LA DEA DOWN OLD LADY!

On the back of a humiliating drubbing midweek, Juventus returned to Serie A action against Atalanta. However, they had already made headlines off the pitch with their headquarters being raided for financial irregularities in past transfer dealings.

It was an even start, neither team getting too exposed at the back or too adventurous in attack over the first 20 minutes. The best chance fell to Federico Chiesa, running in behind the Atalanta defence. However, Rafael Toloi got back superbly to deny  the attacker a shot at goal.

 

But it was Duvan Zapata who broke the deadlock, who found enough time and space to finish off a superb through ball from Berat Djimsiti. Juventus got their defensive plans all wrong and were made to pay for it. Max Allegri’s side were still not out of first gear, looking disjointed going forward and not creating anything too dangerous. The away side held their lead into halftime and rarely looked troubled after the goal.

 

Things got worse for the Old Lady as Chiesa had to be taken off due to injury with his namesake Bernardeschi on after the break. No surprise that it was Gian Piero Gasperini’s men who were looking the more threatening in the early parts. Weston McKennie found himself outrunning Djimsiti, before the defender poked a pass back to Juan Musso who saved on his knees.

 

The ball was recycled to Paulo Dybala who blazed his strike over. Adrian Rabiot tested Musso, who had to tip the ball behind for a corner. Meanwhile, McKennie was also injured and had to be substituted after his antics. As the clock ticked down, it was all Juventus going forward, keeping up the pressure. Atalanta had to scramble clear a dangerous corner but they were dropping deeper, allowing the Old Lady to have more of the ball.

 

The game got very fractitious towards the end, with many stoppages due to fouls from both side. Juventus were getting increasingly frustrated while Atalanta were doing well to hold on. Dybala had the best chance in the dying moments, but his free-kick from the edge of the box clipped the top of the crossbar. That was that as Atalanta grabbed a well deserving win.

Here are the three key takeaways from the match:

 

OLD LADY STUMBLES AGAIN

It has not been a great week for Juventus, as consecutive defeats mean they are still short of where they want to be under Allegri. Fans would have expected to see a reaction at home but the team was extremely lacklustre for most parts. Zapata’s goal was nothing less than they deserved and it could have been worse if not for some last ditch challenges from the defenders.

 

On the attacking front, things were not too better but they did create some chances in the second half. The injury to Chiesa robbed Juventus of a critical asset for 45 minutes, and the introduction of Moise Kean did not improve matters as well. They fall down to 8th on the table, seven points behind their opponents now.

 

LA DEA GET THE WIN

It became Atalanta’s first win over the Old Lady away from home since 1989, and nobody could say that they did not shade the overall game. Their attacking players were much more coordinated and probing for more than an hour. Though the finishing was a bit wayward at times, the frequency with which they got forward was commendable. The defence was extremely alert at all times, given the intelligent tracking back from Toloi and Djimsiti to sniff out Juventus’ best chances. Gasperini’s side cement their position in the final Champions League spot which they are well valued for.

 

INJURY CONCERNS FOR ALLEGRI

Apart from another damaging loss, the two most critical points from a future perspective became the injury-forced substitutions of Chiesa and McKennie. The former was their most dangerous player in the first half, regularly running at the Atalanta backline while McKennie has been enjoying a good run of form. The American was passing well and looking for teammates to attack with but it was one of those runs that spelled his end. It remains to be seen how long they stay out but its two huge absences.

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