In simple terms, the 2015 Champions League final between Barcelona (with Lionel Messi) and Juventus (with Carlos Tevez) should be described as astute defending against magical attack but it cannot be simplified into those words.
A final, especially in a prestigious tournament like the UEFA Champions League, is never that simple!
In the two Champions League matches that these two teams have played, Juve have won one – in extra time and the other was drawn 1-1 so history suggests that things will be very tight on Saturday at the Olympiastadion in Berlin but the deciding factor could be Messi, whom Juventus captain, Gianluigi Buffon, described as an alien playing with humans but they still stand a chance as football is not mathematics especially if they do this fine things as suggested by PREMIUM TIMES’ in-house analyst.
Allegri cannot afford three at the back (3-5-2)
Juve have been known to favour three defenders at the back with a packed midfield but with a potent front three of Barcelona, that call should be resisted. They will be better served with four at the back with Stephan Lichsteiner and Patrice Evra ensuring that their flanks are well guarded, as those are the favourite attacking positions of Neymar and Messi. It would be dangerous to deploy a midfielder to pick up any of Barca’s front three.
Arturo Vidal must maintain his position
Arturo Vidal is a renowned box-to-box midfielder but against Barcelona on Saturday, he must be told to hold a more central position at all times. Andrea Pirlo will not be able to handle the triangulating Barca attackers so Vidal and even Paul Pogba will be required to put in more than their shift to protect their defence line.
Can Barzagli adequately replace Chiellini?
Allegri knows that Juve without Giorgio Chiellini are a totally different defensive unit but the veteran defender has been sidelined with a calf problem and his replacement, Barzagli must ensure that his absence is not sorely felt at both ends of the pitch because Chiellini would surely have been a menace to the Barcelona rear guard at every set piece.
Will Messi be man-marked?
In the kings Cup final against Atletic Bilbao last Saturday, Messi had the freedom of the pitch in the first half but in the second, Bilbao chose to man-mark him and his destructive was a bit curtailed even though it can be argued that the game had been comfortable won in the first half. Massimiliano Allegri can choose to go this route even though it will create more problems for the team as they could be totally pulled out of shape.
How many chances will Juventus create?
The best route to goal apparently for the Bianconeri will be through the air so much so that every set piece in the Barcelona half of the pitch must be made to count. Andrea Pirlo must be at his delivering best if the Italian team is to stand any chance in this encounter.
And even though Chiellini will be absent, he told uefa.com, “I think we were more compact and better organised than Real and in the end we were rewarded for that.
“We were up against a team with great individuals [just like Barcelona] and we knew that. We were good at limiting their impact. We let our best attributes shine through, and in the end our organisation as a team made the difference.”
So really, it is about the Italian team being constantly organized and taking their chances when they come.
Did you know – While Messi, Neymar and Suarez have scored 25 goals, Tevez, Morata and Llorente have scored 12 goals!
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