Juventus Top Performers – Champions League home game vs Barcelona

Juventus were handed the first loss of the season, at home no less, by a depleted Barcelona team that never really needed to get into second gear to create problems and whose laundry list of absences was very exploitable, but the Old Lady paid the price for a collective off-day of their most creative players.

Leonardo Bonucci: he bit the bullet coming off a small injury that in other times would have cost him some matches and he was surprisingly decent as started off with an incredible slide to block a shot and then thwarted some insidious actions simpluy with masterful positioning. He was even too big of a factor with his passing, because it meant that the other distributors struggled. The Bianconeri were fine in their last-ditch line of defence in the box, but surely allowed the danger too close to home with lackadaisical pressure and were spared by the imprecision of the opponents in multiple occasions. Merih Demiral commenced terribly with an awful misplaced pass, got back on track with his physicality but finished off poorly with an avoidable red card. Danilo was serviceable in the back but horrendous when he attacking as he was few times in position to produce something good, but either had the wrong read or just terrible technique. Wojciech Sczezsny pulled off a pair of monster saves on point-blank attempts but it is not like he can do miracles.

Weston McKennie: he entered the pitch with an above average amount of energy and that was enough to do better the two starting midfielders as Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur were overwhelmed by the more commanding adversaries and too often appeared to run around like head-less chickens. The Frenchman was a little bit better than the teammate because he managed to steal some balls, but it was certainly too little in this kind of match-up. The American prospect had a pair of flashy plays on both ends, stripping Lionel Messi with great capability after running him down and almost creating a chance with a back-heel flick in the final third. Dejan Kulusevski came alive too rarely compared to the previous appearances and at times seemed to overlap with Paulo Dybala and the two have yet to build a rapport. He still came close to scoring though thanks to his class. Juan Cuadrado was his usual inconsistent self, as he alternated quality plays, like the one that almost set up Alvaro Morata, to some sloppy, if not boneheaded ones.

Alvaro Morata: it is pretty amazing that even in a match where the Madama generated very little offense, he found a way to have three goals waived off due to slight offsides. They are not lazy ones either, just unfortunate: the wheel is going to spin and the luck will eventually turn in his favour as his level of activity is very reassuring and his presence in the box is magnetic. He was also often the one to connect all the pieces together up front. Paulo Dybala just does not have any burst in his legs and it is tough for him to get anything going in this physical condition given his twitchy style. Federico Chiesa pulled a disappearing act after an unfortunate deflection on the first goal and Federico Bernardeschi had another shocking display despite playing just a handful of minutes, causing a penalty with a silly intervention that further underlined how out of the synch he currently is.

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