Thursday March 8 2018
Juventus went old school

This season has been one of change in Turin but, as Adam Digby explains, the Old Lady went back to her tried and trusted methods at Wembley.

Maybe it was something about being in the “home of football” that made him do it, but after a season in which Max Allegri has looked to make changes to his usual approach, the Juventus boss reverted to old school defensive grit in order to grind out a crucial victory.

The Bianconeri travelled to Wembley knowing nothing less than a win would take them through to the next round, Tottenham’s two away goals making anything else almost irrelevant. Yet the Coach arrived without many of his attacking players, Mario Mandzukic joining Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi on the sidelines.

Those injuries limited Allegri’s options, but most were relieved to see both Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa feature in support of Gonzalo Higuain from the outset. The team needed to score, and eventually their Argentinian stars would do just that, but before and after the 169 seconds between their goals, it was events at the other end of the pitch that stood out the most.

Andrea Barzagli was given the nod at right-back, and the sight of the 36-year-old playing in a back-line that also included Medhi Benatia and Giorgio Chiellini was like pulling on a well-worn pair of slippers. Both comforting and familiar, this new-look ‘BBC’ unit were everything they needed to be, particularly as time wound down at the end of the match.

Time and time again, Spurs drove forward, but each and every attack seemed to be repelled by Barzagli or his long-term side kick. In a performance that can only be described as “typical Chiellini,” the big defender won seemingly every individual duel with Harry Kane, making no fewer than 13 clearances on the night and blocking three shots. Any promising moments for the home side seemed to end with his forehead getting in the way, and anything that got past him was mopped up by Barzagli.

Then there were the substitutions. It sounds ridiculous in 2018, but somehow Allegri changed the game by sending on Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah, deploying a good old fashioned 4-4-2 system that somehow turned the tie around completely.

It was a cross from the Swiss full-back that Sami Khedira turned across goal for Higuain’s strike, a crucial moment that sparked the Bianconeri fight back. In the meantime, the introduction of Asamoah allowed Alex Sandro to play further forward and, like Lichtsteiner, Chiellini and everyone else, he was solid and prevented Spurs from finding any time and space on the flank.

As implausible as it sounds, that was all it took. Yes, Son Heung-Minscored the first goal of the game, but only after Gigi Buffon slipped and was unable to make a save. Outside of that, it wasn’t the millions of Euros Juventus have invested in attack that made the difference, it was the same old virtues of defensive prowess and tactical awareness that saw them progress.

In a game many expected to boil down to Higuain vs Kane or Dele Alli vs Dybala, it was the fact the Bianconeri have Barzagli, Chiellini, Asamoah and Lichtsteiner that made the difference. Isn’t that the way it’s always been?

Have your say...
Drawing Real with first leg in Turin and second leg in Madrit might seem the worst nightmare. But I deeply believe Real is beatable.
on the 16th March, 2018 at 12:57pm
First of all let's keep our feet firmly on the ground.

However, we are still contending very well on all fronts, so just go with the flow, and enjoy the exciting ride!


BARZAGLI is a Top and valiant member of our squad!
on the 10th March, 2018 at 3:29pm
@ interello

Hmmm, what about the stonewall penalty against Costa in the same match?

What about Harry Kane being offside when he hit the post and could have equalized from an offside position that the linesman didn't call?

Go cry some more with Ronaldo and reminisce about the 90s you clowns.
on the 10th March, 2018 at 9:31am
barzagli chiellini buffon are jewels of the team and i am happy lichtsteiner and asamoah really deserved their chance to show their stuff today. we really need the whole squad to be fit - hopefully we can win the CL this season. Forza juve
on the 10th March, 2018 at 1:29am
@Interello LOL, Pochettino would be perfect as Inter coach then... BTW, stop crying

Just saved because buried it long enough for statue of limitations to kick in
on the 9th March, 2018 at 11:00pm
@Interello Well that's what losers do. You know all about that.
on the 9th March, 2018 at 8:43pm
Juventus did indeed go OLD SCHOOL according to Pochettino.
on the 9th March, 2018 at 5:26pm
Congratulations to all Juve fans around the globe. Whether it is old school or new school method the must important thing that matters is to win and Juve did just what is required.Do you know that so many football fans will be very happy if their teams can play like juve did for the 120 minutes to qualify? However, the major problem of this team is Allegri. I finds it very difficult to trust some players. E.g: Marchisio, Rugani, Bernadeschi among others. I hope he leave at the end of the season.
on the 9th March, 2018 at 2:26pm
Juve fly the flag for Italian football and then the once great AC Milan go and embarrass us.What a shame.
on the 9th March, 2018 at 2:00pm
------------------- JUVENTUS -------------


Given all the injuries and all the pressure experienced this season STANDING OVATION to everybody at the Club.

If anything perhaps Allegri's Team of coaches and trainers might do with a tangible improvement, or we'll have to get in better professionals.

Noi Siamo La Juventus
on the 9th March, 2018 at 1:27pm
They always do just enough don't they? It's a remarkable victory but if Juve hadn't have dropped off after taking the lead then I could have seen them scoring again anyway. They were getting in behind Spurs too easily! It's funny the English press n commentator's blaming Spurs for throwing it away when they couldn't foresee themselves that Juve don't give up. It was the same v Lazio! Chiellini only got a 5/10 in some English papers but he was superb n good on Higuain scoring in the CL again too!
on the 9th March, 2018 at 11:04am
While W. Szczesny is better keeper between the posts, G. Buffon better commands his last-defence-line boys, as the latter is the only one who can shout at Chiellini ;-)
on the 9th March, 2018 at 10:12am

on the 9th March, 2018 at 7:49am
Barza should never play @RB again. He gets burned for pace every single time. He simply doesn't have the legs or energy levels to sustain it for 90 minutes in that position. Once he was moved back to CB, his natural position, he looked far more composed.

I'm looking forward to the draw, but it only gets harder from this point forward. Let's hope we get our injured players back in time for the business end of things.
on the 9th March, 2018 at 3:53am
Excellent result, and I'm relieved that we scraped through.

That clown Cuadrado is one of the main reasons we even made it as far as the final last year. He's an added value, an eclectic player who contributes a lot, both offensively as well as defensively.

I would love for us to invest in the midfield come summer. Khedira is becoming a liability, Sturaro is an accidental footballer and, as much as it pain me to say this, it seems Marchisio's days are numbered.
on the 9th March, 2018 at 3:48am
That's what I'm saying. Juve played with 4 at the back too with Barza as a right back. To be more precise, they were playing with 3 when defending and with 4 when in possession. It was a hybrid of 3-4-2-1 and 4-2-3-1. Allegri used the same thing against Monaco.

Whatever. Right back is not Barza's position and his is too slow for it. Allegri should trust Licht more.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 11:22pm
@ The Master

Nobody is blaming Barzagli. Barza is a legend and a great defender, but can't play as a right back.

And yes, Allegri did change the formation AND the usual lineup in Cardiff. And no, he didn't do the same vs Monaco. You are remembering wrong.

We played with 4 at the back vs Monaco(and most of the season). Then Allegri played with 3 at the back vs Real because he was scared. Instead of playing with the previously successful formation of 4-2-3-1 that won us the league and got us to the CL final.

Allegri tinkers too much at the wrong time.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 9:33pm
Excellent win for Juve! They have the opportunity to win the CL but they need to look after Dybala. Juventus winning the champions league will add credibility to their success domestically. Lippi focused on winning the CL and was extemely unlucky after 1 win and 3 defeats. Juve should prioritise this and not play first team in the Italian Cup as it almost as bad as winning the League Cup. Well done, Juve. Most football fans would have enjoyed those two goals and the amazing defending in the SH.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 9:06pm
Why people keep saying Allegri changed the formation in Cardiff? He put Barza in RB and Alves in RW. He had done the same versus Monaco. Would you rather see that clown Cuadrado starting in the final? And at the end of the day, Juve lost because of their weak midfield and not Barzagli.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 8:00pm
What we saw in the last 10 minutes gave me so much to be proud of our love for defending and we got away with it. Just. As effective as this approach is as a last resort it shouldn't be seen as the first option when we take a lead. Haven't we learnt anything from the recent past? This cannot be relied on to work when it matters most and another humiliating exit or a final defeat would be unbecoming of this club. Pjanic and Khedira take their places for granted. Over to you Allegri
on the 8th March, 2018 at 6:56pm
Fino Alla Fine!

Now give us Liverpool next.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 6:45pm
take it easy Juve fans.
Chellini was lucky for not having been shown 2 yellows and a penalty shot against him. (Clear hand ball in the box and that tackle!!! straight for the body with no intention for the ball!!
on the 8th March, 2018 at 6:40pm
Happy Juve went through, but this tie displayed Juve's need for a midfield overhaul and defensive reinforcements.
Barzagli (legend) in no way looked comfortable like a slipper vs Son. Spurs could have easily won.
Next season Juve will need fresher legs at the back and more quality in the midfield or they can forget about competing for the UCL.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:53pm
Some people are talking on here as if Juve lost. If we play sub-par and yet are -1 from the top with a game in hand and in the last 8 of the CL, then my thinking is we're not sub-par! You can fluke your way for half a season max (see inter) but in the long run, the best teams prevail. It's loser mentality that always thinks it's luck.
Last 8 in 4 out of last 5 years and 6 titles on the bounce. That's not luck.
Forza Juve!
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:48pm
People give Allegri credit for changing the game, but he was at fault for playing Barzagli at right back. I had flashbacks of many terrible games.

Allegri always tries to invent or tinker with something before big games. Just like how he changed the whole formation before Cardiff, forgoing the formation that got us there in the first place.


I doubt that was his plan. Remember that Lich was out of the CL squad by Allegri's choice until recently.
Who was he going to put after Barzagli? De Sciglio? Come on..

Allegri is a good manager, but he has his flaws.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:41pm
@Yorkshire so Dele Alli is the only spurs or England player that dives? Spirit of sportsmanship? Since when is that given a damn about in Italy and other countries that are not as hypocritical as England? Anyways well done Juve, hope you play better against better opposition cos as Bayern proved defending for long periods will not cut it against better opposition. Spurs are okay but are not top class. Juve are better than they showed in both legs. Got away with it this time...
on the 8th March, 2018 at 5:37pm
I'm not sure why some are criticizing Barz at RB... the whole point was for him to start there and wait for Tottenham to tire out and then let Licht come in. If Licht had started then he would have pushed forward and you'd have a fresh Son with even more space to run at Juve.... not good. The Barz start at RB was critical
on the 8th March, 2018 at 4:44pm
Over 120 minutes, Juve played 13 minutes well and still won... go ahead and tell me how EPL is the best league in the world. I'l wait. Fino Alla Fine
on the 8th March, 2018 at 4:19pm
This article is too optimistic. Juve's midfield remains a big problem. They lack pace and physicality to win the ball. Pjanic is too slow, creates little and can not win the 50/50 battles. Khedira, has no ability as a defensive mid and can't run with the ball. Matuidi was all over the field and just looked lost. There is no link up play from midfield to the forwards. Juve ride their luck like this but that will only take you so far. When they meet Liverpool, Madrid or Man City the luck will end.
on the 8th March, 2018 at 3:58pm
Spurs looked shell shocked after Juve went a goal up. It was like a whole different Juve after 60 mins.
The other thing i dont get is the hate for Asamoah and Licth. Licth was the only credible RB available and it bothers me that Allegri chose Barz. Hope he doesnt do that again as bigger team will punish that sort of decision making. Asamoah is a decent back up for a pivot in a 2 man midfield; his conversion to LB is not the greatest but he can still deliver good crosses and hold his own in def
on the 8th March, 2018 at 3:45pm

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