Tonight Juventus will take on Barcelona, Europe’s hottest team this season, in the champions league final, having not tasted European cup success since 1996. Despite coming into the game off the back of a league cup double, and 4 successive serie A title wins, they enter the match as underdogs, thanks to the dynamic for of Barca’s dynamic fron three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. However with the correct shape discipline and organisaton, I have no doubt Italy’s top club can finish the night as treble winners. So with out further ado here is how I think Juventus should approach the game.
Goal keeper: Buffon
One of the greatest goalies of his generation, Buffon is a world cup winner and a veteran of this Juventus team. He is a proven safe pair of hands and has the experience to ensure he won’t cock it up on the big stage.
Right back: Caceres
A full back who will play with the mentality of a centre back is exactly what Juventus need today, and it’s also exactly the type of player Caceres is. As a natural centre back who is comfortable in right back, Caceres will sit fairly deep with his centre backs and left back, only venturing forward on occasion. This tactic, if carried out with discipline, will allow Juventus to outnumber Barcelona’s front three,therefore denying them the time, space, and attacking options that they need in order to hit there stride and play the fast, flowing football that has ripped defences to shreds thi season.
Centre Backs: Barzagli and Bonuci
With Chiellini inured Juventus have arguably lost their best centre back for the game. However Barzagli and Bonuci still have it in them to form a great pairing which could stop Barcelona. Barzagli is a disciplined and experienced centre back and a good reader of the game. His job will be to organise the defence and make sure everyone sticks to their position and job within the team. Provided he turns up on the night he shouldn’t be fooled by any of the Barca front three’s tricks and flicks and will be the most important player in making sure no one else does either. Bonucci may not be as gifted a defender as Barzagli, but may be equally as important today. He is stronger than any of Barcelona’s attackers and his physical approach to the game (i.e. his tough tackling and comitting of small, clever fouls) could prove vital in stopping Messi, Neymar and Suarez from gathering any sort of rhythm. He may also be capable of rattling Neymar and Suarez, who may find themselves overwhelmed having both never played in a match of this magnitude before.
Left Back: Patrice Evra
Evra is perfectly suited to this match. He has won the champions league before, and played in four previous finals, two of them against Barcelona. He knows exactly what to expect from tonight’s game and can be relied upon to stay calm and do the job he needs to do.
Defensive midfield: Andrea Pirlo
While not the perfect player to protect the back for from a defensive point of view, Pirlo could just prove the star of the show tonights, especially as ,with industrious centre mids in front of him, there shouldn’t be too much defensive pressure on him. Pirlo is a big game player, as proved by his masterful form at euro 2012, and seems evergreen with age. We know Barcelona will probably dominate possesion today, so Juventus will have to be effective on the ball when they have possesion of it (if they are to score the goals they need to win the match). Pirlo in this role will allow them to do just that. With his brilliant vision and range of passing, he can dictate the tempo of Juventus’ game with ease and set them off on the key counter attacks, which are likely what their goals will come from.
Centre mids: Vidal and Marchsio
Both of these teams have incredibly strong midfieds and that is where tonight’s game will be won and lost. Vidal and Marchisio and two of the worlds finest box to box midfielders and today they must show that. Their role is to pressure Barcelona’s midfield on the ball, while the rest of the team track runs and cut off passing options, therefore not allowing them to dominate the game with their tiki taka, then, when Juve gain possesion, to break away with the forwards and add energy, class and numbers to their counter attacks. They will be the most key players in this match.
Attacking mid: Pogba
This the much hyped young man’s chance to show what he’s really made of. Pogba has great technique and on the ball ability. Ontop of this no one in the Barca team can match his combined pace, strength and athleticism. Therefore, if Pogba can harness all the tools at his disposal and prove his ability in the big game, he could obliterate Barcelona’s questionable defence today. If he performs to the best of his ability he will prove impossible to handle and could be the match winner for Juvetus.
A wasp like presence (and another former champions league winner) Tevez will be a thorn in the side of the Barcelona defenders today. Barcelona’s back four is probably their biggest weakness, and if they lose concentration for just one second today, Tevez will be on them, and with his pace, energy, class and experience, you can expect him to punish them.
Proved in the semis he could deliver in big games, and a Real Madrid academy graduate who knows what it means to play against Barcelona, he could prove the fox in the box Juventus need to win today
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