It was a night to regret for the millions of Juventini as Juventus were handed a sobering defeat by Messi and Co. at the Camp Nou. As the bianconeri lick their wounds on the flight back to Turin, lets take a look at five takeaways from their upsetting defeat in Catalonia.
1. The Juventus Medical Staff will Play a Crucial Role this Season
The list of Juve’s injured players at the start of the season is quite amazing. Chiellini, Pjaca, Mandzukic, Khedira, Howedes have all been unavailable for quite some time now. With the exception of Pjaca, all of the players listed are starters. As we saw yesterday at the Camp Nou, Juventus’ bench was clearly not good enough to compete with Barcelona’s starting line up. In addition, roughly 30 minutes into the game Juventus added another injury to their list with De Sciglio requesting a substitution after lunging in for a tackle.
Medical update on @mattia_desci.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 13, 2017
While I am sure the Medical Staff at Juventus do the most they can, it just impossible for Juventus to have any success this season if 5 players in their starting 11 remain injured. With Chiellini, Mandzukic, and Howedes returing to training, it is imperative that the Juventus medical staff do their best to keep them healthy and fit for the remainder of the season.
2. Juve’s Reputable Defense is Aging
The historic trio of Bonucci, Barzagli, and Chiellini have made the name “Juventus” synonymous with “clean-sheet”. However, with the departure of Leonardo Bonucci; Chiellini and Barzagli have been left to salvage the remains of the former stonewall defense. Such a tremendous task may be too much to ask, as the two great defenders approach their retirement.
— UEFA EURO (@UEFAEURO) June 28, 2016
With injury’s to Chiellini and newly acquired Benedikt Howedes, Juventus was forced to rely on Benatia and Barzagli in the face of one of the most deadly striking partnerships; Messi and Suarez. While the defense did hold well initially, De Sciglio’s injury was the final nail in the coffin for the Bianconeri as Messi exposed Barzagli right before the half, netting his first goal against Gianluigi Buffon.
In order for Juventus to have continued success in the Champions League they must look to expedite the development of their young defenders Daniele Rugani and Mattia Caldara. With numerous injury’s plaguing the Bianconeri defense it could be possible that Mattia Caldara is prematurely recalled from his loan at Atalanta.
3. Cuadrado’s Suspension Makes no Sense
In addition to Juve’s Injury dilemma, Cuadrado was forced to miss the Champions League opener due to a suspension obtained during last seasons champions league final. While the suspension itself was highly questionable the more important issue is why it must be served into the new champions league campaign. It would be understandable if Cuadrado had done something grave like bite another player however he simply walked past a flopping Sergio Ramos.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 12, 2017
Cuadrado’s absence yesterday severely hindered Juve’s chances of getting a result against Barcelona. With injuries limiting the roster, Allegri was forced to play newly acquired Rodrigo Bentacur; a player who has never played in a major European competition.
4. Juventus’ Midfield is a Work in Progress
The midfield remains an issue for Juventus as it was clearly exposed yesterday against the Blaugrana. Former PSG man Blaise Matuidi, awkwardly bounced around the midfield like a french pinball. Towards the later stages of the game Matuidi and Pjanic were just not able to make the tackles necessary to maintain control of the game. As a result, Barcelona managed the game from then on scoring two goals with relative ease.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) September 12, 2017
While there remain flashes of promise, the Juventus midfield will need to improve from last night if they wish to contend with Europe’s elite clubs. Players such as Matuidi, Pjanic and Khedira are great but their age is showing. I fully expect Juventus to make big moves in the transfer market come January, as they will undoubtedly have a young box to box midfielder on their shopping list.
5. Messi Messi Messi
The Bianconeri played very well early on but the almost divine talent that is Messi truly won this game. Messi may as well be a footballing messiah as he made Max Allegri’s line up look like young disciples of a lower order. From Juventus’ perspective there is not much you can do but admire the Argentine’s ability to change a game in an instant. This being said the Bianconeri will have to come up with a way to isolate Messi when they face Barcelona again in Turin, otherwise they risk complete embarrassment on Italian soil.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 13, 2017
Keep Calm and “Fino Alla Fine”…
One of the inadvertent consequences of these early clashes is that many of us become prisoners of the moment. After yesterday’s defeat fans and pundits have been quick to portray Juventus as a crumbling dynasty. While there are certainly areas for concern, Juventus could never have won this game with the majority of their key starters being injured. This being said, while Juventus may not win their group this year they still look comfortably poised to advance to the UEFA Champions League knockout stage. Returning the the UEFA Champions League Final however, will require a tremendous improvement from last night.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) September 12, 2017
Juventus will return to Serie A action as they face Sassuolo away from home on Sep.17 at 6:30 AM ET