Juan Cuadrado and Matthijs de Ligt were the ony positives as Juventus slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Atalanta at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday.
The game was off to a frantic start, becoming an end-to-end affair in no time, although the chances did not flow instantly. In fact, the first big chance of the game fell Atalanta’s way, only for Matteo Pessina to take one touch too many before shooting wide. Juventus came close to scoring around 10 minutes later when Federico Chiesa forced Rafael Toloi into a mistake, but Alvaro Morata failed to pounce.
Post the interval, it was more of the same from both the sides, with chances coming few and far between. That was until the 87th minute, when substitute Ruslan Malinoskyi produced a fine finish to grab all three points for Atalanta while Juventus have their top four hopes getting a massive blow. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Andrea Pirlo’s men.
Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10
Szczesny had precious little to do, with Atalanta failing to create clear-cut opportunities. Made just one save all game while standing no chance at saving Ruslan Malinovskyi’s effort. Completed most of his passes, enabling Juventus to play out from the back efficiently.
Juan Cuadrado: 7/10
As is the case usually, Cuadrado ran his socks off all through the game and was a constant outlet going down the right flank. Had more touches than any other player on the pitch and utilised the ball well too, playing a joint-game-high 3 key passes. Won a staggering 16 duels while also aiming a shot at goal. Unfortunate to be on the losing side.
Matthijs de Ligt: 7/10
A solid performance at the heart of the Juventus defence by de Ligt, who did not give Luis Muriel or Duvan Zapata an inch on the day. Continued to look solid even after the introduction of Josip Ilicic and won as many as 7 duels while also completing 3 blocks, 2 interceptions and 2 tackles. The best defender at Juventus at the moment.
Giorgio Chiellini: 6/10
Despite the availability of Leonardo Bonucci, it was Chiellini who got the nod to start alongside de Ligt. The Juventus captain did have his moments, including a big block on Josip Ilicic. However, he was also caught out of position at times and needed his partner to bail him out.
Alex Sandro: 5/10
Starting on the left side of the Juventus defence, Alex Sandro saw a lot of the ball but failed to make things happen with it. Did look reasonably solid defensively, winning 8 duels while making 4 clearances and 3 tackles, but he was also beaten for pace at times. Needs to be doing better.
Weston McKennie: 6/10
Back in the starting lineup, McKennie produced a purposeful display and looked to make things happen in and around the Atalanta box. Alas, his efforts were not backed by the right end product, which also meant he had a 69 percent passing rate. Cannot be faulted for a lack of effort, though.
Rodrigo Bentancur: 5/10
The midfield pairing of Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot was always going to come under scrutiny for their lack of creativity and that is exactly what happened against Atalanta. Did not help Juventus’ cause one bit going forward, but put in the hard yards off the ball, as ever, winning 4 duels.
Adrien Rabiot: 5/10
A sub-par performance by Rabiot, who, although he was all over the pitch to help out his side, did not really have the end product to make a difference on the day. Did work hard off the ball as always but failed to step up when it counted in the attacking phases.
Federico Chiesa: 6/10
As ever, Chiesa was a bundle of energy in the final third and on Sunday, he very nearly set Alvaro Morata up for a goal, as he harried an Atalanta defender into a mistake. Looked to push forward at every given opportunity before being the first player to be taken off. Pirlo will hope he is not injured considering his importance to the side.
Paulo Dybala: 5/10
Seemingly there was no Dybala either lol https://t.co/i1tMSwidbV
— M. (@MikhaeIII) April 18, 2021
Back in the starting lineup in the absence of the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, this was Dybala’s chance to impress. However, the Argentine squandered his opportunity after failing to make an impact. Did deliver 3 key passes, but there were sloppy moments on the ball otherwise. Has to step up.
Alvaro Morata: 5/10
Did not really find his way into the game all too often in the first half, but he should have done better when Chiesa won the ball for him inside the Atalanta box. That was as good as it got for the Spaniard, who did not manage to find a way to influence the proceedings, petering out dramatically.
On for Chiesa, Danilo saw a lot of the ball after being introduced, but did not really utilise it well. Did reasonably well in the defensive phases, winning each of the 3 ground duels he contested while winning 3 tackles. Needs to do better in the final third.
Dejan Kulusevksi: 6/10
On for Dybala, Kulusevski did not see a lot of the ball, but completed each of his attempted passes and even made a key pass. Could be in for a start next time out, if Ronaldo is not fit enough.
On for McKennie, Arthur barely made an impact in the final 15 minutes after being introduced.