23.01.2017 13:45 - in: Serie A S

      #JuveLazio: Five talking points

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      From a super Juventus Stadium show off the field to the Bianconeri's all-out attacking display on it: our five talking points from Sunday's win
      1. Striking back in style

      Juventus should never play poorly twice in a row – in the words of Leonardo Bonucci – and to the delight of the home supporters on Sunday, the reigning champions delivered on their number 19’s pre-match rallying cry, producing a performance of aggression, control and no little quality.

      Much had been written on the team’s disappointing display against Fiorentina the previous week and while, according to Massimiliano Allegri, yesterday’s convincing 2-0 win over Lazio won’t necessarily mark a turning point in the Bianconeri’s approach for the remainder of the season, it did send out an important message to the chasing pack.


      Above all, what will have pleased Bianconeri fans the most will undoubtedly have been the increased intensity in their team’s play, an aspect that was not lost on coach Allegri, sitting in the dugout for his 300th Serie A match, when asked for his post-game reactions:

      “The players’ attributes allowed us to approach the match with this formation. At times like that you have the chance to get forward at the right moment but perhaps we just needed to shift the ball a little quicker. The team have to keep this tempo up whatever formation we operate in.”

      Massimiliano Allegri took charge of his 300th Serie A match on Sunday

      With the prospect of striking back against Milan in the Coppa Italia quarter-final on Wednesday night, the Tuscan’s charges should need no further motivation to take the game to their rivals for a second time in a row, just as they did for the visit of Lazio yesterday afternoon.

      2. Four-man frontline

      Incorporating the attributes of all of the side’s attacking players won’t necessarily be a viable option in every fixture this season but in lining up Juan Cuadrado, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala behind Gonzalo Higuain, the boss set the tone for proceedings 40 minutes before kick-off at Juventus Stadium.

      “I told myself after training that I needed to change something and I did so. The players’ attributes allowed us to approach the match with this formation.”


      In the first half in particular, the newly adopted 4-2-3-1 system worked a treat with the aggression of Mandzukic, the thrust of Cuadrado down the right side, the vision of Dybala and the predatory instincts of Gonzalo Higuain causing endless trouble for the overrun Lazio defence.

      The proof was in the source of the two goals: the first, a precise Mandzukic knockdown for Dybala – a key combination for the second time in as many home matches – the second, a piece of excellent movement from Higuain to get across his marker to poke home Cuadrado’s near-post cross.

      Whether such a bold formation will be deployed regularly remains to be seen but Allegri can surely take heart both from the mindset of his team and the latest of piece of evidence of their tactical flexibility.

      3. Asa and Mario

      At first glance, Kwadwo Asamoah and Mario Mandzukic seem an unlikely left-wing pairing but it is testament to the intelligence and character of the pair that both turned out terrific performances in their respective unfamiliar roles. 

      As he had done against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia 10 days earlier, Asamoah’s was another showing of unassuming quality, the Ghanaian slipping under the radar due to the deserved attention afforded to his attacking colleagues.

      Three tackles and eight recoveries for Kwadwo on the day, more than any other Juve player on the field.

      As for Mandzukic, the big Croatian is enjoying arguably one of the best spells of his Juventus career so far. 

      🎶🎵 MARIO MANDZUKIC, MARIO MANDZUKICCCC 🎶🎵 @mariomandzukic_official #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve #InstaJuve #JuveLazio

      A photo posted by Juventus Football Club (@juventus) on

      A sell-out home crowd was brought to its feet on countless occasions by the big man’s defensive efforts; nine tackles, five aeriel duels and recoveries would be impressive enough numbers for a central defender, let alone an inside forward. 

      An assist for Dybala was the least Mario deserved on the back of another stirring 90 minutes.

      4. 27 and counting

      The Old Lady is a different animal on home turf. Yesterday’s was the 27th consecutive home league win at Juventus Stadium, an arena that has almost become a 12th man on the field.

      While Allegri’s men still need to travel and pick up point from Naples’ Stadio San Paolo and Rome’s Stadio Olimpico in the coming months, they can be sure that few, if any, slip-ups will be made in Turin where they have held a perfect league record since October 2015.

      At this point, 57 points from a possible 57 at Juventus Stadium this season is far from out of the question.  

      5. Stadium spectacle

      Following Monday’s spectacular events at Milan’s Museo delle Scienze e Tecnologia as the club’s new logo – set to be rolled out completely on 1 July 2017 - the stage was perfectly set for Juventus Stadium to rise to the occasion and deliver a knockout show of its own.

      Kicking off procedings was none other than three-time Oscar winner and father of electronic music Giorgio Moroder, whose pre-match DJ set added that extra bit of glamour to the action, setting up the home crowd in perfect fashion for the vibrant footballing display they were about to witness.

      The best however was yet to come. The scene that welcomed the teams to the field was a true sight to behold: all corners of the stadium were awash with black and white flags while the symbol of the club’s future took pride of place in the centre circle.

      Black and White and More indeed.


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