After the defeat in the Champions League with Benfica, one has to seriously ask: but the 3-5-2 indicated by Paolo Di Canio as the most suitable system for this Juve in difficulty, is it really the solution of the solutions, or at least the most pragmatic one? I would say neither one nor the other, given that in the two matches played in the cup, the bianconeri conceded the goals they conceded in this way. Evidently it is not enough to add an extra central to defend better or, worse, to find oneself, the defensive spirit of the elusive Juventus DNA. It is also not just a matter of the game system. Don’t get me wrong here: I don’t want to slip into easy psychology as is usually done after these premises. It’s not like the players don’t have mental energy or anything like that. Di Maria’s attitude has nothing to do with her smiling with her former teammates at the end of the race, instead of going under the curve to ‘put her face on it’ in compliance with a painful and humiliating ritual that ‘should’ be followed in these cases. No. There are concrete tactical contradictions in the interpretation of Juventus 3-5-2. Punctual events that systematically generate problems on the pitch when facing a certain type of opponent. These are things that can be seen and touched, it has nothing to do with the smoky and pre-packaged interiority, showing contrite at the end of the race and saying the magic formula ‘now shut up and work’. In this article, I will examine only two rather significant dynamics, which alone break the 3-5-2 cliché as the most solid and pragmatic module of all.
THE FIFTHS AND THE THREE BEHIND – Compared to the super passive (and unsuccessful) interpretation of the first half in Paris, the 3-5-2 with which Juve started the match against Benfica seemed much more ambitious, even if no less manipulable. The team initially pressed higher with the fifths, supported behind by the work of their respective arms. On the one hand, the Cuadrado-Bremer chain.
On the other, Kostic-Danilo.
In theory there was a ‘leg’ on both sides to be able to tackle this kind of exits and climbs, but in fact what often happened was this: a hole for the man between the lines who found a lot of space available.
This because there is a contradiction between the behavior and nature of the fifths and arms in question and Bonucci’s classic ‘escapes’ (see above). Or rather, not wanting to (or being able to) play one-on-one with all the defenders (Allegri’s probable delivery). But if Bremer experiences uncertainties from time to time, it is because he experiences a contradiction between his advances, his impetuosity, and the systematic retreat of his new teammate, who in doubt always runs for the door. Consequently, the holes are not created behind, but in front of the defensive line and teams that dribble like Benfica, those holes know how to exploit them. With the return of Alex Sandro, wanting to keep this three-way game system, however atypical, an all-Brazilian trio, much more dynamic and aggressive, and with Bremer finally at the center, in the role in which he played in Turin, would be much more functional. But this is only one of the possible alternatives.
PAREDES DOES FILTER OR NOT? – Another contradiction that generates imbalances concerns the central axis. Let’s focus on for a moment Paredes: but does it guarantee a filter or not in front of the defense? Sometimes, as in the images seen above, you may get the impression of finding it ‘out of position’. What does this fact depend on? In part always from Bonucci’s escapes, in part not. Paredes, like Bremer, still has his brain set on certain principles. They are neuronal circuits, there is little to do. Now, Pochettino’s PSG certainly didn’t play like Juric’s Bull, but it is true that both of these coaches always ask to defend forward (with the necessary differences, of course). Therefore Paredes instinctively leaves every now and then, enters re-aggression mode and then is surprised if his companions do not follow him. And in a more rigid context like that of Allegri’s Juve, situations like these are created.
Cuadrado loses the ball looking for the penalty (by the way, are we sure that the Colombian is still as suitable as Di Canio claims for this type of role?), I said, Cuadrado, the fifth, loses the ball, then you can see Paredes leaving. It is the low summit of 3-5-2. If you go out like this you have to be supported or at least sure to get there first, otherwise you have a bad ride. Here is an example of what ‘bad running’ means.
It is that in PSG he was used to acting in this way together with teammates who thought like him. Here, however, she is the victim of a young bull. The bloodiest consequence, however, we find in the continuation of the action: it is the hole that is created in midfield.
These are scenes from the first half, in full 3-5-2, when Di Maria had not yet entered to ‘unbalance’ the team. If behind you do not accept numerical parity (in this case in transition), space the opponents find it in front of the line. Look in the middle as Miretti is crucified. All to always have three power plants on the two attackers, and in the end lose badly anyway …