Juventus end Serie A woe with Bologna win but Allegri still has issues
At long last, Juventus won their first Serie A home match of the season and seem to slowly be recovering their edge, following Sunday's 3-1 win over Bologna.
Yet the team's unpredictability meant they were still forced to suffer in a match against a side that swiftly lost their desire as the game progressed.
Bologna arrived at Juventus with the intention to cause an upset. Confident and eager, it took them only five minutes to score a goal to stun Gianluigi Buffon and co. The stadium let out on big sigh. Lapses in concentration are becoming prevalent in the Bianconeri game but the real worry was that this side and their impressive stadium no longer intimidate their opponents; not even those who are accustomed to losing against the giants.
Yet the difference between Sunday's Juve side and the one playing in previous league games was confidence and control. Despite conceding, the Old Lady remained confident in their ability to overturn the result. Dominating the match and taking complete control, it was only a matter of time before the players found the equaliser and the subsequent goals required to take maximum points. Alvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala and Sami Khedira netted in the end to ease the tension following Anthony Mounier's opener.
THE BEST OF ESPN FC
- Bell: Liverpool fans make themselves heard
- Cox: Leicester improving | Why Poch should stay
- Okwonga: Man United's market | City's title hopes
- Laurens: PSG's pre-UCL issues | Hertha's curse
- Highlights (U.S. only): Stuttgart 1-3 BVB
- FC TV: Champions League W2W4 | LVG wrong
- News | Transfer | Toe Poke | Fantasy | FC TV | Podcast | MLS
Buoyed from the win against Sevilla in the Champions League prior to Sunday's Serie A victory, the team is slowly but surely recovering their identity. Confusion is slowly dissipating and much of that has to do with coach Massimiliano Allegri's decision to not change a winning formula. Deployed in a 3-5-2 formation, Juve's best XI started despite facing inferior opponents. Allegri resisted the temptation to rest players.
This time, the coach ensured he could not be accused of underestimating an adversary. By allowing players the opportunity to play together on a consistent basis, the team played with a little more fluency.
Had it not been for the presence of Khedira and Morata, this could have ended in another collapse. The former's experience and tactical intelligence has made all the difference in a team lacking chemistry and confidence while the latter's positioning ensures he's a reliable point of reference at the top, even if he could benefit from working a little harder in these unglamorous matches.
A champion who understands how to suffer and how to cope in various situations to ensure optimism, Khedira is the player Juventus have needed since the start of the season. His presence on the pitch elevated the performance of those around him to create a more fluid and intelligent game. Two games played, two games won and the German is not yet operating at full potential.
Morata may be a champion in the making but he is still not the answer to Juve's biggest problem -- their inability to finish off their scoring opportunities. Now, more than ever, this is a problem that must be addressed considering the fragility of a defence that is yet to recover its form and stability.
Juve had 19 shots on target that resulted in three goals, one of which was a penalty, yet Bologna needed only one chance to make the difference and take the lead. This is the downside of fielding only youngsters in attack; they can be the most talented players but inexperience robs them of the ability to consistently make the right choice in the final third.
Morata and Dybala are developing an interesting partnership but both need to learn from one another. The Argentine works hard for the team but lacks the ruthlessness required in front of goal while the Spaniard, wasteful on certain occasions, needs to understand the importance of playing for the team.
Time and continuity will teach the youngsters balance to allow them to better understand when they should pass, when to shoot and when to bring others into play. Had Carlos Tevez remained in Turin, the young forwards would have a received a better education by playing alongside him on the pitch, in much the same way Paul Pogba learned the art of being an effective midfielder from the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.
Allegri can be happy, though. Bologna may have not presented the toughest of challenges but it's clear Juventus are growing into a more cohesive unit.
A great performance against Inter Milan when Serie A resumes will provide better answers as to what fans can expect from this new look Juve.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.