Angel Di Maria shone in his Serie A debut with Juventus with a goal and an assist and has already become the technical leader of the Bianconeri, writes Lorenzo Bettoni in Turin.
He was the most awaited player at the Allianz Stadium yesterday and El Fideo didn’t let Juventus fans down.
The Argentinean star broke the deadlock after 30 minutes with a stunning left-foot volley and provided the assist for Dusan Vlahovic’s second goal of the night. But he did much more than just that. Di Maria was the core of Juventus’ attack. Max Allegri deployed him as an attacking midfielder, right behind the main forward Vlahovic, and El Fideo was crucial in the build-up.
The ball moved quicker when Di Maria touched it and every time Juventus created trouble, the ex-PSG star was around. Watching him in action live was sublime.
The Serie A giants gained numerical advantage every time he touched the ball and created almost every chance thanks to their new signing. Tactically, Allegri has replaced Paulo Dybala with El Fideo, playing the 34-year-old in the same position as La Joya, who left Turin at the end of his contract in June.
Even when the Tuscan tactician switched to a 4-3-3 formation in the first half, Di Maria was given the freedom to move everywhere in the final third and was often seen playing in the middle.
Gigi Buffon had compared his former teammate to Diego Maradona ‘considering the level of Serie A’ and although his claims may sound a bit odd, Di Maria has proved to be the Bianconeri’s technical leader and the player who can shift the balance in Serie A this season.
That’s why his adductor injury is alarming for the Serie A giants. Di Maria will remain out of action for at least 10 days, meaning that he will surely miss the upcoming match against Sampdoria at Marassi next Monday.
The Argentinean star may recover in time for the following home clash with Roma at the Allianz Stadium on August 27, the first big match of the season for Allegri’s boys. It’s a big if given that Juventus have specified that Di Maria will be assessed again in 10 days.
From what we witnessed in Turin on Monday night, it will be crucial for the Bianconeri to recover Di Maria as soon as possible and keep him fit for the majority of the season.
Allegri strongly relies on the quality of his players to create danger in attack, and Di Maria clearly made the difference against Sassuolo. If he manages to remain after his return, Juventus will have a fair chance to be title contenders again this term.