’s Worst Players of the Game


Genoa 1-3 Juventus | Serie A

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    Talking Points

    With an eye towards the UEFA Champions League game against Chelsea, Juventus started without high energy players Arturo Vidal, Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner.

    In a parallel universe, Ciro Immobile, Marco Borriello and Bosko Jankovic would have converted their chances and there wouldn’t have been a Juve comeback.

    With regards to Immobile, he did score but that was after fluffing a one-on-one opportunity. 

    He caused havoc to Juve’s back three, has quality and started the season in great form—two goals and one assist in three games.

    He’s an exciting prospect for Juve, who own 50 percent of his playing rights.

    Genoa comprehensively outplayed an abject Juve side in the first half. If not for Gianluigi Buffon, Juve would have lost their first game in 42 Serie A matches.

    The insertion of Asamoah and Mirko Vučinić as impact subs won Juve the game.

    Alessandro Matri doesn’t deserve to start another game for Juve. Not only does he have a below-average shots-per-goal ratio, but he doesn’t even try.

    Juve’s Best Players of the Game

    1. Buffon (10/10): Vintage Buffon as he prevented Juve from losing the game.

    2. Asamoah (9/10): A winning substitution from Massimo Carrera as Asamoah won a penalty (wouldn’t have been given in the Premier League) and also added a goal.

    Asamoah is relentless in pursuit of the ball. He has high football IQ, he’s a selfless team player and he plays with a sense of urgency. To sum him up—prototypical Antonio Conte midfielder.

    3. Vučinić (8.5/10): Calmly converted the penalty won by Asamoah. Genoa had no answers for Vučinić’s magic.   

    4. Emanuele Giaccherini (7.5/10): The best of the starters. Giaccherini created five shots and was constantly involved in the game. Stylishly scored Juve’s first goal.

    Juve’s Worst Players of the Game

    1. Matri (3/10): Missed his one and only chance to score. Contributed nothing.

    2. Paolo De Ceglie (3.5/10): Left gaping holes behind him and didn’t offer anything going forward. He’ll spend the rest of the season learning how to play wing-back from Asamoah.

    3. Leonardo Bonucci (4/10): Was a liability in the first half and would have been sent off for a last-man tackle if Claudio Marchisio didn’t track back.

     4. Andrea Barzagli (4.5/10): Generally plays the game in such a tranquil fashion, but it wasn’t the case against Genoa as he was caught off-guard by Immobile’s mobility. 


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    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com

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