Losing Cristiano Ronaldo has caused SERIOUS damage at Juventus… their attack is now toothless, the midfield a mess, and Wojciech Szczesny is in crisis – so how does Max Allegri fix it?
- Juventus slumped to a 1-0 defeat by Empoli in Serie A on Saturday evening
- They have only taken one point from their first two Serie matches this season
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure has caused problems that need to be addressed
- But there were already major problems with their side before Ronaldo’s exit
The new Juventus has the same old problems.
After a draw and a defeat in their first two Serie A matches, they already look destined for another stuttering domestic season. New manager Massimiliano Allegri has appeared to correct some of the team’s structural errors but to complete the work, in addition to further tactical changes, he will need some positive last-minute news from the transfer market.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure has opened a bleeding wound that risks creating many problems in a team that has lost 25 goals a year without finding a suitable replacement.
Moise Kean is a safe bet but it is unlikely that he will be able to guarantee a contribution of goals similar to that of Ronaldo and every choice made in the next few hours will be essential to try to cushion the blow of his farewell.
But after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Empoli, what are the on-field issues Allegri needs to address? Sportsmail’s ALVISE CAGNAZZO takes a closer look.
Juventus slumped to a 1-0 defeat by Empoli on Saturday and are yet to win in Serie A so far
Boss Massimiliano Allegri (left) and star defender Giorgio Chiellini have plenty to ponder
THE MIDFIELD IS A MESS
Particularly the defensive midfield area. Danilo has been tried there but is a right-back. Aaron Ramsey is a half-winger and injury-prone and neither of these two have shown the personality and quality to be able to play as a guard in front of the defence.
Juventus need a player suitable for that role, but they need new ideas as a solution to a very old problem. It’s 12 months after Miralem Pjanic’s departure and the team lost an excellent player in that area of the pitch – today, they even hope to bring the Bosnian midfielder back in the final days of the transfer market.
Rodrigo Bentancur is perhaps the biggest disappointment of the last Juventus transfer window. In the last 12 months his performances have been mediocre and he doesn’t seem to have the right personality to impose himself at a great level in a top club.
Aaron Ramsey is not the answer to the holding midfielder that Juventus need to find
The Italian giants have struggled ever since they lost Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona
Arthur, meanwhile, remains a midfield UFO considering his shin injury and a series of tactical amnesias that have not yet repaid the huge expense of Juventus made for him last summer.
Adrien Rabiot is another contender for that role but he has little grit and when there is a fight he disappears from the field.
All of this means the midfield at Juve is suffering and is unable to help the defence and support the attack. The impression is that new arrival Manuel Locatelli alone is not enough to close the holes in what, to date, is the weak department of Allegri’s team.
AN OUT-AND-OUT STRIKER
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus exit has helped financial matters but hindered the team
With the exception of Moise Kean, all the Juventus forwards are half-strikers. Even though the midfield has its issue, the department most difficult to manage is that of the attack because against Empoli it was the lack of goals that sent the team into a tailspin.
Juventus in these first two Serie A days are too emotional, the attack is not settled and the midfield never helps going forward. At present Juve have only Alvaro Morata as a central striker and Kaio Jorge has a muscle injury: too little for a team whose main objective is to win the championship.
Losing Ronaldo was the antidote to financial problems at the club but, make no mistake, it has caused serious tactical and technical damage to the team.
Despite the presence of Federico Chiesa and Paulo Dybala, who went at the end of the match under the Curva Sud to apologise, not even a goal arrived against little Empoli: the hope is that Kean immediately integrates into Allegri’s schemes.
THE SZCZESNY PROBLEM
Gianluigi Buffon’s farewell was not easy to overcome and the Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has continued in his negative spiral. After his disastrous performance at Euro 2020, he appears to be in an identity crisis that is very difficult to explain.
Allegri has chosen to continue to believe in him despite the once-mooted arrival of Gianluigi Donnarumma in Turin before he went to PSG. But again, Allegri has also chosen to focus on the Polish goalkeeper because of the economic problems of the club.
Against Empoli, Szczesny didn’t look comfortable in his area and missed two easy interventions. Rediscovering some confidence cannot happen quickly enough.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has struggled for confidence so far this season at Juve