C oming off a disappointing defeat at the San Siro, Juventus were eager to show off their strengths, much like the Nordsjaelland drubbing that followed the defeat to Inter. There was no midweek Champion’s League match, so the recipients of Juve’s wrath was Torino, in a renewal of the Turin derby after 3 years of Torino in Serie B. Sure enough, it was a crushing win, but aided by a bit of help from the Granata. Here’s Aaron and John with your match report covering the 161st league derby.
MATCH ANALYSIS (by Aaron Giambattista)
After 3 years without a Turin derby, it returned Saturday night at the Juventus Stadium. Torino finally got to see what a real stadium looks like, as their team still plays in the woefully decrepit Stadio Olimpico. The Toro are back from Serie B, having been guided by Giampiero Ventura, the coach who took over from Antonio Conte back at Bari.
Bari chose Ventura to follow Conte because of the similarities in their tactical play. The duo both employed ultra offensive wingers in a 4-2-4, pressed high, and dominated possession. It’s interesting to note how the tactics have diverged since then- Antonio Conte has completely abandoned either the 4-2-4 or 4-4-2, preferring the 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 since nearly September of his first season at Juventus. While the 3-5-2 has been Conte’s choice for nearly a year, with Chiellini out, he decided to switch back to the 4-3-3.
Ventura, on the other hand, has gone a bit more negative in his tactics in recent years. Perhaps it’s negative, or simply pragmatic, but after a high flying first season with Bari in A, his team was trounced throughout the 2nd year and ignominiously relegated to the 2nd divison. At Torino, it’s much more balanced- the team is nowhere as offensive as his first-year Bari side, but they have kept a tight defense- the 6th best in Serie A.
It started a battle between a 4-3-3 and 4-4-2, and it was very well balanced in the first half. Torino’s side was tactically disciplined, playing excellent defense and holding their own possession-wise with Juventus. Angelo Ogbonna and the Torino defense had Vucinic and Giovinco tightly under control, while Giaccherini on the right flank overplayed his role and gave up possession.
It’s no surprise then, that a midfield incursion first led to a chance. De Ceglie put in a dangerous cross that Torino goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet fumbled while colliding with his defender Ogbonna. Pogba won the ball, passed it to Vucinic who scored, but the goal didn’t count as Pogba was bizarrely called for a foul.
The Granata started the game out brightly, going head-to-head with Juventus and often coming out on top. Meggiorni turned Bonucci and managed to get outside of the rushing Gianluigi Buffon, but the shot, hit with the outside of his boot, narrowly went wide. It could’ve been a wake-up call for Juventus, but Toro shot themselves in the foot in the 35th minute when defender Kamil Glik was shown a direct red card.
Giaccherini collected the ball in midfield, and Glik bizarrely went in with a tackle that Mohamed Sissoko would be proud of. It was hard, it was messy, and a two-footed challenge where both studs are showing will always warrant a direct red card. Had Giaccherini’s foot been planted, it very well could have been a career-ending tackle for the former Cesena man. It was an odd challenge, completely unnecessary in midfield, and even stranger, the Torino players and coaches protested the red card, in fact, Ventura was sent off for complaining too much.
It went from bad to worse for Torino, as they again struggled with a midfield incursion- this time, Paul Pogba was tripped while running into the box by midfielder Migjen Basha. The Swiss-Albanian player had already been booked, so he can consider himself thankful that referee Rocchi did not award him a 2nd yellow for the foul in the box. Unfortunately for Juventus, Andrea Pirlo skied the penalty. It is his 3rd penalty miss in a Bianconero shirt, and a bit of a disappointing way to go into the half-time break.
Juventus came out in the 2nd half aware of the teams’ duty- winning. Torino had battled hard and well in the first 45 minutes, but could not survive with 10 men against Juve’s onslaught for another half. Torino played incredibly defensive, focusing on a few rare counter-attacks. Juventus defenders were given complete freedom to walk with the ball all the way into Torino’s half- the Granata midfield and defense retreated to the 18-yard box each time. Torino had control of Juve’s strikers throughout much of the game, but failed to deal with the midfield incursions. Pogba had a number of excellent chances in and outside the box, and Marchisio’s later goals would also come from Torino players failing to mark il Principino as he ran into the box.
The coaching substitutions in the 2nd half were purely offensive. Bendtner was immediately sent on in place of Giaccherini, to put a more physical presence in the box as well as push Vucinic out to a more natural spot out on the wing. It seemed to work, Vucinic had much more time on the ball in the 2nd half, and his two assists no doubt came because of it. Asamoah and Matri were sent on as positional “like-for-like” switches; the Ghanian came on for De Ceglie to put a bit more offensive ability on the wings, whereas Matri was sent on (incredibly out of position, though his cross did lead to a goal) ostensibly to give him a few minutes or grant Giovinco a standing ovation.
It was one of those midfield incursions that broke open the match. Giovinco delivered an excellent bending cross from the outside flank, and Marchisio sprinted into the box, without any particular Torino player picking him up, and headed it into the back of the net. It was quite similar to his goal against Fiorentina last Spring. The Juventus Stadium exploded as two former Primavera graduates and Turin natives combined to break the deadlock.
Only ten minutes later, Juventus doubled their advantage. Marchisio passed the ball down to Vucinic, who controlled, and slotted it across the box to Sebastian Giovinco, who had switched earlier in the 1st half to the right side. The Atomic Ant has not fully shown his Parma-level finishing ability at Juventus yet, but he’s done incredibly well with the angled drive from the right. It was almost exactly like his goal against Udinese. 2-0, and another goal from a Turin native and Primavera graduate.
At this point, the Bull’s spirit was truly broken as the shots came flying in. Superb goalkeeping from Jean-Francois Gillet denied Pogba a headed goal, as well as Bendtner’s first goal at Juventus. Torino attempted to attack on the counter, and had a short spell of possession, but it was increasingly a one-sided affair as the match went on.
In the 84th minute, Juventus scored their 3rd, and who else but the Prince of Turin? Alessandro Matri crossed a deep ball to Vucinic, who chested it back to an onrushing Claudio Marchisio. Il Principino hit it cleanly and accurately, there was little Gillet could do about it. At this point, Juventus let off the gas and the last few minutes was played at a slow tempo- Torino were truly beaten, and Juventus did them the kindness of not rubbing it in.
The team’s clean sheet meant it’s been over a decade since Torino managed to score a goal against Juventus. The Bianconeri rained in 26 shots, 10 on target, and dominated possession with 63%. For Torino, the only thing that counts is staying in Serie A. As all-time derby goalscorer and Piedmont native Giampiero Boniperti would put it, at Juventus, the only thing that counts is winning.
LE PAGELLE (by John Cascarano)
Buffon – 6.0 – Wait, was he there?
Lichtsteiner – 6.5: I like him back in a right-back spot, as opposed to wing-back and I loved him jawing with Glik after the Polish defender’s sending off. Adds so much more to the game beyond owning the right flank.
Barzagli – 7.0: The two center backs, along with Buffon, had very little to do. Most of the action came from the flanks, seemingly from De Ceglie’s side. That said, Andrea was flawless with what little he had to do.
Bonucci – 6.5: Got burned on that near goal by Meggiorini. Made up for it in the second half with a nice play in a dangerous area in the box to win the ball and clear it out of trouble.
De Ceglie – 7.0: Is it just me or is less asked of him defensively in a 4-3-3, than a 3-5-2? Seems almost counter intuitive, doesn’t it? Perhaps maybe it was just the opposition. Impressed with his crosses, and the way he stayed on balls and often won them back. Was disappointed when he was subbed off in the 61’. Paolino could’ve used the minutes, and Asamoah the rest ahead of the weekday trip to the Ukraine.
61′ Asamoah – 6.0: Looked good after he came on, I am constantly impressed by his footwork and skill.
Pogba – 7.5: Constantly moving, has a knack for getting forward at the right time as well as ripping powerful shots on net, time after time – although he frustratingly just could not put one away. His efforts at least proved too much for the Torino defense, and he drew a penalty. His first half was a MOTM-worthy performance. I’m in love with this guy. Sorry, Fergie.
Pirlo – 6.0: Played very well. Vintage Pirlo performance, pulling the strings from deep, and connecting on passes. Yet, have to -1 for the skied penalty. Considering the trend from the middle of last year which saw first-choice penalty duties passed to Vidal, and I’m thoroughly disturbed.
Marchisio – 8.5: Seemed to play a little further back during the first half, broke-up play, and hustled. Passes were tidy, including a perfect little flick off a cross in the second half that should have resulted in a Danish goal. Concluded brilliant performance with a gorgeous – and decisive – diving header, capped off with a late tack-on. Took the keys to Vidal’s “I-guess-I’ll-have-to-do-this-all-on-my-own-and-score-too” van, and drove. That’s the Principino that I know.
Giaccherini – 6.5: A switch to the 4-3-3 was a good anecdote after a few weeks of domestic inconsistency, and adding the quick, creative Grease-lookalike proved to pay dividends. Added a little something extra in the final third, and caused enough trouble to force Glik into a careless challenge and a straight red during the first half. Was disappointed to see him subbed so early, but the score line shifted significantly afterwards, so what do I know?
46′ Bendtner – 6.0: Came on for Giaccherini in order to solidify the attack up a man in the second half, but could not put away a perfectly placed flick by Marchisio while wide open.
Vucinic – 6.0: Missed that sitter off of Giovinco’s cross, despite another decent, workmanlike performance. Oh, Mirko.
Giovinco – 8.0: The angry little man played well, and connected some nice passes throughout the game. Delivered some beautiful crosses including on Marchisio’s acrobatic header, and sealed the game himself in the 68’. Was easily the best forward on the pitch. Always more of a second striker than trequartista, that much we all knew, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching his range of skills from out wide in a trident attack.
79′ Matri – 6.0: Did his job – held up play, and made a decisive cross to Vucinic which set up the third goal. Still, I’m increasingly convinced that we are seeing the last of Ale, much to my wife’s chagrin.
Conte/Alessio – 7.5: Some of the substitutions left me scratching my head, but all’s well that ends well. Kudos for switching formations to prevent malaise and work around Chiellini’s absence.
ANALYSIS WRAP-UP (by Aaron Giambattista)
Juventus won 3/4 of the derbies under the Ranieri era (the only other derbies since 2003) but they were all 1-0 narrow wins, the one stalemate a 0-0 scoreline. This match was a dominating win in every statistic. It was of course aided by Glik’s senseless red card, but a 3-0 derby win in any form will be a shot of confidence for a team coming off a disappointing loss.
The team has done well navigating the fall period. It has not been easy, we’ve seemingly focused on certain games (Napoli, Chelsea) which has led to disappointing results days later. (Nordsjaelland, Milan) It’s not a foregone conclusion that it has to be this way, but it’s understandingly so for a team experiencing this fixture congestion together for the first time.
The wins against Chelsea and Torino have been a boost in a tough period, and with 4 games to be played before the winter break, the team needs to remain focused and prepared for each match. Luckily for Juventus, there are two major events that could deliver some momentum for the last few weeks. A draw/win this Wednesday at Shakthar would ensure the Bianconeri qualify for the knockout stages of the Champion’s League, regardless of the Chelsea-Nordsjaelland result. We control our own fate.
The other major event is that the Turin derby is the last league match Juventus will play without Antonio Conte. After months of ridiculous court statements, lawsuits, hearings, tribunals, and all sorts of nonsense, Conte’s ban officially expires this week, and he will be on the bench for Palermo-Juventus. BENTORNATO CONTE!
ANTONIO CONTE IL NOSTRO CAPITANO!
Juventus 3-0 Torino Video: All 3 Goals Plus Full Highlights