A depleted Juventus side got off to the worst possible start as they suffered a shocking 1-0 defeat at the hands of Udinese at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. Udinese pulled off a perfect Italian job on the reigning Italian champions as their French striker Cyril Th r au scored in the 78th minute for the . Zebrette with their first and only shot on target in the match.
The defeat shattered the Old Ladya s unbeaten streak of 46 matches at home and also saw them suffer their first ever opening day home defeat in Serie A.
As expected, Allegri deployed a 3-5-2 formation with Martin Caceres making way for Giorgio Chiellini who returned to fitness, to take up his place in the Juventus back three. The midfield five comprised of Padoin, Pogba and Perreyra, with Evra and Lichtsteiner occupying the wing back positions. 19 year old French striker Kingsley Coman started up front alongside new signing Mario Mandzukic.
Juventus started off brightly and threatened the Udinese goal in the opening exchanges with Mandzukic, coming close to scoring. Despite having 65% possession and dominating play in the middle of the park, Juventus were unable to penetrate a well-organized Udinese defence with centre-back Danilo and goalkeeper Karnezis catching the eye. Juventus made all 3 substitutions in the second half bringing in Paulo Dybala, Fernando Llorente and Mauricio Isla, but were still unable to score past Karnezis.
Then the inevitable happened. At the end of an Udinese counter attack, Th r au latched onto a perfectly weighted cross from Kone and shot past Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to send the travelling fans into delirium.
Here are the three things we learnt from the match.
Juventus Missed Pirloa s artistry, Marchisioa s assurance and Vidala s drive in midfield
The Juventus midfield was the driving force behind its successful double winning campaign last season. The injury to Claudio Marchisio and the departures of Vidal and Pogba have left the Juventus midfield hollow, with Pogba, Padoin and Perreyra unable to provide the necessary drive and artistry in midfield.
Juventus missed the assured presence of Claudio Marchisio in midfield as they struggled to penetrate the well-oiled Udinese defensive machine. Marchisio suffered a muscle injury in training, a week ago and will only return after the International break in September.
Simon Padoin, who started in the heart of midfield for Juventus, struggled to dictate the tempo of the play in front of him. Perreyra and Pogba were lively, but lacked coordination and failed to link up well with the front two.
Juventus need to fill the gap left by Vidal and Pirlo in midfield soon, if they are to replicate their performances from last season.
Mandzukic-Coman partnership upfront lacks creativity and balance
Despite dominating 65% of the possession, Juventus failed to pose any real danger to Karnezia s goal as they mustered a mere 5 shots on target. A large part of the blame for the shocking defeat suffered by Juventus has to be shouldered by the strikers Mario Mandzukic and Kingsley Coman.
Mandzukic, in particular, was very rusty in front of goal and failed to bank on 2-3 good opportunities presented to him during the course of the match. 19 year old Coman had a reasonable game, but could not provide the necessary spark in attack.
Without the dynamic presence of Carlos Tevez (who left the club) and Alvaro Morata (injured) upfront, Juventus put up a rather lacklustre attack as both Mandzukic and Coman were unable to fruitfully link up with their midfield and failed to complement each othera s play.
Paulo Dybala, Juventusa new a 32m signing, came on in the second half and infused dynamism in the teama s play. With Simone Zaza on the bench and the impending return of Morata after his injury, Allegri will have the option to shake things up in attack. He will most certainly need to do so if Juventus are to retain their Serie A crown.
New-look Udinese have the necessary resilience to thrive in Serie A this season
Udinese put on a virtuoso defensive display to stun Italian champions Juventus in Turin on Sunday. Despite pressure in the final minutes of the match, their backline held firm and came away with all 3 points from the Juventus stadium.
The Udinese defence was ably supported by its midfield, tirelessly tracking back and providing cover to its full backs.
There were a lot of standout performers for the club including goalkeeper Karnezis, midfielders Bruno Fernandes & Ali Adnan and the match winner Cyril Thereau. Substitutes Duvan Zapata and Panagiatos Kone also impressed for the Zebrette, the latter delivering the pin point cross for Thereaua s winner.
The Udinese players displayed the necessary grit and resilience that is required to thrive in the Italian Serie A.
After finishing a disappointing 16th in the league last season, Udinese underwent a complete overhaul of their squad. Under new manager Stefano Colantuono, Udinese will be looking to significantly improve upon their dismal 16th place finish from last season and vie for a place in the Europa League.