Sampdoria – Juventus: Juventus manifest strengths and weaknesses in a two-sided game (1-2)
Sixty dominant minutes seemed to be the prelude for a smooth Juventus victory, until Maurizio Sarri’s men lost control, playing with fire in a game that should have been long over. Once again, a game of two halves manifested the strengths and weaknesses of a team that still seems too affected by random causes.
Tactical analysis and match report by Kareem Bianchi.
Juventus approached the game without any other result on their mind outside a victory. On levels with Inter on 39 points and with just three points separating them from their opponents in next week’s Supercoppa final, Lazio, any slip up would have jeopardized a merry Christmas.
Having already suffered one draw and a loss in the last three games - in what appears like karma for some of the scraped wins throughout the month of November - the mask dropped for some of the issues that have been haunting Juventus.
At the same time, Sampdoria, sitting in sixteenth place and only having won two in their last five games, posed little threat on paper. Yet, they embodied a type of team whose compact low block defense Juve have struggled to unlock all season.
Therefore, Maurizio Sarri started his side in their usual 4-diamond-2 formation, choosing to ride his attackers’ momentum and field Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín all at once, following their successful performance against Udinese.
Claudio Ranieri used a 3-5-2 formation in possession that would turn into a 4-4-2 in possession in an attempt to outnumber Juventus in buildup phases. The center of the defense featured Jeison Murillo, Omar Colley, and Alex Ferrari, while Gianluca Caprari and Gastón Ram . . .