Serie A Observations: Juventus Quick Take Tactical Analysis

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This past weekend, Juventus squared up against fellow Serie A heavyweights, AC Milan, at San Siro for a much-anticipated clash of top-four hopefuls. Despite its potential, the match played out as a midseason stalemate, with players from both sides looking a little listless. But past the lack of goals (or shots on goal in the case of Juventus), the more measured pace of play offers one distinct advantage to viewers: a clear view of formational repositioning based on phase of play. In other words, a game model at work.

On paper, Juventus set up in a 4-4-2. However, Juventus’ shape only resembled a 4-4-2 when out of possession. With the ball, Juventus adapted to the area of the pitch and opposition pressure. In the defensive third, the center backs would split, utilizing the goalkeeper as an additional passing option and allowing the full-backs and wide midfielders to push forward, like a 2-4-4. During this phase, the second striker frequently drops deep to offer a combination option out of pressure. In doing so, the striker looks to find their fullback or central midfielder in space, providing a release from pressure and facilitating ball carrying from the defensive to the mid/attacking third. As part of this transition, Juventus would move as pictured above: left midfielder to forward position, right midfielder to right wing, left back to left wing, striker remains advanced, and second striker roams in playmaker role. These movements result in a final formation in the attacking third of 2-3-5 or 3-2-5 (depending on positioning of the other full-back). 

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After studying these transitional movements, two key takeaways are clear. First, when managers make player selections they should be in the context of their projected model. At its core, these tactics are built on players leaning into their strengths. Fielding two defensively-minded wide midfielders would be nonsensical in a system like this, that demands they offer an attacking threat. Secondly, a football team’s “lineup” remains an analytical oversimplification of the way they play. The average positions of Juventus could have easily been characterized as a 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 3-5-2, etc. In fact, many teams in the world will adopt these same attacking positions regardless of published formation, placing players in a manner that meets their unique philosophy, style of play, game model and game-plan. To truly understand a side’s predispositions, a game model incorporating phases and areas of play offers a far more accurate and comprehensive view than where they stand at kickoff.

So there it is! A quick-take tactical analysis from Jeremy Barnes on Juventus’ tactical set-up, and how their game model influences what they do in different thirds. Be sure to check out more of our Serie A analyses, and follow on social media @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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Premier League Transfer Tax (Part 2)

After examining fourteen Premier League sides, we are getting closer to the truth. Bundesliga Tax may very well be a real thing. Whether it’s the nature of players signing from the league in comparison to others, or simply something wrong with their ability to adapt, players coming over from Germany’s top flight have ranked consistently lower than players arriving from other leagues. Our data illustrates player performance on a range of statistical categories in and out of possession, whilst aiming to utilize our Role Continuity System in establishing important traits and characteristics specific to a player’s role.

Premier League Transfer Tax (Part 1)

It’s easy to use the eye test and conclude that players like Jadon Sancho and Timo Werner haven’t lived up to the hype. In a recent video, Tifo Football suggested that this phenomenon doesn’t just apply to Bundesliga clubs, but a range of leagues around the world. So with that, we aim to use data from the 2021-22 season to determine whether or not ‘Bundesliga Tax’ is a real phenomenon, and what leagues Premier League clubs should prioritize in sending their scouts to this summer. Here is our analysis of what we’re dubbing ‘EPL Transfer Tax’. In Part 1, we examine the top seven sides in the league based on points during the 2021-22 campaign, drawing conclusions around the business that ‘Top 7’ clubs conducted prior to the start of last season. In turn, this could inform decision making ahead of the 2022-23 season, and potentially the wider future at hand.

Why Dusan Vlahovic is perfect for Juventus

Toward the end of the January transfer window, Juventus swept in with a big money move for Dusan Vlahovic, finally securing themselves a Cristiano Ronaldo replacement. The big Serb has made a name for himself in Serie A with his stunning run of goal-scoring form, bagging 38 goals in 58 matches for Fiorentina across the past two seasons. But Vlahovic doesn’t just offer a team goals, and that is precisely why Juventus worked so hard to secure his signature at the end of January, for a hefty €82 million fee. Here is why Dusan Vlahovic is perfect for The Old Lady, and an adequate replacement for one of the game’s all time greats.

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