Updated: Nov 22, 2020
While statistically it was an international break that lasted as long as any other; it felt like Juventus’ last match against Lazio occurred pre-quarantine. The late autumn days drag on as each cold, bianconeri-less evening came and went. Though the deflating Caicedo equalizer and the previous underwhelming play remained fresh in Juventus fans’ minds, there remained signs of optimism heading into the next Serie A stretch due to individual player successes on the international stage. Thus the 2-0 victory over Cagliari was a positive track into redeeming the early season for Andrea Pirlo’s young squad.
Gianluigi Buffon - 6
As much as it pains me to give the GKOAT anything other than a perfect 10, Buffon spent the majority of the first half either napping or enjoying the best spectator seat in the house. This was due to no fault of his own; his Juventus teammates dominated possession of the ball for the majority of the first half. The only critiques to be made of Buffon during the match came from a questionable short pass to De Ligt with Cagliari attackers in the area and a disallowed Cagliari goal saved by an offside call.
Juan Cuadrado - 7
I could understand some lower scores for Cuadrado, but I tend to lean into being an effort man, myself. That effort and hustle was a commodity the newly anointed captain played with at a high level from the start of the game. Something the Juventus players over the last twelve months have driven this Juve fan crazy over was the lack of hustle on the field, instead exhibiting a whole lot of standing around waiting for the ball to come to them. Alas, this was not the case for our captain of the day. Cuadrado won six ground duels, an aerial duel, had three interceptions, three tackles, and ten accurate long ball passes across the field. Cuadrado surprised me and earned the captain’s armband for this match.
Matthijs De Ligt - 7
What can be said about De Ligt that is not already known. The man is a brick wall and the single most important aspect of the Juventus defense heading into the future. Following a long recovery from the end of last season it was a breath of fresh air to see the golden boy back out on the pitch. De Ligt contributed three clearances, three tackles, one blocked shot, four won ground duels, and three long balls in his first match back for the season.
Merih Demiral - 7
Demiral showed flashes of why is heir apparent to the throne of Chiellini and Bonucci once the two Italian defenders decide to hang up their cleats. The Turkish defender amassed three clearances, one interception, two tackles, four aerial duels won, and two ground duels won, and one shot blocked. At the 51’ Demiral completed a vital header clearance when the other defensive players broke down. The defender also contributed on the offensive of the ball with one assist, two key passes, and one big chance created. A Demiral header attempt on goal was just barely pushed over the crossbar by the Cagliari goalkeeper.
Danilo Luiz da Silva - 7
Danilo played a huge part of the strength of the triple D defense alongside Demiral and De Ligt, but the Brazilian’s play faltered slightly as the game grew older. Danilo contributed one clearance, one tackle, one interception, and cleared a shot on goal at the 54’. Danilo was booked with a yellow at the 53’.
Arthur Melo - 7
Arthur put together a great game following his success for Brazil: winning three ground duels won, one aerial duel won, three interceptions, and a tackle. Notably two steals in the span of a minute at the 40’. Arthur was booked with a yellow at the 54’.
Adrien Rabiot - 6
Did Rabiot play today? Outside of a couple of touches I could barely recall the French player’s activity on the field. Rabiot put together four accurate long ball passes, five tackles, and one clearance on the pitch. While not overtly memorable, Rabiot’s play was suitable. Rabiot was booked with a yellow at the 33’.
Dejan Kulusevski - 6.5
Kulusevski had a strong start to the match for the bianconeri as he accumulated four ground duels won, one aerial duel won, two interceptions, and three tackles. Dejan also had one huge shot on goal missed that could have helped pad his statistics and the score sheet. While playing favorably at the beginning his play began to get sloppy in the second half including one erratic tackle at the 50’.
Federico Bernardeschi - 7
A surprise start by the Italian national following growing rumors of an imminent January departure was not on the top of my pre-match predictions. But the Italian showed flashes of the promise he showed at Fiorentina over the international break (a far cry from the output Juventus players have witnessed in the first segment of the season) and was entrusted by Pirlo in the starting X!. Uncharacteristically, Bernardeschi fulfilled that trust by putting together a strong game: attacking at every possible opportunity, multiple shots on goal including the free kick from Cuadrado, and a disallowed goal in the early minutes of the match called back only because of the positioning of Morata. This is the Bernardeschi that Juve needs to see more often should Fede wish to remain in Turin once January rolls around.
Alvaro Morata - 6.5
While not exactly the performance Juve fans have grown accustomed to since rejoining the Old Lady, Morata was a positive presence on the pitch. Morata attempted two shots, completed one assist to Ronaldo for the initial score, and had the opportunity to include a second assist early in the match. This section would remain all positive on Morata if it were not for the disallowed goal he assisted to Bernardsechi while in an offside position. Some things never change.
Cristiano Ronaldo - 8
The GOAT stays the GOAT. The striker’s two goals near the end of the first half both opened up and seemingly sealed the game for Juventus before halftime. Ronaldo capitalized on both shots on target with a 91% passing accuracy, and chipped in a couple tackles as well. Offensively, Ronaldo exhibited why he must be consistently accounted for on the pitch and is such a game changer, but there were moments the Portugese player can fade into the background when the ball is not regularly played for him.
Paulo Dybala (↔️ Alvaro Morata) - 6
It is almost unfair to rate Dybala on the limited time he contributed tonight, but the Argentinian showed effort in his pace moving up and down the field, but lost the ball on a lazy pass at the 73’.
Weston McKennie (↔️ Adrien Rabiot) - 6
Similar to Dybala, there was almost not enough information to give McKennie a fair rating. But the American did play with the effort expected of his fresh legs and made a solid tackle at the 71’.
Rodrigo Bentancur (↔️ Arthur Melo) - Not Enough Information
Federico Chiesa (↔️ Dejan Kulusevski) - Not Enough Information
Alex Sandro (↔️ Danilo Luiz da Silva) - Not Enough Information
Andrea Pirlo - 7.5