Champions League: In Blaise Matuidi’s absence, Juventus midfield left with hole
Of all of the players within the Juventus squad, Blaise Matuidi is arguably the toughest to interchange. No different participant within the Turin aspect fairly matches the Frenchman’s mixture of professional tackling, dedication, boundless power, tactical consciousness and eye for aim.
The 30-year-old’s signing from Paris St Germain in August was initially given a lukewarm reception by Juventus followers hoping for a extra glamorous addition to the squad however he rapidly gained them over. He is the closest factor to Arturo Vidal for the reason that Chilean, massively fashionable with the Juventus supporters, left for Bayern two years earlier.
Matuidi has been a key participant within the tactical swap which has revived Juve’s season, plugging the defensive holes which had threatened to undermine their bid for a seventh successive Serie A title.
After a 3-2 defeat at Sampdoria in November, when Matuidi began on the bench, coach Massimiliano Allegri determined that his group strengthening defensively and modified the 4-2-3-1 formation for a 4-3-3.
Apart from Friday’s 2-Zero win at Fiorentina, Matuidi has began in each Serie A sport since then and Juve have notched 10 wins and a attract 11 outings, conceding just one aim within the course of.
But Matuidi has been dominated out of Tuesday’s Champions League spherical of 16 first leg tie at residence to Tottenhan Hotspur after struggling a thigh harm within the 7-Zero win over Sassuolo on Feb 4, leaving coach Allegri to mull different choices.
Claudio Marchisio stepped into the rule in Friday’s win over Fiorentina, finishing a three-man area alongside Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira, though, after a sequence of accidents, he appeared to expire of gasoline within the second half.
Another possibility for Allegri is 20-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur, who has began 5 Serie A video games since he was signed from Boca Juniors in July and affords bodily energy even when he lacks Matuidi’s all-round potential.
Stefano Sturaro is one other doable selection. Allegri additionally has to discover a substitute for playmaker Paulo Dybala who shouldn’t be anticipated to have recovered from a hamstring harm, though that function is broadly anticipated to go to Brazilian Douglas Costa.
Alternatively he may swap again to the 4-4-2 with Costa and Federico Bernardeschi on the wings and Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic on the two forwards. Allegri is a practical coach and one other change can’t be dominated out.
“This is a different Juventus to previous seasons,” he mentioned lately. “We started out with one tactical system, now we use another and I think we’ll change again going forward, because we could use more players with certain characteristics.”
“There’s no secret to our success — we simply have lads with good values and who want to win,” he added.