I wasn’t quite sure how to react to Juventus’ 1-1 draw with Napoli on Thursday night.
While many were understandably frustrated considering the visitors’ availability woes, I think much of the deprecation was a little bit over the top. Sure, the Bianconeri weren’t free-flowing in attack and much of their good work wasn’t sustained, but there were positives.
This was arguably one of their better performances against decent opposition this term, which, admittedly, is indicative of how poor the Bianconeri were in the first half of 2021/22.
Nevertheless, we’ve already outlined the few silver linings from Thursday’s draw and now it’s time to cross the optimistic/pessimistic divide. Alas, here are three negatives from the 1-1 stalemate with Napoli.
Disconnect in the final third
Many are rightly questioning Max Allegri’s tactical aptitude in 2022, but Juve’s primary issue on Thursday night wasn’t of his doing. Allegri’s a coach that hands his forwards plenty of freedom in the attacking third. There aren’t systemised methods of chance creation, with off the cuff brilliance encouraged.
Against Napoli, Juve found themselves in some wonderful situations on the counter-attack but they were rarely able to execute. It was the minor details that compromised their ability to transition with any efficiency. When the electric Federico Chiesa received the ball in space, he wasn’t aided by the runs of Alvaro Morata, who was culpable of disrupting several moves.
The forward struggled in this one, with his ability as a back-to-goal striker coming under scrutiny once more.
Considering some of the positions they worked, Juve should’ve mustered a much higher xG than their eventual tally of 1.08 (Napoli’s was 0.88). Poor execution with the final pass ensured they were limited to mere half-chances. Arguably, their best opportunity came after four minutes when Weston McKennie headed wide from a corner.
They desperately lacked the incision and innovation of Paulo Dybala during periods of sustained pressure, and it was clear that the Argentine wasn’t fully fit when he came off the bench with 25 minutes remaining. This disconnect in the attacking third has been an issue all season, with Allegri’s laissez-faire approach to his side’s work in the final third failing to facilitate the requisite returns this term.