Milan at +10, Inter at +9: the bianconeri can no longer afford missteps if they want to take back the Scudetto. And to start again there are three essential concepts …
January 3, Michael Schumacher’s birthday, is good for the parallel with Formula 1: it counts who wins at the end, but the start is worth half a Grand Prix. Juve on the third day of the year will play with Udinese and everything is stranger than usual, not only for the two-tone Juventus.
Milan are 10 points away and Inter, for many the real rival, is +9: the beginning of the year is fundamental for Juve. Pirlo has finished the pit stops: either he goes to the finish line without stopping or he will end up racing from the rear.
the second defense
Udinese, in all this, is insidious. On the cover he puts De Paul and Pereyra, Argentine quality, but wins the games in defense. Forget for a moment Lasagna, Okaka, Deulofeu, Nestorovski and Pussetto, look at the numbers. Udinese have the fifth defense of Serie A and for the volume of opportunities granted they are second behind Napoli. Better than that, almost impossible. For this reason, the first test of the year is a test for Juve’s attack. Pirlo has long defined the structure of his attack: two wide external and three players in the central area. This can be seen. It is more interesting to study in a little more detail how the Lady attacks, starting with the finalization.
ronaldo mister 58%
Ronaldo yesterday resumed work at Continassa after the rest day granted Monday: he trained alone, not with the team, and so it will be today, until a (liberating) new negative buffer. Sunday will be there, he will return to the great race for the top scorers (current situation: Cristiano 12, Lukaku 11, Ibra 10) and Juve will have their 58%. What does it mean? Looking at the expected goals of the last five games, the figure that measures the scoring chances produced, it turns out that CR7 is responsible for almost six out of 10 dangers for opposing goalkeepers. Lots of them.
Attacking doesn’t hurt
Here is the first rule for Pirlo for the new year: diversify the offensive terminals, especially by finding some high-level football from Paulo Dybala, the real turbo to climb the rankings. Juve tries to do it with central combinations, with crosses and counterattacks, catching the ball near the opponent’s goal. On the central combinations, it is inevitable to look at Morata-Ronaldo, the strikers from whom Juve begins: they are the ones who converse in the center, perhaps with one of the midfielders who are inserted or squeezed by the flanks. On cross and ball recovery, something more can be said. Juventus always lives on the edge of doubt: attacking the opposing teams in their half of the pitch, risking to give chances, or waiting in the Szczesny area, knowing that they will then have to go up the whole field? For December, cross A: the numbers say that Juve recovers 20.4% of the balls in the last third of the pitch, against 13.6% of the championship average. Big difference. Even from here, from the ability to attack, they pass the game with Udinese and the Scudetto.
the democratic cross
The most fascinating aspect, however, concerns the use of the bands, a delicate theme for Sunday because Juve will miss Cuadrado, disqualified, the great man assist of the season. Juve have crossed 30 times in the small area since the beginning of the season, certainly not only with Cuadrado, Alex Sandro and Chiesa. Those 30 dangerous crosses came from 12 (!) Different players, basically all the offensive players, from Frabotta to Kulusevski passing through Ramsey, McKennie and Bernardeschi: all swap positions and, with closed defenses like Udinese’s, look for solutions offshore. In this democracy, it is striking to see who is the number 1 for cross: Cristiano Ronaldo. The great finisher can sometimes be generous.
December 30, 2020 (change December 30, 2020 | 10:08 am)
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