Asamoah, Lichtsteiner, Rugani all sub-par as Juve stumble to Samp defeat
Juventus succumbed to their second Serie A defeat in a 3-2 loss to a determined Sampdoria squad and, in the process, fell into third place -- four points behind league-leading Napoli.
A good first half, albeit one that lacked attacking efficiency, was followed up by a terrible second half full of poor defending decisions. Once Sampdoria grabbed the goal, the maturity we expect from a side that has won six Scudetti in a row vanished and Juve lost their composure and conceded three. The only time the Old Lady woke up and played well was in stoppage time.
Paulo Dybala's goal and Douglas Costa's work in the final stages were perhaps the only highlight of the game.
The defense has reached new heights of ridiculousness, evidenced by the fact Sampdoria scored three goals from their first four shots. The opponents' runs are no longer being tracked, there is little organisation at the back as players struggle to win their duels. A team which has historically been defined by their solid defence, Juventus will struggle to even compete, let alone win trophies, unless they can fix that part of their game.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Playing Federico Bernardeschi as a trequartista proved to a poor decision while Juan Cuadrado ought to have been taken off in the first half. The team must work better in defence while the side is in desperate need of composure and maturity in the tough moments. More is expected from Max Allegri to address the weaknesses within the side.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Wojciech Szczesny, 6 -- Managed to stop Duvan Zapata scoring a quick second goal on the counter when he came out early but not convincing in terms of authority.
DF Stephan Lichtsteiner, 4 -- Can simply no longer win his duels. Ineffective at the back.
DF Daniele Rugani, 4 -- We talk of potential, but the defender is simply not seizing opportunities to prove his talent. Lacks composure in the difficult moments and plays devoid of the confidence required for a Juve defender. Barzagli may be physically declining but at least he provides authority and personality at the back.
DF Giorgio Chiellini, 6 -- Poor on Sampdoria's third goal and appeared too overwhelmed to play his usual game due to the dismal performances of Kwadwo Asamoah and Rugani.
DF Kwadwo Asamoah, 4 -- Laid down the red carpet for Sampdoria to attack on his flank. Terrible.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 5 -- Was this really Pjanic? Produced little to nothing in terms of inspiration while he must learn to provide better leadership when the side is struggling.
MF Sami Khedira, 5 -- Received criticism from Allegri for complaining about a potential offside when he should have been defending to avoid conceding the third goal. His experience means we should expect more but at least he produced interesting runs and key passes.
MF Juan Cuadrado, 5 -- Once again Cuadrado was exposed for his inability to make the right decision. In the half-hour mark, he chose to strike with power when better options were available. Costa did so much more in the 20 minutes or so he had and should be starting ahead of him.
MF Federico Bernardeschi, 5 -- Dispossessed with ease and lost the ball too cheaply due to poor control, but provided some good passes forward. However, he was at fault for the first Sampdoria goal for failing to clear the ball.
MF Mario Mandzukic, 5 -- Barely noticeable in the second half while he missed a glorious chance. He needs to provide the attacking efficiency with greater consistency, not simply be a man who only sacrifices.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 6 -- He worked hard in the game, dropping deep, producing perfectly weighted passes forward (one Cuadrado gloriously wasted) and scored the penalty.
MF Paulo Dybala, 6 -- Scored a wonderful goal in stoppage time. His presence alone helped spur Juve on.
MF Douglas Costa, 7 -- Came on and provided the inspiration Cuadrado couldn't. He won the penalty that Higuain scored and provided Dybala with the assist for Juve's second.
MF Blaise Matuidi, N/A -- Not enough time afforded to him.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.