1. A potential redemption at Juventus for Federico Bernardeschi?
Federico Bernardeschi was an outcast under Andrea Pirlo. The situation was so serious that the former Juve midfielder didn’t hesitate to play him as a left-back. Under the management of Massimiliano Allegri, Bernardeschi’s position has bettered, with the Italian now enjoying regular minutes in Bianconeri colours.
Allegri has his favourites and it’s understood that Adrien Rabiot is one of them. The Frenchman, while available, has started almost every game for Juventus this season. Playing in the same position as he often does for Didier Deschamps’ France — down the left side of midfield, Rabiot has already earned 671 minutes of football (via Transfermarkt) this season amid one or two injury woes.
Despite starting the season well, Rabiot has recently experienced a dip in form. In the game against Hellas Verona in Serie A last weekend, he was utterly toothless (not literally, no punches were thrown). He offered nothing going forward and had the fewest number of touches on the ball among the Juve players. Allegri had enough of Rabiot and chose to bring him off in the 57th-minute of the game – just days after he was hooked at half-time in the Sassuolo defeat.
Against Zenit, Federico Bernardeschi lined up in Rabiot’s regular position. This was not his first time as the Italian has performed that role several times this term, but this was certainly his most complete display.
As per the stats from Sofascore, the 27-year-old completed seven key passes before coming off the field in the 80th-minute of the match. Furthermore, he had three shots on target and pocketed a wonderful assist for the goal scored by Federico Chiesa.
This sort of performance warrants a start at the weekend against Fiorentina. Rabiot has been under the microscope for a while. But due to Allegri not having an astute replacement at his disposal, Juventini have not made a fuss over the situation.
Rabiot, after coming onto the field for Bernardeschi in the second half, was partly culpable during Zenit’s second goal. If Federico Bernardeschi could consistently benefit down that left side of midfield, it would not be long before Rabiot finds himself on the periphery of Allegri’s Juventus.