Juventus Top Performers – Round Two versus Roma

In a game of many faces, Juventus’ plans felt overambitious from the get-go and they were almost completely undone by the glaring lack of balance, but they showed great resilience after the red card in the second half and came away with a tie against Roma.

Danilo (1 points): if Cristiano Ronaldo had not scored a brace, he would have been the man of the match, not only for the precise lob that set up the second goal, but also for full ninety minutes of very energetic defending as for long stretches he looked the only really apt for such an aggressive style in the back. He got rewarded on the other end for his busy work. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are no spring chickens and struggled to keep up with onrushing opponents on multiple counter-attacks and the Bianconeri were lucky to give up just two goals. Things improved with a more static positioning late. Wojciech Szczesny came close to parrying away the penalty kick, came out terrificly on Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the early going, but was mostly spared by the imprecision of Roma’s attackers.

Dejan Kulusevki: he did not have a complete game like in the opener, and the position forced him to defend more, but he put up good numbers, also thanks to few accurate corner kicks, and had a pair of flashes with some trickster-like plays. It feels like he is not 100 percent physically yet though and that he is just scratching the surface compared to his peak Parma days. Similar performance for Aaron Ramsey, who was not as effective as last week, but surely tried to make an impact in the final third by continuously trying to combine with his teammates.

It was instead a rough game for Adrien Rabiot, who got caught with the hand in the cookie jar on a long-range attempt and then was too nonchalant on his tackles for somebody who was already booked. Ordinary display for Weston McKennie, while Arthur got to showcase his ball-handling skills and Rodrigo Bentancur looked like somebody who is gearing into shape in their limited minutes. Juan Cuadrado seemed out of his habitat on the left flank and had several sloppy touches that hindered some actions that may have led to something good.

Cristiano Ronaldo (8 points): while he was a little wasteful against Sampdoria, he came to the rescue with a super clutch goal in the second half, when Roma appeared poised to cruise thanks to a one-goal, one-man advantage. He instead snatched a point out of the jaws of the defeat by leaping into the air and directing the ball like maybe no one else can. He also caused the PK with a solo action. Alvaro Morata was too evanescent, but the Old Lady probably did not explore the long-ball as much as it could and the Spaniard could have been dangerous through that gambit. Douglas Costa is also starting to get his legs underneath him and was promising in his cameo.

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