Inter’s draw away to Fiorentina was a piece of huge positive news for Juventus. Dušan Vlahović’s late equaliser saw Inter drop points, despite being a goal up for a big part of the game. And back in Turin, Maurizio Sarri’s men would be smiling, as their win over Udinese got them into the drivers’ position in the table.
While Inter remain top of the table, Juve are now only behind them on goal difference. That dropping of points from the Nerazzurri came at a crucial point for both sides. Inter face Atalanta and Napoli in two of the next three games. While Sarri’s Juventus have Roma and high-flying Cagliari in the same amount of time.
Juve also have Lazio to play in the Supercoppa Italiana, making sure that they do have a tough run of games coming up. In that sense, the Udinese win was a crucial one to get them back on track. Especially after the loss to the Biancocelesti.
But the win over the Udine side was hardly a surprise. Juventus did pick up a convincing 3-1 win, but Luca Gotti’s men are hardly a huge challenge. For a club that hasn’t had a permanent manager for more than a month, losing has become a habit in recent days.
Gotti was Sarri’s assistant manager at Chelsea. But had joined former Udinese boss Igor Tudor at the start of the season. Tudor couldn’t help his side climb out of relegation. The club took a 7-1 loss against Atalanta, taking a 4-0 loss to Roma some days later.
The loss to Juve meant that they’ve not won a single game in the last five outings. Their last win came in Gotti’s first match in-charge, beating Thiago Motta’s Genoa 3-1. It was only their fourth win of the whole campaign and they find themselves on 17th in Serie A.
The loss to Juve was a poor showing. It was a reflection of how without Rodrigo de Paul playing at his best, they couldn’t get control of the game. With De Paul being linked with a move away, it makes for a gloomy reading for Gotti’s men.
Because of that, Juve could stamp control in midfield. Adrien Rabiot played what was probably the best game of his Juventus stint so far. He won six tackles, making two interceptions as well. He had a passing percentage of 90 as well, showing how he is slowly improving.
Rodrigo Bentancur also did well. And the Uruguayan continued his rise to prominence. Playing as the deepest midfielder, he had a complete performance. He won two tackles, making one interception. He also completed 100 percent of his dribbles. He played a total of 111 passes, replacing Miralem Pjanic on a temporary basis very well.
After the game, Sarri did praise the side for the performance. He though, also felt that Juve did struggle when Udinese got the ball and played more passes.
He said: “I, therefore, thought this was a situation where we could afford to have them. As soon as Udinese starting passing it around more, we struggled, so it is a valuable option for us, but one we cannot use all the time.”
That has been a problem for the side this season under Sarri. But the win over Udinese was normalcy. It was a restoration of that. But the problems were still evident, as Sarri said. Cristiano Ronaldo’s two goals from open play were a huge positive.
But it won’t be a surprise that the same problems crop up for Juve. This could be a one-off, as tough games approach them.