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Juventus Beat Empoli but Massimiliano Allegri Must Now Find Attacking Identity

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistNovember 9, 2015

Juventus' forward from Colombia Juan Cuadrado (L), Juventus' midfielder Paul Pogba from France (C) and Juventus' forward Paulo Dybala from Argentina (R) take part in a training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match Borussia Moenchengladbach Vs Juventus on November 2, 2015 at the 'Juventus Training Center' in Vinovo, near Turin.  AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Sunday afternoon saw Juventus take on Empoli, but the Turin giants laboured to a difficult 3-1 victory after falling behind to Massimo Maccarone’s opening goal.

They did well to fight their way back into the match, taking three valuable points into the international break and climbing into seventh place in the table.

The result was all-important to the Bianconeri, particularly as—following their triumph over neighbours Torino last weekend—it marked their first back-to-back wins in Serie A this season. That is a staggering statistic for a team who lost just three times in the entire 2014/15 campaign, and arrives after, arguably, their most difficult spell to date.

Goalless draws with Borussia Monchengladbach and Inter were followed by a loss to Sassuolo, a result which saw goalkeeper Gigi Buffon speak out about the complacency he felt was affecting the side.

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 31:  Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus FC reacts during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and Torino FC at Juventus Arena on October 31, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Indeed, speaking shortly after the latter defeat, the 37-year-old lambasted the squad in an interview with Mediaset Premium (h/t Football Italia), and demanded a significant improvement.

Buffon said:

We all played badly. The first half was simply unacceptable.

I am stunned, as I am the captain and it hurts my soul to see my team dominated like that, to see my team not realise how important this game is and what attitude to take.

There was also too much arguing with the referee. Talking about the referee all the time is what losers do and we do not stoop to that level. We wear the Juventus shirt and must do it justice.

The club would appear to share those views, entering a training retreat until the derby which would appear to pay dividends as the Bianconeri responded with a victory, then drew away to Gladbach before the win over Empoli.

Yet despite that positive upturn in results, Juventus played well below their usual standard in all three outings, something they must now look to rectify before they return to action in two weeks’ time.

Juventus' Argentinian forward Paulo Dybala talks with Juventus' coach Massimiliano Allegri (R ) during the Italian Serie A  football match Juventus Vs Torino on October 31, 2015 at the 'Juventus Stadium' in Turin.  AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO        (Pho
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Indeed, coach Massimiliano Allegri noted that he was happy with the victory over Empoli but admitted there is much more to come.

“We need to work on our game, but we’ll look at things positively. We’re now seventh in the league with plenty of catching up to do,” he told reporters at a press conference shortly after the final whistle.

Having improved somewhat defensively, Juve were boosted by the return to fitness of Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira, with the team yet to taste defeat whenever the latter takes to the field.

But the biggest issue facing the reigning champions is, undoubtedly, the attack, as despite scoring three times at the Stadio Carlo Castellani, the Bianconeri looked disjointed and non-threatening going forward.

Both Alvaro Morata and Mario Mandzukic continued their disappointing form, the duo netting just three league goals between them this season. Paulo Dybala looked much sharper after his second-half introduction, and it is no surprise to note that he leads the team with five Serie A goals to his name.

Adam Digby @Adz77

Juan Cuadrado vs Empoli: 29/37 passes (78.4%), 0/4 take-ons, ZERO shots! (via @StatsZone) https://t.co/VvnNjaxdu9

Juan Cuadrado was relatively poor against Empoli, with statistics in the tweet above showing he completed just 29 passes, failed all four attempted take-ons and did not register a single shot on goal.

Yet the Colombian has been Juve's best attacking threat, and Allegri now must find a way to field Dybala and Cuadrado at the same time without curbing their abilities. With Milan and Manchester City travelling to Turin when club football resumes later this month, they will be sternly tested, and the Bianconeri will need that duo to be at their best.

With their collective play having previously lacked personality, Allegri and Juventus now have two weeks to find an identity in attack.

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