Juventus Top Performers – Round 32

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What was left of Juventus after the abundant rotation was not enough to nab the final point needed to seal the Scudetto race in this round, despite an okay performance especially the first half.

Joao Cancelo: he was one of the most active Bianconeri out there and served as a big creator since he had a lot of room to attack as wing back. He set up Moise Kean’s goal with a shot that seemed destined to finish wide, but was rerouted in the net by his teammate. There is still some sloppiness in his defensive game, but it feels like he is finally rounding back into form. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – UCL quarterfinal first leg

Ajax v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg

A rather uninspiring Juventus display in Amsterdam still led to a positive result ahead of the second leg.

Daniele Rugani: something close to a coming out party for the young defender, who did not shake in his boots in his first Champions League elimination game and was very precise in most of his reads despite adversaries putting the back-line under intense pressure. It is always recommendable to have Giorgio Chiellini in any kind of scenario, but this is not the worst match-up for Rugani’s skillset. Leonardo Bonucci had a pretty clean performance too, but that is what is expected from him. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 31

Scudetto Juve: Buffon immortale, Dybala 22 gol / SPECIALE

Juventus-Milan: the Bianconeri are coming off a convincing outing in Cagliari, where they notched their second shutout win in a row and in general their seventh victory in the last eight fixtures. On the other hand, the Rossoneri failed to take home the full loot for three matches in a row as they lost to Inter and Sampdoria and then tied with Udinese. The Old Lady is likely to have back both Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala for this game, while Cristiano Ronaldo is slated to sit one more out. Some players could be spared in the Ajax game, in any case Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are in terrific form and have lead them scoring-wise. Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Round – 30

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Emiliano Viviano (7 points): he contributed to SPAL’s impressive victory with a solid save on a Ciro Immobile’s shot and a rather lucky rejection with the help of the post on Lucas Leiva point-blank attempt.

Merih Demiral (13 points): he almost ruined a perfect night with a silly penalty foul late, but Emanuele Giaccherini missed and so his fantasy haul remains the best of the season for a defenders thanks to two outstanding headers.

Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): a commanding performance by the Juventus defense in Cagliari and the veteran centre-back embellished it with a great header on a corner kick.

Pol Lirola (7 points): a dominating performance for the energetic fullback, who was no match for the opponents on the right flank and set up two goals for Sassuolo

Josip Ilicic (10 points)he single-handedly knocked out Bologna in the span of ten minutes, punishing them with two venomous lefty strikes and then teeing up Hans Hateboer three-nothing goal. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 30

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Differently from the Empoli game, Juventus managed to control the pace of the game and stymie the opponents’ weapons in Cagliari, taking home a sweet victory despite several absences.

Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): when Wojciech Szczesny is not asked to make any save, it means that the back-line has worked to perfection. The opponents had some vigor only in the late stages of the contest, but all in all their attempts where pretty tame. The three-man defense has often been a great crutch for the Bianconeri in difficult situations and its effectiveness was on display again here. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 28

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Juventus were devoid of energies and mostly of ideas too on Sunday in Genoa and were handed their first loss of the season in Serie A play. They almost managed to get by through experience, but once the VAR disallowed the Paulo Dybala goal the Griffon just overwhelmed them. The Bianconeri’s record run on the road, where they had not been defeated for 27 matches in a row obviously came to end.

Joao Cancelo: all the defenders were docked a point because of the two goals they allowed. Cancelo had the best outing among those who were fielded on Sunday as he showed flashes of his best self, in particular when he played as left winger after half time. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 28

FC Internazionale - AC Milan

SPAL-Roma: the Estensi are pretty much starving for points as they collected just one in their last five games, against Sassuolo, and were beaten by Atalanta, Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Inter, further signaling their struggles against good competition. Their lead over the danger zone has been cut to just two points. The Giallorossi partially course corrected after a rough week with a narrow win over Empoli, where they did not look imposing and were lucky in the end, but also had to endure a host of absences. One of the main issues for the Biancazzurri has been the fact that they have not identified reliable offensive contributors other than Andrea Petagna, Jasmin Kurtic and Manuel Lazzari and the house of cards crumbled once the wing back was sidelined by an injury. Continue reading

Serie A Top Performers – Round 24

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Juventus could not have asked much more from the Frosinone game, which was decided in the within 20 minutes, allowing the squad to save some energies ahead of the Atletico Madrid clash.

Leonardo Bonucci (9 points): the bad boys returned on Friday night and the back-line risked only on a pair of free kick, with the level of the opponents obviously as a contributing factor. Bonucci even scored with a ballerina-like move to nudge it home. The best news is that everybody made it out unscathed, Giorgio Chiellini in particular, who is always a little at risk with his bothersome calf. Continue reading

Squad Overhaul on the Horizon at Juventus

With Juventus conceding six goals in their last two games, question marks have been raised about Massimiliano Allegri and his side’s ability to deliver the Champions League for the first time in 23 years. In just over two weeks time a clash against La Liga giants Atletico Madrid awaits where the stakes could not be higher. A round of sixteen exit would be a disastrous end to an indifferent campaign for the bianconeri; a campaign in which European success was stressed from day one at Villar Perosa. Despite signing Mr. Champions League himself – Cristiano Ronaldo – the Italian champions look no closer to winning Europe’s elite competition than they were last season. In fact, you could argue their chances at winning it all are lower. If Juventus’ recent woes are anything to go by, it means a squad overhaul is on the horizon.

After whimpering out of the Coppa Italia in embarrassing fashion against Atalanta, Juventus hosted newly-promoted Parma. For the first time since March 2012, the bianconeri lined up without one member of their famous ‘BBC’ trio and fielded a hardly inspiring centre-back partnership of Daniele Rugani and latest acquisition Martin Caceres. Since Mehdi Benatia’s departure, reports have surfaced that the Juventus brass would entrust Rugani with a bigger role moving forward, however, it’s safe to say, the defender failed in his first real test.

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Juventus Top Performers – Round 21

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A very sloppy and uninspired Juventus still managed to come away with a win against Lazio despite being severely outplayed for the first hour of the game. Here are the top performers in each position.

Joao Cancelo (4 points): undoubtedly the man of the match for the Bianconeri. He put his fingertips all over both goals, slotting the first home on a rebound and drawing a penalty with a terrific cut. He was deployed as right winger when the Old Lady was looking to push and the move could have looked like a head-scratched, but that position simply unleashed all his offensive prowess and he looked like consummate attacker in both the key actions. Continue reading