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Lazio v Juventus match preview

Despite the handsome scoreline resulting from our visit to Hungary – to face CL group whipping boys Ferencvaros – the performance left a lot to be desired. Plenty of chances were spurned, a distinct lack of cohesion squad wide and the victory felt like it came more due to a gulf in quality between the sides than from any clear progress of the system Pirlo is implementing.

I tend to judge a system and manager on how many players are performing regularly near their optimum. Whilst the season remains young and the availability of the squad has been volatile, by now we should have an idea of progress.

My current observations lean towards concerns that the system is not working very well, as not many players are regularly performing near their best. Ronaldo and Morata are faring well. Frabrotta has also been consistently impressive. Also Danilo shows consistency in solid form. The rest however, are very inconsistent. Which suggests that the system is not yet near to bringing out the best of our collected parts.

Ramsey has looked superb at times, but is struggling with fitness yet again. Kulu has looked the great talent we know he is, when given the chance to play near his natural position of RWF or SS. Chiesa is operating as a LW/LM and helping to unsettle defences yet this is not the role he has often excelled in for Fiorentina, its the opposite flank and less focused on the final third.

Mckennie has shown promise, and is perhaps more useful as an AM (at least in this system) than as the box to box role the player himself has expressed is his best position.

Dybala remains out of sorts, which is probably connected to his changed role, as he is moved further from goal, which everyone is aware is detrimental to his output. Yet he may also be struggling with fitness issues and just taking more time than we had hoped to move through the gears.

Still, time for deeper and more valuable analysis can come closer to the end of the year. Looming larger on the horizon presently is a visit the capital to face Lazio who have been in decent form of late and will provide a tough test of our credentials.

After their stuttering start to the campaign the last six matches has seen them make progress and find a rhythm>

I am always hungry for this kind of game. A tricky opponent who have caused us a lot of bother in recent bouts. The opportunity to test ourselves against the best sides in the league and in Europe is the only true barometer of our progress.

Rumours abound of Pirlo trialling a trident attacking unit of Ronaldo – Morata with Dybala behind them. Given Ronaldo is happiest roaming in the left channel high up the field, Morata is a more constant up top centrally, I worry to consider Dybala as a trequartista tasked with connecting the midfield and attack. However, I believe he needs playing time to burst into life so will take whatever he is offered.

Its a tough call in midfield, given the only two showing any sign of consistency are Ramsey and Mckennie – both of whom seem best fit into the TQ position. I am not sold on the double pivot and changing defensive structure with wide forwards often tasked with dropping deep or playing on the opposite side to their natural game.

The above is a muddle of the usual suspects offerings to the predicted selection of the first XI. It is certainly not what I would play, and for once I will offer my own ideas of how we should set the side up to start looking to get the best of our talents.

We have the width from the fullbacks (would be happier to see Frabrotta in place of Danilo, though the Brazilian has been our most steady back line player). Mckennie playing box to box through the middle. Dybala tucking in high, not tasked with dropping deep. With Kulu his natural replacement – yet he can also come on for Morata. Chiesa can enter the fray also for Dybala or Ronaldo.

Enough for now…I am nursing a sore rear end after a deep dive into the smirnoff led to a tumble into the damn pit-fire of all possible landing zones and have blistered cheeks alongside burned through threads! These heavy work days of 14 hour focus on reactivating the City are taking their toll. I will hope that Juve can bring me some welcome respite and reason to smile…

forza juve

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