Massimiliano Allegri yes, Massimiliano Allegri not. Among Antonio Conte’s widows, the nostalgic for Delneri’s good times 😉 and irredentist of the Triad, the coach from Livorno to three quarters of the season is a step away from the title and in the race to grab the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Who is right, then? Allegri or his detractors? Could you do better or could you do worse?
The former coach of AC Milan and Cagliari arrived on the bench of a Juventus which in the previous three years had already built a strong personality. It has had the great merit of not wanting to change things, to begin from the excellent work done until then. Not only has replicated a tested module, the 3-5-2, but also a philosophy of play, one made of possession, of slow offensive transitions to pick up the team compact and, therefore, able then to bring pressure with quality. Indeed, Allegri has even radicalized these concepts eliminating verticalizations defense-attack and entrusting so the whole construction of the game on the slow circulation of the ball. Keep the ball to wear down the opponents flanks and to limit defensive situations. To increase the possession, Allegri has given absolute freedom of movement to Carlitos Tevez, who thus became the added midfielder, a reference for all; but, by acting a few feet back, he lost the chance to work on those played sets (triangulation) between the strikers of the typical game of Antonio Conte. Moreover, Allegri has always said he would focus more on the technical quality of the play, that of standard situations studied in training. The result is that Juve, on the offensive, is holding the ball more than last year, has a higher center of gravity, but maybe some ideas less when it is on the edge of the opponent half. Triangulations between the forwards are rusty, timing of insertion of the midfielders and the wingers are a bit less precise. In exchange, the pragmatism of the technician of Livorno has suggested an idea so simple and effective: Juve is always there at the edge of the area, so, because the spaces are closed, better shoot from outside; the result? an avalanche of goals from the distance.
Change of module, not a revolution
After the testing period, Juventus switched tactical module to 4-3-1-2. It is not a revolution, the concepts of the Juventus game remain similar. Pirlo is lowered on the line of defenders right to start the transition and, once carried on the ball, the team earns a player in the heart of the opponent midfield, always to increase circulation (and the quality of the pressure). From this point of view, the benefits are obvious. The defensive concepts, preventive markings, with a central defender that is detached to act as libero, remain the same. So balances are not affected, except for the little problem of some counterattack too, due to a lack of precision in the movements, with full-backs and midfielders who sometimes end up climbing together being cut out on the counterattack. But the real unresolved problem of the change of module is the key role of attacking playmaker; regardless of the choice of the interpreter, the biggest novelty introduced by Allegri is still in search of an technical-tactic identity: the movement of the ball, the trocar is stamped with the “finisher” Tevez; and in the entries, there is no clarity of tasks with the strikers, who should go to the center and who should make external cuts; also not seen rotations at compass in midfield, in order to offset the opponent median.
Only the results matter
The work already done by Massimiliano Allegri can not be evaluated on the basis of what has been done in previous years; there are too many continuity to disregard it. And the new Juventus coach has had the great merit of not wanting to make revolutions. The results are giving him reason, but can be seen in this new Juventus many little details that could be taken care more and better. In Italy, the results give reason to Allegri, regardless of the fact that the opponents of the Bianconeri are committing suicide. In Europe, paradoxically, the rougher aspects of the work of Allegri can be an advantage. And here you need a brief introduction: compared to the past, there is no radical quality leap (or as some like to say, mentality) in the Champions League. Moreover, one can not evaluate everything from a single tournament (knockout and mini-group): Who says that the Juventus of Conte was misfiring in Europe forgets that the year before the rejection with Galatasaray, had won the group with European champions and had surrendered only in the quarterfinals with the future winners. And besides, you can not forget that this year our qualification has remained in the balance until the last minute of the sixth game. But, regardless of how it goes with Borussia, a double benefit Allegri has: in Europe, when you face different football schools, especially when the strength of the opponent prevents you from doing your game, to make a real difference is the ability to adapt. And in the specific case of Juve, has an identity less marked, allowing to be more adaptable. Add to this the purchase of players like Morata and Pereyra, very fast, the new Juventus can finally feel comfortable even in situations with low center of gravity, using a tool until last year impractical: the counterattack.
adapted an article of Giulio Gori @ juventibus.com