Another month is in the books of the 2021/22 season with Juventus’ woes perpetuating into December.
November started and concluded brightly for Massimiliano Allegri’s Bianconeri, but defeats against Chelsea and Atalanta somewhat undermined their four victories. The 4-0 thumping at the hands of the European champions was chastening and it cost Juve a potential first-place finish in their Champions League group.
The uninspiring 1-0 loss to Atalanta, meanwhile, extended La Dea’s advantage over Juve in Serie A. Despite claiming victory away at a bad Salernitana outfit on the final day of the month, the Old Lady sit seventh in Serie A, seven points adrift of the top four and 12 off league leaders Napoli.
The conclusion of November means only one thing here at Old Juve; it’s time to award our fourth Player of the Month award of the season. Paulo Dybala and Matthijs de Ligt (twice) have both got their hands on the award this term, but whose performances garnered victory this time around?
Let’s take a look!
3rd. Manuel Locatelli (Average Rating – 6.83)
It hasn’t been plain sailing for Manuel Locatelli since arriving from Sassuolo in the summer. Following an impressive Euros campaign having excelled under Roberto De Zerbi, the elegant Italian midfielder was expected to immediately transform a poor Juventus midfield.
In time, there’s no doubting he will, but he’s had to learn a new trade in Turin and the transition’s been tricky to a deeper-lying position. Still, Locatelli’s been good without setting the world alight and in the defeats to Chelsea and Atalanta, he was in a different class compared to some of his overwhelmed teammates. He held his own in the face of intense pressure.
Then, to round off the month, Locatelli produced what was perhaps his best performance in Bianconeri colours away at Salernitana. His 8.5 rating that night boosted his average for November up to a 6.83, helping him claim third-spot in this month’s award.
2nd. Weston McKennie (Average Rating – 7.2)
Written off by many following an indifferent start to the season, Weston McKennie hushed the hasty critics with a superb November.
The American had shown signs of life towards the end of October, as he scored in the defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona. Although he didn’t continue his goalscoring run this month, his performances spoke for themselves.
In an often turgid, one-paced Bianconeri side, McKennie offered a spark from midfield. He’s proving himself to be an incredibly intelligent footballer, whose movement causes problems for every defensive block. Like Locatelli, McKennie was one of very few who didn’t disgrace themself in the humbling at the Bridge, while he was Juve’s best performer in the defeat to Atalanta.
A knee injury meant he missed the final outing of the month, but his return is expected relatively soon.
1st. Paulo Dybala (Average Rating – 7.375)
Paulo Dybala: now two-time Old Juve Player of the Month!
The Argentine’s November began and ended with a pair of attacking exhibitions in which he was the lead protagonist in Juventus’ two most dynamic performances of the campaign. Against Zenit, he and Federico Chiesa dazzled in a 4-2 victory as we awarded La Joya a perfect 10 for his masterclass.
A minor injury ruled him out for the win at Lazio before he was only fit enough for minutes off the bench in west London. However, after returning to the starting XI with minimal impact against Atalanta, Dybala manifested his brilliance during the 2-0 win in Salerno.
Thus, for the most part, this was a frustrating month for Juve’s superstar, but two magical displays helped him towards the November Player of the Month award.