Juventus beat Chelsea with a solid performance at the Allianz Stadium, picking an opposite game plan to the one Pep Guardiola had used to win against the Blues, writes Lorenzo Bettoni in Turin.

Juventus fans felt it could have been one of those nights. Despite a slow start to the season, many Bianconeri supporters outside the Stadium were optimistic about a good result against Chelsea, the Champions of Europe. Even without their best scorers Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata, who were out of action with injuries, the Bianconeri’s expectations were high and many were curious to know how Massimiliano Allegri would have replaced the pair.

“I have confused ideas,” he had said on the eve of the game. It turned out he was very much clear-minded.

The Tuscan tactician picked Federico Bernardeschi as a false 9 with Moise Kean, Juventus’ only striker available, starting on the bench. He was joined by captain Giorgio Chiellini, who saw Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci start at the back. The defensive pair had to deal with a familiar face in Romelu Lukaku, the former Inter striker who has now one goal in seven appearances against the Old Lady.

Before the match, in an interview with The Athletic, Bonucci had claimed: “In the box, he [Lukaku] is great at playing man-to-man so you need to be on the front foot, try to read the game and play hard.” That’s exactly what he did. Lukaku had only one big chance which he awkwardly missed in the second half.

Juventus fans knew he was the biggest threat for their side and kept booing him for the whole game, not always shouting nice things at him. Unfortunately, that’s part of the game, especially in Italy, which the Belgian learned by experience, particularly in the Milan derby.

Earlier last week, Chelsea had lost 1-0 at Stamford Bridge against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who had used an intensive pressing to prevent the Blues from registering any shot on target.

Tonight, they only had one, even if Juventus used a totally different approach. Allegri’s men sat deep, waited for Chelsea and tried to hit on the counter. During the first half, they had two massive chances, the second half began with Federico Chiesa’s goal. Arguably Juve’s best player of the night, along with Leonardo Bonucci.

The former Fiorentina star was lethal with his transitions. In the first half, he could have passed the ball to Bernardeschi who would have gone one vs. one with Eduard Mendy. On the other hand, after just 11 seconds in the second half, the Carrara-born winger saw Chiesa’s movement and set the No.22 for the winner.

From that moment onwards, Juventus parked the bus. Perhaps, Allegri had no alternatives. Most likely, this would have been his game plan even with Dybala and Morata. Surely, the Bianconeri were not used to these kinds of performances over the last two seasons. Their grinta and solidity seemed gone when Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo were appointed. The Serie A giants wanted to get a new identity. A new playing style, made of high pressing and quick ball recovery. Opposite from the one that had brought 11 trophies over the previous five years with Allegri in charge.

During their pre-match press conferences, Allegri and Chiellini had stressed that Juventus needed to recover that ‘joy to defend’ inside the box. Based on tonight, they made a little step forward in that direction. “I had the feeling the team was calm in defending,” Allegri said in his post-match press conference tonight. He was right, as Chelsea gave the impression they wouldn’t be able to score even if they had played all day.

“It’s been a few weeks that we’ve been looking for the attitude we had lost over the last few years, that desire to be tough on every ball,” added Bonucci.

“Sometimes we should be more precise technically, but these performances must be the rule and not the exception.”

Despite sitting deep, the Serie A giants had the best chances of the night, two in the first half and two in the second half. Chelsea registered only one shot on target.

With six points in two games, Juventus are the Group H leaders and the qualification for the Round of 16 is in their hands. Perhaps they are not developing the same way as Italian football, going in the opposite direction to Roberto Mancini’s UEFA EURO 2020 winners, but the Bianconeri are surely finding their old identity, which ultimately is the reason why Allegri was brought back.


13 thought on “Allegri is the anti-Guardiola, but both approaches defuse Chelsea”
  1. Allegri had to use these tactics out of necessity with the offensive players that were missing. Yes, he is a defensive/overcautious manager, but he has shown in the past that his teams can play good attacking football but always with balance. Seasons 2014/15 and 2016/17 were examples of this, particularly when he played the front 4 of Higuain, Dybala, Mandzu, Cuadrado to devastating effect in the UCL and Serie A in 2016/17. He also tried to play with wingers a year later, but the purchases of Bernadeschi and Costa did not allow him to have consistent success with this formation through injuries and bad form of those wingers.
    Allegri’s plan is clear – get the defensive side and grinta back in order and then work on the team expressing itself going forward. he knows he has enough firepower up front with Dybala, Morata, Chiesa, Kulu, Kean and Jorge and the right chemistry will form soon. I had doubts about Allegri after the Empoli game, but you can see the team over the last months has become more unified and committed and he will make players like Berna, Benta, Rabbiot and MDL much better players. He is definitely the man to turn Juve around.

  2. For sure….i have feeling chelsea can do nothing before….because of allegri….allegri is master on one game at the time moment.

  3. A gritty performance- very good defending and focused in attack. Not sure Chelsea are the best team in Europe. I think they were a bit lucky to win CL last year and the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Bayern and PSG are better teams. Still, if Alegri can continue his good work, get better performances from some players (Kean, Kulusevski, Berna, and Rabiot need to improve the most), get players back from injury (Artur), and get one good signing in January- maybe the season can still have some success.
    CR7 was never a long term solution, just like Higuan. Both those signings were 100million down the drain for a scudetto and an old striker, but there is still time to get things right.

  4. @frankie, completely agree with you. This is the first stage of Allegri’s rebuild and that is to get it into the current squad what it means to play for Juve and gain back that winning mentality.

  5. I haven’t seen us play with so much determination and passion in years. Yes we played very defensive, but with without our two biggest goal scorers this season it would have been suicidal to play attacking football. We have been dreadful defensively for the last 2 years and finally yesterday we showed some of that old passion that was missing the last two years. I feel like the players are getting to understand Allegri more and more as every match we play. We just need to stay healthy and find some consistency in the league too. I cant remember when was the last time we won 4 in a row. If we get our defense back to where it was then you can see us in the top 3 come xmas. Whats the point of scoring 3 goals per game if you will also concede 3 a game, which we almost did the last two league games. So I hope this was the stepping stone.

  6. Well ,Allegri did the perfect job against Chelsea. Stop having kittens, saying it was boring. IT WAS FASCINATING!!! To win that match without your best forwards was eminent.

    Juventus can attack, and they will attack, but the team needs to mold first.

  7. It was a tactical masterclass from Mister Allegri. Any Binter haters can go home as they couldn’t even beat Shakhtar. We need to calm down though. If I am honest I would rather have spent the Ronaldo money on Pep, though I know he is under contract and that would have been impossible. I would definitely take him over Allegri for sure as I think he is the one maybe in future to take us to the next level. In the meantime let us be grateful to Allegri for what he has done for our club. Patience is the key, just give him time and if by the end of next season there is no improvement then we can have a dialogue. As for Inter lovers who keep calling us Rube keep the comments coming as you are making yourself more foolish with your incoherent nonsense.

  8. Don’t mind the defensive shell they collapsed into as their defending on the night was bang on. They created more chances and by no means was that “parking the bus”. That was football. The only bus parking on the night I saw were the static Chelsea forwards who were painfully predictable in their movements which caused Juve and Max ZERRRRRRO issues on the night. Euro champs my arse. Forza Juve !!!!

  9. They may have took that approach anyway but I think the missing strikers forced his hand. Fair play, he got it right. After the first 15 min’s there was no space for Chelsea who looked slow + out of ideas, almost all night. I wouldn’t necessarily call him just a defensive coach, he seems to adjust his tactics accordingly, to whatever’s needed. But along with Italy’s new progressive style, the Euro’s showed that there’s still a place for rugged defence too. Chelsea fell right into Allegri’s + Juve’s trap though, Chiesa was almost unstoppable. His direct pace + skill was too much for them to handle + Berna had a decent game up top too.

  10. Allegri is a tactical genius. Mourinho wrote the manual for bus parking, but Lord Allegri perfected it. @white rabbit you talk a big game but know nothing about football just like me.

  11. Let’s see if you all will sing this praise when Juventus loses 3-0 in London. Got lucky in that game. 26% possession and one shot on target isn’t gonna get Juventus anywhere. You can’t get lucky every time

  12. @SArcone: Just remind those Sinter fans that without their 2 best strikers that Juve score more goals against Chelsea than Sinter have scored in Champions League in the year 2021 !

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