The Day After Breakdown: Sampdoria 0-2 Juventus
Torino, January 31st, 2021 – In Saturday night’s convincing win against Sampdoria, Juventus played with great intent and controlled the match with ease (notably in the first half). The Old Lady got on the score sheet early on due to a beautifully worked team effort, leaving Sampdoria stretching their heads – and it seemed the chances just kept on coming. Although one could argue that it was yet another game that could have been sealed off much earlier, it appeared that Juventus had a strong hold on the match.
Count on Chiellini
In what has been a shaky season so far for Juventus, Chiellini brings a sense of stability into this Juventus side. With a combination of getting stuck into challenges, throwing his body in front of the ball to block a shot, and even some offside-trap trickery on the Sampdoria forwards – Giorgio clearly still has much left to offer. I can only imagine how safe the team would feel with both Chiellini and De Ligt leading from us the back.
Even at 36 years of age, our captain Giorgio Chiellini has shown no signs of dropping in quality when fully fit. Chiellini himself has said recently, “I don’t get tired of winning – however, I am slowly becoming tired of playing games.” While our captain has hinted that his age could be catching up to him, he sure does a great job of showing everyone otherwise on the pitch. What a hypocrite.
Arthur is the sprinkle of quality this midfield needed
It has been quite some time since I have seen someone control the middle of the pitch for Juve just as Arthur does. The Brazilian is constantly trying to be an outlet for his team, avoiding the press of the opposition, and often has his head up – looking for that forward pass. When Arthur is in possession, it quite literally seems impossible to take him off the ball – with the exception of fouling him. Upon finding his feet, Arthur has proved himself to be a key piece to the Bianconeri.
Arthur has also brought the best out of his teammates, notably Rodrigo Bentancur. Rodri has immense quality up the pitch, and previously could not showcase that aspect of his game due to his surrounding cast. As he can often be rash into challenges when defending, Arthur alleviates a portion of Bentancur’s defensive duties. Following the game, Bentancur even commented on Arthur’s game: “Arthur with the ball on his feet – mamma mia! The only player that I’ve seen with such skill is Iniesta.” Interpret that as you may – but do not underestimate this Juventus midfield.
Juve played with purpose
This is the Juventus team that everyone expects. On Saturday night, the Bianconeri played with control and clear intention to defend their title. Every single player in black and white stripes seemed eager to be on the ball as much as possible, and when off the ball, the work rate remained the same – creating space for one another, and giving passing options. The aspect of ‘team unity’ (an aspect you’d expect within a quality team) and a sense of urgency, is something that was sorely missed in the Sarri-ball era. Juventus imposing themselves and playing as the defending champions that they are, has been extremely refreshing to watch.
Many were quick to count Juventus out of the title race following their horrifying loss to Fiorentina, yet the team has bounced back with conviction. The last few matches have sent a clear message to the other teams in the league – Juventus are not going to be overlooked in the slightest. The last 9 years of success was no fluke, and it is evident that Juventus are gunning for a decade of dominance.