Chievo vs. Juventus: Winners and Losers from Serie A Clash
Following a difficult summer, Juventus finally kicked off the 2014-14 campaign with a trip to Veronese side Chievo. Antonio Conte’s sweeping dominance meant Massimiliano Allegri had a tough act to follow, but the new coach was under no illusion as to how difficult a task he faced.
From his appointment in mid-July, the 47-year-old made it clear he knew just what was expected of him and the low opinion in which his arrival was viewed by the club’s fanbase. Speaking to reporters at his inaugural press conference, Allegri laid out his thoughts, per UEFA.com:
I understand that the supporters could be a little sceptical right now as they've changed their coach in less than 24 hours. I will try to convince them with good results, hard work, respect and professionalism.
I won't radically change the team, I will work on the players and try to make this strong team even stronger.
He has done just that, bringing a tactical flexibility that was absent in the past two years under Conte and teaching the squad to once again work in a 4-3-3 formation. Allegri touched on that subject when speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport last weekend (h/t Football Italia):
I think it is very fortunate to be able to switch between two formations, even in the same game. There are moments in the season where you can play with three [defenders] and others when it is better to do so with four.
The team showed good signs in the two phases when they played with a four in Jakarta and Sydney, and also for the whole game in Singapore. We need to work hard to acquire the knowledge to make it possible to use a different formation with the same reliability.
Against Chievo on Saturday, Allegri opted for the reliable 3-5-2 favoured by Conte and was rewarded for that decision with a 1-0 win. Here is a look at the winners and losers from Juve’s narrow opening-day victory.
Winner: Kingsley Coman (Juventus)
Kingsley Coman opted to join Juventus on a free transfer this summer, as the 18-year-old left Paris Saint-Germain to move to Turin. The player also told the Corriere dello Sport (h/t ESPNFC) that he had rejected offers from interested Premier League sides Newcastle, Arsenal and Tottenham.
He was rewarded with his competitive debut on Saturday, starting up front alongside Carlos Tevez as Fernando Llorente missed out with injury.
Winner: Martin Caceres (Juventus)
With Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini both missing the match against Chievo, Martin Caceres once again stepped in. Just as he had last season, the Uruguayan defender proved a more than capable deputy, ensuring the Bianconeri back line did not miss a beat.
Making three tackles, one interception and three clearances, according to WhoScored.com, Caceres also forced the Francesco Bardi error that led to the game's opening goal.
Winner: Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus)
With Serie A taking a two-week break after this weekend, it was essential the Massimiliano Allegri era got off to a good start in Turin. With three points to their name, the Bianconeri ensured their new coach earned just that, launching their 2014-15 campaign in the best possible fashion.
Loser: Francesco Bardi (Chievo)
Francesco Bardi endured a difficult match, making just two saves as he ended on the losing side. The 22-year-old lacked confidence as he faced the champions, failing to lead his defence in the manner so desperately needed in such a high-profile encounter.
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