Stop Ruslan Malinovskyi from shooting!
Ruslan Malinovskyi may not be on course to match his 20 Serie A goal contributions from last season, but he and his fearsome left boot have been a thorn in the Old Lady as of late.
The Ukrainian international has scored five times in the league so far this season but for the third consecutive campaign, he’s handily outperforming his xG. Since 2019/20, Malinovskyi has scored 21 Serie A goals but he was expected to net less than 14. Simply put, the midfielder scores goals that he shouldn’t and Juventini know that all too well.
Malinovskyi has scored three times against the Bianconeri, including twice last season, and the 28-year-old’s threat from distance can’t be overlooked. Now, I’m not suggesting that Juve need to man-mark the Ukrainian, but they must be more aggressive in their defensive block. Atalanta are expected to enjoy periods of sustained pressure and dominate territory, especially if Juve go ahead, meaning that the Bianconeri must be diligent throughout. Passivity in the block undermines Allegri’s entire ploy and they’ve been guilty of this on several occasions this season.
It was only on Thursday when we saw Sassuolo’s Hamed Traore wriggle his way into Juventus’ box almost uncontested before finishing wonderfully beyond Mattia Perin.
Malinovskyi, as he’s done in recent meetings, will make Juve pay for a lack of pressure on the ball. The visitors can’t grant the Ukrainian time and space to unleash a rocket from the edge of the area.