Juventus’ 2-0 victory over Udinese was a vintage Massimiliano Allegri-led triumph: functional, efficient and stout.
The Bianconeri didn’t have to get out of second gear to defeat their depleted visitors as goals from Paulo Dybala, who continued his rich vein of form against the Zebrette, and Weston McKennie (again) helped Juve to all three points.
Their victory, combined with Atalanta’s Sunday night draw with league leaders Inter Milan, means the margin between La Dea in fourth and the Old Lady in fifth is just one point. Although, Atalanta do have a game in hand over Juve. Still, Allegri’s side are within touching distance.
3 takeaways from Juventus’ 2-0 victory over Udinese
Saturday’s win was one will likely forget as the season progresses such was the dullness of Juve’s triumph. Nevertheless, here are three takeaways from the win that don’t include Paulo Dybala and his glare up to the Juventus hierarchy.
Allegri’s smart half-time switch
Despite Arthur Melo’s strong links with a move to Arsenal this month, Allegri hasn’t hesitated in using the metronomic midfielder when necessary at the start of 2022. After his game-changing arrival in the comeback victory over AS Roma, Arthur earned more minutes off the bench in the Supercoppa before finally earning a start on Saturday.
With Manuel Locatelli in need of a rest, the Brazilian’s services were required to offer the Italian some respite.
However, he could last only 45 minutes before he paved away for Locatelli. Now, this wasn’t a ‘hooking’ as such. In fact, it was a very wise move from Allegri. In the first half, Arthur produced a typically secure and occasionally progressive performance with the ball, while he was keen to work hard without it. The midfielder’s exuberance, though, proved his downfall as he made an unnecessary challenge out wide and was subsequently booked.
This forced the manager into action and, being the pragmatist that he is, he opted to take no chances and bring off Arthur at half-time. As we noted, this was a smart decision.
The dynamic of the contest meant Udinese were limited to moments in transition and having your holding midfielder, who leaves much to be desired when defending space, on a yellow card with Beto and Gerard Deulofeu running beyond him on the counter spelt danger. In a game that Juve were in command of, keeping Arthur on the pitch was a needless risk to take.
Locatelli arrived at the start of the second half to join the demonic Rodrigo Bentancur (team-high 30 pressures, seven tackles and three interceptions) and Weston McKennie in midfield. The Italian was disciplined at the base as Juve rarely had trouble defending the counter in the second period.