The manner of Juventus’ defeat in the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday night was akin to a Shakespearian tragedy.
While they had manifested a playing style that purists would brand “anti-football”, Juve showed plenty of guts to hold off the best team in the land for much of the contest. Considering the personnel Massimiliano Allegri had unavailable, a rebuilding Bianconeri can take plenty from the defeat, even if the contest shouldn’t serve as a blueprint moving forward.
3 takeaways from Juventus’ defeat in the Supercoppa Italiana
Nevertheless, there’s plenty to discuss in the aftermath and here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s Supercoppa Italiana.
Allegri’s impressive first-half plan
The fears of many Juventino were realised in the opening ten minutes as “the worst Juventus XI of all-time”, as some claimed, were overwhelmed by an Inter blitz.
The depleted Bianconeri were suffocated by the all-encompassing Nerazzurri, who went close through Lautaro Martinez and perhaps should’ve had a penalty for Giorgio Chiellini’s challenge on Nicolo Barella. Simone Inzaghi’s side were totally dominant.
However, Juve settled after 15 minutes and before Weston McKennie headed home the game’s opener, the contest had suddenly become competitive. Massimiliano Allegri deserves credit for overseeing a resurgence following Inter’s frenetic opening act. In possession, Juventus were fluid with a 3-1-6 configuration recognisable at times. When Manuel Locatelli dropped into defence, Adrien Rabiot became the sole pivot with width and depth provided by full-backs and forwards respectively.
This dynamic structure was infrequent, however, with Juve’s general configuration tough to depict with the ball. Still, while their build-up was nullified by a fierce Inter press, Juve had some success when they went long. Allegri’s side pinned Inter’s imperious back three by stretching the pitch vertically and horizontally, which meant there was space in transition for Juve should they bypass the initial press. There were times where Alvaro Morata and Dejan Kulusevski received in dangerous positions between the lines, but in the absence of Federico Chiesa, Juve didn’t have the personnel to provide a persistent threat in transition.
However, it was Juve’s work without the ball that was most impressive in the first half. Their structure was a 4-4-1-1 with Kulusevski deployed on Marcelo Brozovic for the most part. The Swede did a fine job in limiting the Croatian’s influence before half-time, as Juve’s press disrupted the Nerazzurri’s rhythm. The Bianconeri engaged high without pressing erroneously. They were measured without the ball and Inter genuinely struggled to build attacks from defence, as they usually do with such proficiency.
The plan distinctly altered after half-time as Juve’s backline perpetually deepened. They allowed Inter to dominate with successful counter-attacking moments rare and pressing sequences infrequent.