Last call: so far disappointing department, on Sunday Manuel paired with Bentancur and two real outsiders
Allegri sees it as “as wrong as the tower of Pisa” but imperfection would not worry him if he stood up. Others begin to see a black hole that, since the days of Pogba-Pirlo-Marchisio-Vidal and then of Pjanic-Khedira are over, engulfs players, millionaire salaries, points and, ultimately, coaches. The seasons pass but at Juve the midfield continues to be the first on the list in the “problems to be solved” category. Even in La Spezia the hole has swallowed McKennie and Bentancur. The entrance of Manuel Locatelli, the man identified already in the summer to close it, has put things in order, proposing two intermediate verdicts. First: the Loca is already essential. Second: there is a lot of work to be done, the right formula does not yet seem to have been found. Tomorrow the match against Sampdoria will be another appeal test, then there is the toughest test of this start of the season (at least on paper), the challenge to the European champions Chelsea in the Champions League.
Cheerful the season with the need to give solidity to the department, thus launching a four-man midfield in which only on the right there was a true winger (Chiesa or Cuadrado), while Rabiot almost always acted on the left. The French were asked for insertions, but he could also scale internally by transforming the set-up into a 4-3-3. Max defined him as a “crooked midfield”, with a term deliberately distant from the Coverciano lexicon but explaining: “It depends on the characteristics of the players, and then at Juve we have always been crooked, orphans on the left, except when Mandzukic was there”. This year, however, things got worse: the department rarely had control of the ball and the match and struggled as much to cover as to set up.
The midfielders have almost always been insufficient: Locatelli is the one who showed the best things, and he soon became the man to whom the ball is passed when getting out of pressure becomes complex. McKennie in this module has to adapt to a role not really his (and he is not succeeding); Bentancur who with the first Allegri had become a convincing mezzala seems convoluted and, like many teammates, falls into “not forced” wrong steps: these are the mistakes that Max marks with the red circle. And then there is the problem of goals: we are at zero this season. The new coach “expects” them especially from the American and from Rabiot that “for the qualities he has he should make 10 in the championship”. Here the model is Khedira: he came from Real Madrid who scored a maximum of three for Liga, with Max climbing up to nine. For now, however, the midfielders are also struggling to become dangerous, to fit in the shot.
We have named four because the other two have never or little seen each other: Ramsey played less than 90 ‘overall, between difficult tactical positioning and injuries, Arthur will return after the break and it can be an important variant, because it has different characteristics, albeit all from check in the kick of Allegri’s vertical and fast overturns. A first tactical adjustment could be seen against Sampdoria, with the inclusion of Bernardeschi for Rabiot: turnover for the Frenchman, of course, but also a less “crooked” 4-4-2 with two real outside midfielders. An intermediate step towards a possible point of arrival that allows you to make the most of all the offensive resources. With 4-2-3-1 Dybala would start from 10, the various Cuadrado, Chiesa, Kulusevski and Kean would alternate as offensive outsiders with Morata or Moise himself as a reference in front. To withstand the impact, however, you need a close-knit and solid pair of midfielders, as well as team automatisms that are still far away. For now it is important not to be sucked into the black hole and to build solid foundations of the department. Okay even if they hang a little …
September 25 – 08:36
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