Juventus 1-0 AC Milan: Rating Both Sets of Players
Juventus hosted Milan in one of the biggest games in Europe on Sunday.
In similar circumstances, Milan had some extra pressure on them in their bid to maintain their place in the top three in order to play in the Champions League next season after Fiorentina won late on at home to Torino.
The Rossoneri had just one point separating themselves from the Viola in fourth, just outside of those coveted Champions League places, so the loss will tighten up the race for that final spot and make the final few games of the season a nervous time for Massimiliano Allegri.
Juventus will be satisfied with the win, thanks to Arturo Vidal's penalty, knowing that their next two games against city rivals Torino and relegation candidates Palermo represent their toughest tests left before three straightforward matches that they will surely see off in order to be crowned champions of Italy once again.
Here are my ratings from the game. Let me know your thoughts on the match and which players impressed you, as well as those who you felt were not up to the job in the comments section below.
Juventus Goalkeeper and Defence
Gianluigi Buffon: N/A
A mere spectator all game.
Andrea Barzagli: 6.5/10
Tucked inside to form a three across the edge of the penalty area due to Stephan Lichtsteiner dropping back. This forced Milan to play in front of them and take long-distance shots. Showed Stephan El Shaarawy inside and away from goal well.
Leonardo Bonucci: 6.5/10
Dropped a little deep and managed to track any overlapping runs. Comfortable work.
Giorgio Chiellini: 6.5/10
Tucked inside like Barzagli and was able to screen the edge of their area well. Like the others, untroubled all evening.
Stephan Lichtsteiner: 6/10
Unable to play his natural game, as he was too occupied by dropping deep to cope with the threat of El Shaarawy. He did so relatively well, though.
Claudio Marchisio: 6/10
Still adapting to his role as the side's trequartista. Unlucky to be flagged for offside in the first half with a well timed run that would have led to a golden chance.
Paul Pogba: 5.5/10
Can't fault his enthusiasm. He will try the most outrageous skill, including a bicycle kick from the edge of the penalty area, but lacks that composure on the ball right now.
Andrea Pirlo: 6/10
Wasteful with his delivery from set pieces. He appears to be struggling to find his range, often hitting the wall.
Arturo Vidal: 7.5/10
Took his penalty brilliantly, hit high into the top-right corner, unstoppable.
Kwadwo Asamoah: 7.5/10
Won the penalty superbly with a change of pace to leave Ignazio Abate and Marco Amelia scrambling.
Simone Padoin: N/A
Not enough time to have any real impact.
Federico Peluso: N/A
Not enough time to have any impact.
Mirko Vucinic: 5.5/10
Missed a decent chance with a header in the first half, finding himself unmarked 10 yards from goal, but unable to control the header. Failed to capitalise on a nice through ball from Vidal in the second half, letting Zapata come back to clear.
Fabio Quagliarella: N/A
No time to impact the game.
Milan Goalkeeper and Defence
Christian Abbiati: 6.5/10
Made a fabulous save to deny Andrea Pirlo in the first half after his shot was deflected significantly by Massimo Ambrosini in the wall. Came off with injury shortly afterward.
Marco Amelia: 3.5/10
Untroubled until Kwadwo Asamoah's quick thinking to reach a loose ball and poke it past the Rossoneri keeper. Amelia stupidly clattered into the Ghanaian despite the ball almost certainly going out of play, a dreadful example of decision making.
Ignazio Abate: 4.5/10
Overlapped well throughout, his crossing was useful, if not too precise, often delivering into areas when he might have done better to pick out a man. Made a horrible error for the decision to award Juventus a penalty, hesitated too long to allow Asamoah to nip in behind him and win the penalty against Amelia.
Philippe Mexes: 5.5/10
Received much of the ball and seemed to distribute nicely, if not in a manner that helped Milan to penetrate the Bianconeri. Even ventured forward and took a decent shot on goal from the edge of Juve's area.
Cristian Zapata: 5.5/10
Had the hassle of Vucinic marking him when Milan were in possession and this seemed to play on his mind and he became scared to show any of his qualities on the ball. Came across really well to block Vucinic in the second half with the Montenegrin baring down on goal.
Kevin Constant: 5.5/10
Drove forward much better in the second half, has a good first touch and can get it out of his feet quickly, even when Montolivo's passes were fizzed in at a fast pace.
Kevin-Prince Boateng: 5.5/10
Playing his best position tonight as a mezz'ala, enjoyed arriving late at the edge of the area for any knock downs or poor clearances. Some wild shooting, but you sense he is more at home in this role.
Massimo Ambrosini: 5/10
Battled hard and gave his usual tiresome work rate, but failed to add that spark to push Milan forward. Subbed at halftime.
Riccardo Montolivo: 5/10
A little unambitious with his passing, but the complete opposite with his shooting, which became infuriating as the game prolonged.
Sulley Muntari: 5/10
Came on for the captain at halftime, didn't have much of a positive impact, guilty of some really poor shooting that killed Milan's momentum in attack.
Stephan El Shaarawy: 5.5/10
Close to a return to his best, scampering away nicely when fed the ball into feet and seems to have good control of the ball again. Perhaps a little predictable when he comes inside as he tends to always shoot.
Giampaolo Pazzini: 5/10
Completely starved of service, but also never really effected the game by pressuring Juve's defence or looking to come back into midfield to release space in behind him for midfield runners.
Nice movement in the first half to find space at the near post and divert the cross into the side netting. That was about it for Robinho, who never impacted the game aside from this. Subbed in the second half and appeared completely dejected as he joined the Milan bench.
Bojan Krkic: 5.5/10
Provided some bright movement, but never really stamped his authority on the game, always struggles to find an end product to his game.