Juventus Top Performers – Round 23 vs Verona

A bizarro game for Juventus, which had managed to weather a massive early storm versus Verona, got the lead through a super goal, but then caused their own demise with two avoidable blunders.

Matthijs De Ligt: after being bailed out by a VAR review due to a slight offside on a set piece, where Wojeciech Szczesny fumbled a very catchable ball, the back-line mostly held up against the pressure up until late. The collapse was sudden and self-inflicted, as Rodrigo Bentancur and Miralem Pjanic mismanaged a ball near the box on the second goal and Leonardo Bonucci, who had stood out until that point, got literally caught with his hand in the cookie jar. The handball was  accidental, but his positioning was way off and referees are consistent in punishing those kind of movements. Since Alex Sandro again did nothing of note, the nod goes by default to the Dutch youngster, who was not involved in severe way the two incidents.

Adrien Rabiot: same thing here, as Bentancur (2 points) ruined his contribution on the goal, where he sprung Cristiano Ronaldo loose with a delightful touch, with a bone-headed attempt at a back-heel flick while being pressured, which led to Pjanic being put on the spot on a venomous ball and opting for an even more ill-advised backwards pass that set up Fabio Borini. It is a shame they ruined their display because they both bent over backwards to keep up with the energy of the opponents. The Frenchman had another okay performance, nothing too fancy but he gets the job done with his complete skill-set and even ripped off a pair of uncharacteristic runs through the middle. The final step for him will be to be more decisive near the box. Juan Cuadrado had one of his confusing outings where he is way too cavalier with the ball and careless in guarding the opponents that it makes it look like it is the first time he plays as fullback. Aaron Ramsey saw a bunch of minutes and was passable trying to feed his teammates but ultimately lacked the precision to deliver in the clutch.

Cristiano Ronaldo (4 points): death, taxes, and Cristiano scoring in 2020. After two filthy strikes in the first half, the Portuguese ace got his goal in magnificent fashion, with a potent 40-meter run and duping the poor Amir Rrahmani and Marco Silvestri with a sly shot. However, he did not have much support throughout the contest, as Gonzalo Higuain was completely eclipsed by the defenders and he managed to combine just once or twice with a very springy Douglas Costa, who had it going again. However, his apparent injury puts an even bigger damper on an already forgettable day. Paulo Dybala entered the game well but vanished after a play or two and skied a couple of attempts where he should have done better.

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