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Oct 25, 2021
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images At first glance, earning a 1-1 draw away to Inter is a good result for Juventus. For the biggest matches, San Siro becomes a cauldron, and while the visitors had made huge improvements to their defence in recent weeks, the Nerazzurri went into this game boasting Serie A’s most prolific attack. That reflects the changes at the club as they move into the Simone Inzaghi era. Inter have become a vastly different side to the one that won the title under Antonio Conte last season, much more expensive going forward but increasingly vulnerable at the back. They were the meanest defence in the league last term after conceding just 35 times in 38 games, but after beating Genoa 4-0 on the opening day of 2021/22, they have allowed every other opponent to find the back of the net. All of which makes Juve’s approach much more difficult to understand. Max Allegri would have prepared for this game fully aware of the changes Inzaghi had made, yet – rather than seeking to exploit them – he opted for caution. If it was understandable to see Paulo Dybala only given a place on the bench after recovering from injury, it was inexplicable that Federico Chiesa was sat there alongside him. This was a game, and an opponent, that would surely have been exposed by the direct running and sheer speed of the Fiorentina man. Yet perhaps even more baffling was the trio of players Allegri started in midfield where, rather than playing Manuel Locatelli in a role where he could attack the opposition, he was forced to anchor the centre of the pitch. MORE FOR YOU He was flanked by Weston McKennie and Federico Bernardeschi in a unit lacking any sort of balance or cohesion, something that was exacerbated by neat blend of the three players going up against them in the Inter midfield. Marcelo Brozovic sits in the middle and pins the Nerazzurri together perfectly. According to WhoScored.com , the Croatia international registered three tackles, one interception and completed 91.8% of his passes. His smart play once again allowed his team-mates to flourish, while continuing to make the €8 million ($9.3m) Inter paid for him in January 2015 look like an incredible piece of business. The figures might be much higher, but the same can be said of the €37 million ($43.1m) given to Cagliari for Nicolò Barella two years ago. He was once again a bundle of energy here, pressing Juve in the relentless fashion that made him a Conte favourite, as he never allowed Juve’s players to feel comfortable in possession. Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicolo Barella are part of a superbly balanced Inter midfield. Getty Images Meanwhile, Hakan Calhanoglu not only created four scoring chances for his team-mates, but statistics taken from Who Scored show he also put in plenty of effort defensively too, weighing in with three tackles and an interception. On the opposite side, if Locatelli was subdued by playing out of position, it certainly didn’t help the rest of the team to flourish. Bernardeschi left after 17 minutes in which he’d made three passes and lost possession once, and the man who replaced him didn’t improve the situation. Rodrigo Bentancur gave the ball away twice, committed a string of unnecessary fouls and contributed precious little to the Juve attack. Yet he was still probably more impactful than McKennie. The US international had one shot (it was off target) and connected with just 21 passes in the 82 minutes that he was on the field, adding to Juve’s problems by turning the ball over three times. It was also his responsibility to close down Calhanoglu in the 17th minute, but instead he stood off and watched as the Turkish star rifled a shot off the crossbar which Edin Dzeko steered home to break the deadlock. In their post-match player ratings , La Gazzetta dello Sport gave McKennie the lowest score of any player on the pitch with just 5, noting that he “played the same position as Barella, but what a difference.” Having started off his Juve career so brightly last season, this was another woefully subpar performance from the 23-year-old and one which leaves Allegri once again seeking solutions in midfield. While there is no doubting his credentials or the success he has enjoyed throughout his career, the Juve boss was undeniably guilty of playing into Inter’s hands on Sunday. If you asked Simone Inzaghi how he’d like Juve to set up, benching Chiesa and hindering Locatelli would arguably have been his first two suggestions. It doesn’t take a tactical genius to see that – particularly against the toughest opponents – any game plan should start with having that duo in positions where they can cause the most damage. November is looking like a tough month with Champions League matches against FC Zenit and Chelsea, as well as tough Serie A clashes with Atalanta, Fiorentina and Lazio. Already 10 points behind the league leaders, Juventus need to stop helping their opponents and start playing to their own strengths.
2 Team Members
INTER has 2 team members, including current Chief Executive Officer, Thomas List.