The 1-0 scorelines have spurred a difference between ecstasy and despondency for the Juventus devotees as of late.
The sequence of rescuing 1-0 wins initiated with a hard-fought victory against Chelsea last month. While the scoreboard remained the same, opponents and venues went on to change, with Juventus reaping the fruits of the same fate against Torino, Roma and Zenit.
Other than the scoreline, what stayed the same, more distinctly in the last two games for Juventus, was how the Old Lady got the decisive goal. Have you caught the connection we are trying to raise here? Of course, Mattia De Sciglio appeared to be the point of difference in both instances.
It could be an exaggeration, but De Sciglio and his gorgeous right-foot have been major factors in Juve’s domestic upturn and perfect start to their Champions League campaign.
Nobody foreshadowed such a resurgence from the Italian – other than Massimiliano Allegri, of course.
Has De Sciglio been so crucial for Juventus of late?
It was Allegri, who chose to rest Alex Sandro and gave Mattia De Sciglio a run at the left-back against AS Roma at the weekend. His decision was an inspired one.
In the 16th-minute of the game, De Sciglio was found at his designated left-back spot but in a more advanced position. Fairly unattended by fellow Romans, the former AC Milan prodigy decided to use his instep to deliver an inswinging cross into the box. That one cross changed the destiny of the whole game.
De Sciglio’s delivery found the head of Rodrigo Bentancur. The Uruguayan could do nothing more but head the ball with pure venom and see it take a deflection off the back of Moise Kean’s head before beating Rui Patrício, the Roma custodian on the night. Unfortunately, De Sciglio didn’t get the assist for the goal. But, with that one glimpse of brilliance, the full-back extended the magnitude of the expectation of him.
On Wednesday, De Sciglio made Allegri’s starting line-up for the fourth time this season. On the contrary, he was a right-back this time, filling in for Danilo, who was supposedly too exhausted to start the game following his recent exploits with Brazil. Defensively, De Sciglio made us give up our seats in awe just once when he chased down the bulky Artem Dzyuba and retrieved ball possession from what could’ve potentially been a dangerous situation.
Offensively, he was not making any progress down the right. In the second half, Allegri did it again, taking the best decision of the night by substituting Alex Sandro off the field and allotting the left-back position to De Sciglio.
Another awe-inspiring moment arrived as late as 86th-minute in the game, with De Sciglio’s right-footed cross making ample contact with the head of Dejan Kulusevski before travelling into the net guarded by a monumental Stanislav Kritsyuk. This time, there was no Moise Kean to deny the full-back his deserving assist as De Sciglio got his first of the 2021/22 season.
What are Juventus planning on offering in return?
According to a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Juventus are considering offering a new contract renewal to two of their valued assets, including Mattia De Sciglio, with the Milano-born full-back’s current contract with Juve running out in June 2022.
The other one is Federico Bernardeschi. But that is a story for another day. It is not as if Juventus have started pondering upon giving De Sciglio a new contract renewal offer after witnessing the full-back’s performances lately. But De Sciglio’s bright form has only helped the case.
The general feeling around the Turin-based club is that the recently-turned 29-year-old won’t say no to a new contract from Juventus. It’s thought that his long-term stay at Juventus could be beneficial for the club’s troubled finances amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The club and the entourage of the player seem positive about reaching an agreement if a dialogue over a contract renewal kicks off between the parties sooner rather than later. But the real question remains.
Does his recent form justify a renewal?
Following a dull spell with Juventus, De Sciglio left Turin to move to France and join Lyon on a season-long loan in the summer of 2020. After one year, he returned to the Old Lady. Had he improved a bit? We didn’t know. Did he show any sign that his return could inflict a collective development at Juve? Even if he did, we were unaware.
The local newspapers had already labelled him as an “outcast” and Juventini were rather hoping for a new arrival, perhaps in the form of a Robin Gosens. And if it was not for Max Allegri, who showed immense faith in De Sciglio and was adamant to keep the full-back at his disposal, the Old Lady might not have found a winner against Roma and Zenit at all.
Encircled by numerous limitations posed by the pandemic, Juve could only dream of shelling out massive amounts of money on Gosens or players of his ilk while Alex Sandro remained on their books. Perhaps Allegri took the wise decision to keep faith in De Sciglio, who could come in handy on both flanks.
Thanks to De Sciglio, the full-back positions at Juventus is now crammed with bodies, with Allegri putting Juan Cuadrado in a more advanced position on the right to accommodate Danilo. Luca Pellegrini, on the other hand, is still a budding prospect. And in the middle of all the maturity and adolescence, there lies Mattia De Sciglio covering everyone’s back like a faithful comrade.