Concluding their Asian tour with a comprehensive 5-0 win against the Singapore All Stars side, it's safe to say Juventus have accomplished their mission both on a sporting and PR level. The Bianconeri finally visited their fans on the other side of the world and recognised the prestige of the club while Massimiliano Allegri was able to slowly introduce his tactical ideas, including finally testing out a four-man back-line.
Much was said about the pitch in the last friendly. It was dry, discoloured and as several newspapers reported, not covered in grass completely. Some of the soil, or rather sand, was simply coloured green. Deemed not suitable enough for the likes of Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal to play, Allegri explained that he preferred to not risk his two biggest stars getting injured at this stage.
Sadly, the opponents hardly provided much of a challenge for critics to truly analyse the 4-3-2-1 formation Juve deployed that turned into a 4-3-3 at the end. Nonetheless, the attack moved with fluidity and Sebastian Giovinco ensured he made the impression he desired. Demonstrating his clever style of play, he evaded opponents, was always the most direct with his movements and was aware of all around him. His understanding of the game impressive but his finishing is unfortunately still a problem.
The Juventus fans enjoyed the work of their front-line against an admittedly weak defence. The Bianconeri have at times been guilty of forcing the issue when patient and intelligent play should be of the utmost importance. However, in this last match against a side that attempted to press and hit Juve on the break, they maintained their composure and worked the ball to create the space necessary to score.
With Giovinco's determination and Pogba's passing, Juventus scored five and thrilled their coach. However, while their attacking play masked certain weaknesses, critics were still capable of identifying the problems at the back which must be resolved as soon as possible.
Even against a team that is clearly inferior in terms of technical skill, Juve still suffered when they lost possession and the All Stars had a chance to inflict their pace. Attempting to push high up the pitch, it was all about counter-attacking for the local side that quickly learned how to punish the Old Lady. While the Bianconeri possess intelligence and courage at the back, they still need to bring in a defender who offers different skills to the current members of the team.
Summer transfer window roundup
- Premier League: Team-by-team ins and outs
- Transfer Centre: All the done deals
- Marcotti: Mind-boggling transfers
- Delaney: What did we learn on deadline day?
- Horncastle: European transfer grades
- Smith: Transfers more important than the game?
- Macintosh: We worship goals, not balance sheets
As noted in the last piece on this blog, money is an issue but purchasing the likes of Kostas Manolas would go a long way in resolving some of the problems the back-line is currently experiencing. The Greek possesses the skills that could make the difference while the fee is something the club can work with.
Nonetheless, Allegri can be proud of the side that still appear to possess the hunger that Antonio Conte worked so hard to release. We can see the squad slowly taking to his ideas and brimming with confidence. It was important, as the tactician noted, the team become more comfortable playing in different formations and that has been an objective of new coach.
Juventus are fluent with the 3-5-2 shape but have also seemingly taken to playing with a four-man back line with more ease. The versatility of Claudio Marchisio, Pereyra and Kwadwo Asamoah will prove useful to the side, but an addition or two in the market would still be beneficial.