On paper, Juventus’ Champions League tie isn’t as stiff as that of Liverpool or Manchester City. Lyon may not be as daunting a challenge as Atletico Madrid or Real Madrid. But the French giants will always pose a threat. Ask Man City themselves, they’ll tell Juventus about it.
The situation Juventus are in, they have a struggling midfield. Maurizio Sarri’s tenure was meant to take a while to settle in. The club’s midfield and players are slowly getting to grips with the technical style- something they’ve hardly played before. But Lyon would offer a challenge, considering how unimpressive the Juve midfield can be.
A key part of the midfield has been Houssem Aouar. The midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to Juve themselves recently and they could witness his might themselves.
What Aouar brings to the plate is dynamism- something the Juve midfield lack. He’s got technical ability and a burst of some pace as well. He is known to be a very complete midfielder and perhaps, they is why Juve would want him.
In Ligue 1 this season, Aouar has made 22 appearances for Lyon. The club did start with a 4-3-3 shape under Sylvinho in the beginning but under Rudi Garcia, they usually play the same shape or the 4-2-3-1. Aouar is usually the number eight- the player who links up the midfield and attack.
He has won a single tackle per game this season, coming up with 0.6 interceptions per game too. That isn’t exactly his strength. He completes 2.8 dribbles and has a tally of one key pass per game for the club. This season, he has completed 43.8 passes per game with the accuracy of 85.7 percent.
Last season saw him score seven goals and get seven assists. His attacking numbers were the same but he won 1.7 tackles per game- more than he has this season. In the 2017-18 season, that number stood at 2.1. And it shows that he can be a tackler too, apart from being a creator and a dribbler.
Back in 2018, Pep Guardiola was the one to praise Aouar for his abilities. The Spaniard told Sky Sports: “Houssem Aouar is a very good player. He is incredible.
“We talk a lot about (Tanguy) Ndombele, but Aouar is also excellent. He’s always very calm with the ball at his feet, with an excellent technical quality.
That is the sort dynamism that Juve currently lack and struggle against. Sarri’s system usually begs for players like Aouar- those who can pick passes and open up defences using their technical ability and verticality. But Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira haven’t done that job.
Rodrigo Bentancur has grown into the role, grabbing six assists so far. While Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot have struggled with fitness. This has led to the club not doing enough in midfield to create, giving the impression of it being more like a Massimiliano Allegri midfield.
Aouar can be the fixer of their issues in the future- if and whether they sign him. But in mid-week on Wednesday, he can be the man who makes Lyon tick and troubles Juve on a consistent basis. It will be ironical, but that is how some things are meant to be if Juve want to learn a lesson.