2. Partnering Paulo Dybala in 4-4-2
While Vlahović has primarily functioned as a lone striker in his senior career thus far and in a 4-3-3 under Vincenzo Italiano, Allegri’s default shape has been a 4-4-2 this season.
This configuration has been almost ubiquitous, but it does alter somewhat in possession. Overall, the functions of players in the 4-4-2 don’t differ dramatically from the 4-2-3-1. The aim is to create a shape that resembles a 3-1-5-1 or 3-2-5 in possession. Should one of the pivot midfielders drop into the backline when Juve have the ball, both full-backs are licenced to get forward and create a 3-1-5-1 with the wide players joining Dybala between the lines.
Earlier on in the season, Juve would create an asymmetrical structure (3-2-5) in possession with one full-back advancing and the other shifting infield to create a back three. Danilo, who has only just returned from a two-month injury lay-off, was crucial in this structure and his absence is why we haven’t seen much of it since mid-November.
Nevertheless, should Allegri utilise the 4-4-2, Vlahović’s function will resemble Morata’s. The Serb will be tasked with merely holding the ball up, playing with his back to goal and bringing others into play. He must be decisive in transition and it’s crucial that he has runners ahead of him. That’s what makes Juan Cuadrado’s inclusion imperative. The Colombian’s their only outlet in Chiesa’s absence!