What we Learned Juve vs Genoa
Coming off another rollercoaster week it was yet again another fixture on the calendar for Juve to continue on the vital path towards champions league qualification. The win vs Napoli hopefully has kickstarted a return to focus, a resurgence of sorts to answer at least some of the questions as we look ahead towards next season. A win today has continued a good path and we saw good things from some players we hadn't heard from in weeks. While Genoa did try to get into the game in the second half this game was largely Juve. A quick start and up 2-0 before no time and a passive rest of game to ensure the victory.
This game allowed us to finally get something from our players that had gone invisible in the last few weeks. In the first instance, we get Kulusevski who I have criticized heavily for his immense lack of performances at key stretches this season. Today, although I do not think he had a phenomenal game overall, he did show flashes of his potential. Culminating a beautiful play between himself and Cuadrado, Kulusevski curled in a beauty. Exactly what he is known for and why we bought him in the first place. If we could get this more consistently it would be very much appreciated. Again, he has this potential and we have seen this many times before. Hopefully, he regains his confidence so we can enjoy more moments like today. A constant link-up like that throughout the course of a season could be vital, especially if Cuadrado makes those overlapping runs on the flank, therefore allowing him space to dance around the defenders with those signature skill moves.
This game was also a good opportunity for Morata and the forwards to get some work together, they managed a few goals and left much hanging without capitalizing. Morata thankfully hit the mark following a double rebound pounce in the box. He is another player that is hungry for goals, a simple yet efficient finish, but also a pretty quiet game otherwise. Ronaldo likewise struggled to get anything going today. His frustration when he doesn't score of course is palpable, but this energy, this frustration at missing chances always serves for good. It seems like Pirlo is fixed on the Kulusevski, Ronaldo, Morata trio for now. He is definitely looking to get the most out of him, keeping Kulusevski and Morata as starters despite the Dybala buzz from midweek.
While for the most part, this game consisted in a fairly quiet game from midfield, it is clear that Chiesa continues to be the driving force. I constantly struggle to name a position for him because he is so versatile and flexible with his constant movements and change of wings. Chiesa once again demonstrated his signature run down the middle, his run and steal at midfield led to the opportunity for the second goal. While he did not score, the chance was there. This has occurred on a frequent basis, where he sprints, intercepts, and leads a cavalry driving down the field for a dominant counter. Before the game, he received his award for player of the month for March, and well deserved it is. While Rabiot and Bentancour did little if anything to be relevant in this game, it seemed as a time like Chiesa was often playing like a box-to-box midfielder, putting in tackles left and right, all while being a pivotal part of the attack. He is the true ‘energizer bunny’ on this team.
The defense today played their part in keeping Genoa out of dangerous positions for most of the game. Nevertheless, a careless error by De Ligt on Genoa’s only goal seemed to open up the floodgates. I do think De Ligt goes down fairly easily after he loses his marker. Thankfully it came to none, however time and time again we have seen little errors like that cost us big time. While that moment didn't largely come back to haunt us, it serves again as a reminder of the constant inconsistency we have seen between the center-backs multiple times this season, especially in dead ball situations. To be fair at least Danilo and Cuadrado had decent performances today to paper a bit over the cracks. Danilo was asked to switch sides from left to right in this game, something which he seamlessly did today much to his credit. He also provided a beautiful through ball for Mckennie’s goal, with the American seemingly shocked at his opening, but putting the ball in the back of the net with a slick finish. One pattern that I am increasingly worried about is the trend for mostly Cuadrado and Alex Sandro to get reckless and easy yellow cards. I do not know the reasoning for their actions, but it must stop. In a long and grueling season, we do not know the circumstances that may come up. Injuries, suspensions, etc, therefore it is important to have all necessary players available. So I definitely understand Pirlo for taking off Cuadrado early in the second, even if it is an unpopular position, I deeply understand his reasoning in doing so.