Juventus narrowly defeated Tottenham by a scoreline of 2-1 at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground with two goals in the first half of the match.
The two teams faced off only for the second time in their entire history in an attempt to get their squads fit and ready for the coming season. It was Juventus who came out on top at the Melbourne Cricket Ground defeating the Spurs by two goals to one. The match, however, proved to be good preparation for both the teams. We take a look at some of the talking points of the game:
1. New signings Medhi Benatia and Miralem Pjanic look good for Juventus
Medhi Benatia joined the Serie A champions on loan from Bayern Munich whereas Pjanic chose to swap fellow Serie A club AS Roma for the Bianconeri. The two looked good in their first outing in a Juventus shirt and both the players combined well for the club’s second goal. Pjanic found an unmarked Medhi Benatia in the 16th minute of the game. The former AS Roma player took command of the midfield and ran the show for Juventus in this game.
2. Daniele Rugani stakes his first-team claims
Juventus have the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci commanding the starting roles in defence. However, youngster Daniele Rugani has bolstered his chances of being involved in the first-team setup at Turin after seeing some substantial game-time with his performance against Tottenham. The defender was impressive and consistent throughout the game, albeit this being only a friendly. Rugani’s rise could mitigate Allegri’s concerns of lack of quality in the central defence, in case Leonardo Bonucci decides to leave. The youngster has been linked with a move to Arsenal but the Bianconeri would be eager to hold on to their exciting prospect.
3. Erik Lamela continues on his path to redemption at Tottenham
Erik Lamela was bought by Tottenham for a sum of €30m which at the time seemed justified for a player who was named among the hottest young properties in the football world. The winger has since flattered to deceive, and was found wanting in most games for Spurs. However, Mauricio Pochettino seems to have reinvigorated the Argentine by playing him through the centre as a number 10, rather than out wide. The move already paid its dividends with Lamela being one of the key figures in the club’s third-placed finish in the Premier League last season. The 24-year-old seems to have started on the right foot ahead of the start of the new season.
Tottenham were poor throughout the first half and Pochettino decided to bring Lamela on at the beginning of the second half. The playmaker scored Spurs’ only goal and generally looked the liveliest player on the field. Pochettino would be hoping his fellow countryman can start delivering consistent performances for the club in the near future.
4. New Tottenham boy Victor Wanyama is a steel in the midfield
Victor Wanyama completed his transfer from Southampton joining his former manager at White Hart Lane. The midfielder is known for his physical prowess in the centre of the pitch and showed why the manager decided to buy him. Tottenham have often lacked an enforcer in the midfield and even though Ryan Mason has performed his duties admirably in the past, Wanyama looks like a massive upgrade on the Englishman.
The Kenyan was a constant thorn in the midfield for Juventus players despite the loss. He capped off his display with an assist for Erik Lamela after displacing Juventus midfielder Hernanes off the ball. It may be too early to call, but Wanyama looks to be a great addition to the youthful squad at Tottenham and will provide some much needed steel in the midfield.
5. Paulo Dybala is world-class
The Juventus striker opened the scoring in the match after just 6 minutes into the game and could’ve easily added more to his name. Dybala was recently reported to have rejected advances from Barcelona in favour of Juventus and the Bianconeri would be feeling grateful the Argentine chose to stay at the club. The 22-year-old was a constant threat to Tottenham’s goal. Even though Tottenham’s defence appeared to be in shambles in the first half, the credit to a large extent goes to Dybala who made the Spurs defenders look so with this well-timed runs and off-the-ball movement.