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Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus is reborn: how the boss washes away Maurizio Sarri’s lethargy

Andrea Pirlo rebuilds Juventus by merging the philosophies of Antonio Conte and Louis van Gaal.

His first Juventus side, beating Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria 3-0 on the opening weekend of the new Serie A season, was cynical, aggressive and, above all, very attentive in defense.

Pirlo’s Juventus squad is so flexible that his team cannot be identified in one tactical system. And, like Conte, he doesn’t want to impose rigid rules on his players. The 3-5-2 quickly becomes 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 depending on the movements of the full backs.

Andrea Pirlo won his first game as Juventus head coach with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria

Andrea Pirlo won his first game as Juventus head coach with a 3-0 win over Sampdoria

Goals from Dejan Kulusevski, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo (left) gave Juventus the victory

Goals from Dejan Kulusevski, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo (left) gave Juventus the victory

Goals from Dejan Kulusevski, Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo (left) gave Juventus the victory

Pirlo chewed gum continuously throughout the 90 minutes of victory at Sampdoria and hugged all his players after the game – indicating a great environment found with a team looking to win its tenth consecutive Serie A title.

Juventus managed to shut off Sampdoria in the offensive third of the visitors – Ranieri’s team were unable to hit Wojciech Szczesny in the first 45 minutes of the game.

In addition, Pirlo received more responses from the team in 25 days than Maurizio Sarri in 12 months, confirming a major communication problem between the previous coaching staff and the Juve players.

ONE-ON-ONE DEFENSE AND A NEW ROLE FOR DANILO

After the game, Leonardo Bonucci praised Andrea Pirlo for the way he set up and managed the three-man defense.

“With Sarri we were much more on the defensive as a group, today we played more one-on-one,” said the central defender. “The pressure allows us to be more aggressive and recover a lot more balls.”

Leonardo Bonucci (right) said Pirlo's defensive stance is different from Maurizio Sarri's

Leonardo Bonucci (right) said Pirlo's defensive stance is different from Maurizio Sarri's

Leonardo Bonucci (right) said Pirlo’s defensive stance is different from Maurizio Sarri’s

In the absence of injured duo Matthijs De Ligt and Merih Demiral, Juventus revolutionized the defense by putting former Manchester City defender Danilo at the heart of the backline.

The Brazilian was very adept at managing the defense yet became a full defender in the offensive transitions.

Pirlo chose him because he likes to be a perfect support act to Bonucci – the true leader of a defense that seems safer and more alert under Pirlo.

Ex-Manchester City defender Danilo (left) started in a back three when Pirlo shook the pack

Ex-Manchester City defender Danilo (left) started in a back three when Pirlo shook the pack

Ex-Manchester City defender Danilo (left) started in a back three when Pirlo shook the pack

VERSATILE KULUSEVKSI

Dejan Kulusevski is the only player born after 2000 to have scored at least 11 goals in Serie A.

The Swedish midfielder, bought from Atalanta for £ 35 million earlier this year, scored Juventus’ first goal in the 2020-2021 season with an intelligent left-legged curler.

Pirlo designed a hybrid role for the 20-year-old who, despite being Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner, often played alongside Ramsey in midfield.

Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring in the first half after getting a roaming role

Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring in the first half after getting a roaming role

Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring in the first half after getting a roaming role

Pirlo praised the Sweden international in the post-game press conference, saying: “Kulusevski is a very intelligent player who finds the best space to play alone.”

Based on this intelligence and the great freedom that Pirlo grants him, the Swedish midfielder will be deployed as a key player in many tactical schemes with a variety of roles, most notably 3-5-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2- 3. -1.

NEW BOY MCKENNIE PLAYS LIKE GATTUSO AND DAVIDS

American midfielder Weston McKennie was the foremost man of Juventus’ midfield and showed great physical and tactical intensity.

McKennie chose No. 14, but he plays like a No. 8 classic in the way he runs and fights without ever stopping.

In Pirlo’s football philosophy, a ‘mezzala’ midfielder – a hard-working player – must be physically strong and guarantee support for the team’s other midfielders, most notably Adrien Rabiot.

New midfielder Weston McKennie (left) impressed on his debut and ran into confusion himself

New midfielder Weston McKennie (left) impressed on his debut and ran into confusion himself

New midfielder Weston McKennie (left) impressed on his debut and ran into confusion himself

The former Schalke man protected his French teammate and helped Juventus regain a lot of balls, making five tackles in the 90 minutes.

The American midfielder’s move is very reminiscent of the competitive brutality of Edgar Davids and Gennaro Gattuso.

His presence is considered essential by Pirlo, who chose McKennie over Rodrigo Bentancur and former Barcelona star Arthur on the bench.

LAUNCH OF ROOKIE FRABOTTA

Gianluca Frabotta, who made his debut under Sarri in the final game of the 2019/20 season against Roma, was brought in as a left back against Sampdoria, with Pirlo praising his post-game performance.

“Frabotta trained well and given Alex Sandro’s injury, I chose him,” said the new Juventus head coach. ‘He is a boy who trains very well and played a good game’.

Pirlo made the daring call to start rookie Gianluca Frabotta (above) as left back on Sunday

Pirlo made the daring call to start rookie Gianluca Frabotta (above) as left back on Sunday

Pirlo made the daring call to start rookie Gianluca Frabotta (above) as left back on Sunday

Pirlo is not afraid to take risks and during his Serie A debut he decided to entrust a very delicate role to a boy who played amateur Italian football just five years ago, leaving Mattia De Sciglio on the bench until the middle of the second half. .

Frabotta showed great maturity in difficult duels with Sampdoria players: it is unlikely that he will be dropped off for the next Serie A game against Roma based on this achievement.

RAMSEY REBORN

Aaron Ramsey appears to have rejuvenated under Andrea Pirlo and Juventus’ head of execution Paolo Bertelli.

Of the 90 tries he made against Sampdoria, 85 percent were successful – the former Arsenal man has played his best game since joining Juventus.

According to Opta, Ramsey made six clear chances in the opening game of the season in Serie A. Only twice had the Wales midfielder set this record with Arsenal – against Leicester in 2014 and Wolves in 2011.

Ex-Arsenal man Aaron Ramsey looks like a completely different player under Andrea Pirlo

Ex-Arsenal man Aaron Ramsey looks like a completely different player under Andrea Pirlo

Ex-Arsenal man Aaron Ramsey looks like a completely different player under Andrea Pirlo

Ramsey is now a midfield playmaker and found himself on the wing with Cristiano Ronaldo making different types of runs than under Sarri.

Speaking of Ramsey’s showing, Paolo Di Canio told Sky Sports: ‘Ramsey looked like the player he was at Arsenal. When he was fit he was great in one-on-one situations.

‘That Juventus team was more sterile, today I saw some ideas. We have to wait for more difficult challenges against different teams. Ramsey will determine Pirlo’s tactics. ‘

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