Determining the truth behind ‘defensive team’ label for Juventus
Massimo Allegri’s disciplined approach to setting up his side has created an identity – in the eyes of some – that Juventus are a ‘defensive team’ which can be classified in a similar category to Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone and the old Chelsea outfit put together by Jose Mourinho.
The numbers certainly point towards Juventus being a team which takes pride in stopping the opposition more than finding the back of net since they were only Serie A’s third highest scorers last season despite finishing as champions.
Their total of 77 goals scored in the league was well behind the 90 and 94 which AS Roma and Napoli racked up respectively during the 2016/17 campaign.
However, the rest of the statistics highlight the benefit of conceding less frequently since the Old Lady completed the season with 91 points and a convincing 50+ in goal difference.
The Italian side’s record in the Champions League last term placed more focus on their defending, especially after keeping back-to-back clean sheets against Barcelona’s formidable frontline of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
But as anyone who watched the entire 180 minutes of that quarter-final tie might have noticed, it was an end-to-end affair littered with goal-scoring opportunities carved out by either side.
While it is appropriate to applaud the tactical organization of Allegri’s men and how well they react when without the ball, it would be misleading to label them as a team which knows nothing more than defending.
The tag of a ‘defensive team’ should be rather associated to a side with the playing style of the Chelsea team from the 2013/14 season which famously defeated Liverpool 2-0 with only four shots on target and 27% possession while facing 26 shots and 14 corners from the Reds.
Almost never under Allegri’s guidance have Juventus produced those sort of numbers at full-time and therefore, the notion that they are all about defending has to be reassessed.
Regardless of what the stats suggest, games involving Juve have presented lots of goalmouth action and that is of no surprise from a team spearheaded by a prolific attacking unit which features the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.
In fact, a more accurate term to describe Allegri’s side would be a ‘balanced team’ which pays adequate attention to keeping out the opposition as well as breaking down the opposition.
The Old Lady’s style of play is rather reminiscent of Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern Munich side which won the Champions League in 2013, incidentally after an emphatic win over Barcelona.
That team boasted enough firepower upfront to score when with the ball and enough backbone to repel most threats when possession was lost.
Balanced teams like Juventus win games without conceding too many goals but their business on the pitch goes well beyond that.http://www.mediareferee.com/2017/08/determining-the-truth-in-defensive-team-label-for-juventus/Post