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[av_heading heading=’Pjanic and Benatia’s Juventus: New roles, tactics and strategy vs Tottenham’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Emiliano Battazzi

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Juventus is one of the big players in the European transfer market. While waiting to see the last great coup, Higuain, along with Dani Alves and Pjaca, for the first time, Allegri had the chance to put two new additions in the line-up, Benatia and Pjanic, in the Australian friendly against Tottenham.

This curiosity was connected primarily to the use of the Bosnian midfielder. In order to get the best use of his available resources, Allegri decided to line up the team in a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Pjanic playing right attacking midfielder, at least in theory. In all actuality, Pjanic occupied a different position on the pitch, depending on the phases of play.

When it was Tottenham that initiated the play, Pereyra moved up on the pitch, to the same height as Dybala, in order to cover the two English centre-backs. Pjanic, on the other hand, moved into a central attacking midfielder position in order to cover reception by the centre midfielder (often Wanyama).
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In the first half, Juventus wanted to immediately block Tottenham deep build-up, also taking advantage of the Spurs’ two young centre backs’ difficulties. In order to stay compact vertically, Juve’s 4-man line accompanied the forward movement, setting up almost at midfield. Juve has never liked conceding deep space to their opposition, but in this case it was not a problem, thanks to the athletic skills of Benatia, a defender who prefers to defend higher up the pitch, always seeking to read his opponent’s passes ahead of time, or attacking the ball carrier.

Despite the centre forward, Janssen, trying to spread out the Juventus defence with constant attacking manoeuvres towards the depth, the 4-man line skilfully stayed far enough forward to guarantee the collective compactness of the team.
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On the other hand, when they build up play, Juve often chose to use Hernanes as the deep point of reference, sometimes struggling to move the ball forward. For this reason, Pjanic often dropped back all the way to his own penalty area (sometimes almost overlapping his Brazilian teammate) with a mechanism already used often during his time at Roma that could come in very handy for Allegri to clean up build up play in their half of the pitch.
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In offensive transition, Pjanic tends to spread out on his wing to empty out the centre of the pitch and allow Pereyra or even Dybala to move in. This is a strategy that allows the Bosnian midfielder to stand out in the third pass and to conceal his low sprinting speed.

Principles of play are important, but for Allegri they need to be adapted to the interpretive abilities of the players. The contributions of Benatia and Pjanic, beyond their individual qualities, allow Juve to discover new play mechanisms, reducing their predictability.
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Emiliano Battazzi
Born in Rome in 1984, economist, writes about Football and Tactics also on Il Legionario.
He’s editor in chief of L’Ultimo Uomo.
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