PLAYER RATINGS: JUVENTUS 2-1 NAPOLI

In what might be the pivotal moment of Andrea Pirlo’s young coaching career, Il Maestro was able to withstand the pressure and come out on top of the Detroit of Italy with a 2-1 victory. Federico Chiesa continues to look like the next great Italian Juventus player and the focal point for the club moving forward. And quite possibly a most perfectly timed return to play with Paulo Dybala scoring within minutes of entering onto the field, breathing new life into the talk and interest surrounding his contract negotiations with the club.


Notice: All ratings are calculated through a stringent process utilizing statistics and the eye test called My Opinion and are most certainly incorrect.


Starters


Gianluigi Buffon - 7

Fair or not, it is my belief that Buffon gives the club a better sense of energy and defensive urgency under his direction between the posts than is seen when Szczesny starts at the 1. Buffon had a solid save on a direct shot in the 70’ by Napoli’s Fabian Ruiz. In an unfortunate turn of events, the Italian was unable to save the penalty kick from Lorenzo Insigne that was generously awarded following the no calls on inarguable penalties against the home club. Buffon contributed three saves, one punch, two saves from inside the box, five accurate long balls, and one clearance.


Danilo Luiz da Silva - 6.5

Reports of Danilo suffering an injury and being removed from the starting squad pre-match for the likes of Aaron Ramsey appear to have been premature. The Brazilian played the full match and gave a solid performance for a defense that held the Napoli attack scoreless outside of gift penalties from the FIGC. Danilo contributed one clearance, three interceptions, three ground duels won, two key passes, one accurate long ball, one big chance created, and two successful dribbles.


Matthijs De Ligt - 6.5

The defense as a group was able to have a quietly solid performance throughout the match and can be overlooked as so, but not to be forgotten the Dutch defender saved some late game heroics for the final minute of the match when he shut down a dangerous Napoli shot that could have potentially faltered into another gut wrenching draw. De Ligt contributed three clearances, one blocked shot, one tackle, two ground duels own, three accurate long balls, and one successful dribble.

Giorgio Chiellini - 6

The Italian captained a solid defensive performance for the club, but was victim of one questionable mistake. Chiellini was the subject of a horrifically poor penalty awarded to Napoli following contact with Osimhen with the Italian defender’s knee. Allowing Insigne to score Napoli’s only goal of the match on a penalty kick. Further exemplifying the farce that is FIGC refereeing. Chiellini contributed eight clearances, one blocked shot, one interception, one ground duel won, one aerial duel won, two accurate long balls, and one penalty committed.


Alex Sandro - 6

The Brazilian delivered a commendable performance, void of his typical one egregious error a match, while padding that stat sheet. Sandro contributed three clearances, one blocked shot, five interceptions, four tackles, five ground duels won, two aerial duels won, one accurate cross, five accurate long balls, and one successful dribble.


Juan Cuadrado - 6

The Colombian struggled to find an opening and deliver one of his patented laser accurate crosses for an assist, but bolstered a midfield that was serviceable to get the job one. Cuadrado had a solid shot on goal saved midway through the first half that would have helped double the lead for the home team. Cuadrado contributed two key passes, one accurate cross, four accurate long balls, one shot on target, one shot off target, two successful dribbles, five ground duels won, and one tackle.


Rodrigo Bentancur - 6

The Uruguayan helped set up Dybala’s return to form with the assist on the second scored goal of the match, sealing the victory for the Torino side. Bentancur contributed one assist, two key passes, four accurate long balls, one successful dribble, four ground duels won, one clearance, and one interception.


Adrien Rabiot - 6

The Frenchman returns to his role as my forgettable performance of the match. Not exactly bad, not exactly great, but watching as a whole I tend to forget he is even on the field. Though his stat line reflected a solid performance as a defensive midfielder, my preference remains to have Arthur in the starting role. Rabiot contributed one shot off target, five ground duels won, two aerial duels won, three clearances, one blocked shot, one interception, and four tackles.

Federico Chiesa - 7.5

The Italian youth is quickly cementing himself as the future face of the club going forward. The effort and hustle (yes, I am going to continue to drive into the ground the importance of ‘hustle’) that the 23 year old utilizes combined with his strength of field perception is allowing him to quickly outpace those his senior. Which was put on exhibit in the 13’ with a fantastic dribble and perfect ball to deliver the assist to Ronaldo for the opening score of the match. Not only was Chiesa a workhorse on the offensive end, but he was doing it all on defense as well, shutting down and cutting off attacks for the Napoli strikers when defenders were out of range. Build around this man going forward. Chiesa contributed one assist, one key pass, one accurate cross, two accurate long balls, one big chance created, two shots off target, one shot blocked, five successful dribbles, eleven ground duels won, one offsides, two clearances, one interception, and five tackles. Federico Chiesa was substituted off for Arthur Melo in the 80’.


Alvaro Morata - 5.5

Rumors of the Spaniard’s imminent departure following just one year on loan have begun circulating in recent weeks. Morata did little to help quell the talk with a performance that saw him do very little to help remind the club of his performances during the early months of the season. Morata’s own unselfishness does not help when he passed up a fairly open shot on goal to attempt to set up following attacks by Ronaldo and Chiesa. Morata contributed two blocked shots, two successful dribbles, two key passes, three ground duels won, and one aerial duel won. Alvaro Morata was substituted off for Paulo Dybala in the 69’.


Cristiano Ronaldo - 6.5

In what is becoming tradition for Juventus fans to watch, Ronaldo had the opportunity of all opportunities to score an easy goal in the opening minutes of the match and just squandered it away. Luckily for the Bianconeri faithful, the Portugese star was able to make good on the early mistake thanks to the fantastic foresight of Federico Chiesa to make the pass through the defense for an easy strike for a score in the 13’. Ronaldo contributed one goal, one shot on target, one shot off target, one successful dribble, one big chance missed, one key pass, one ground duel won, two aerial duels won, one offsides, one clearance, and one shot blocked.


Substitutions


Paulo Dybala (↔️ Alvaro Morata) - 7

Welcome back Paulo Dybala. Four minutes into Dybala’s return to the pitch following an extensive sidlining from injury recovery and an extra missed game for a hotly contested dinner party, the Argentinian delivered a gorgeous ball for the club’s second goal of the match. The


Weston McKennie (↔️ Juan Cuadrado) - N/A

Not enough information for rating


Arthur Melo (↔️ Federico Chiesa) - N/A

Not enough information for rating.



Coach

Andrea Pirlo - 6

Andrea Pirlo put together a solid victory for the club under the most pressure he has felt yet as a club manager, especially as the rumors swirled about a potential Allegri replacement should he have lost this match. My main critique remains that Weston McKennie and Arthur should remain in the starting lineup from the beginning. And if he can keep this up and stay healthy, an argument can be made that Paulo Dybala should be starting over Morata as well for the current time.



Follow Justin Soforo on Twitter @JustinSoforo


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