The following is a Juventus Q&A session with Ghida (TheJuventina) ahead of the Bianconeri’s Champions League match against PSG. You can follow her here on Twitter.
How do you think we’ll play against a squad like that PSG side?
The PSG game, especially with it being in Paris, will be conservative for sure. Allegri’s Juve will play for a point and will depend mostly on counter attacks. Man-marking Messi and not giving him space to think would be a key point. Our midfield should be in its best shape to not be completely suffocated by the Parisians’ pressure and we have the quality to do that.
What do you think the outcome will be?
With a good performance from everyone, we should be able to achieve a draw, tightening the space for their lethal front three as much as possible. Our recent performances aren’t that assuring and I hope it would be different in the Champions League. Hence, I also think it could end up being a loss. Luckily this game, the toughest, will be out of the way early in the season so we can focus on collecting as many points as possible from the remaining games.
If we get comprehensively beaten in the first game v PSG do you think it could have a major negative impact on the rest of the group matches or do you think we would be able to recover on the basis that they (PSG) are clear favourites at present?
The quality difference between both squads is clearly evident and that’s no surprise, so it shouldn’t cause a negative shock for the team unless it’s a loss by a huge margin which absolutely shouldn’t be the case, no excuses. Directly picking up ourselves against Salernitana would get us back on track.
Is counter attacking the way to go vs PSG or do you see us actually having a decent amount of possession?
Leaving spaces to Neymar, Mbappe, and Messi would be suicide. Of course, the team should be conservative but only to a certain extent; We are Juventus and not some random small team, we should keep possession when possible to allow the team to breathe, and try building up to score. The mentality after conceding is a key factor too especially if it’s an early goal. The game is for 90 mins and anything can happen. It’s important not to collapse when we can have our chances, even though they might few and far between.
What would be your ideal XI and approach for that game, to not only stop their offensive trio but to also try to score & win?
Miretti deservedly can start against PSG. Age becomes unimportant when someone possesses such a talent and a good reading of the game. Watching his off-the-ball movement assured me that he’s among the best midfielders we have. Playing against the world’s best would give him great confidence too.
We saw how Locatelli is a bit slow in building up play when playing as a regista. With Paredes signing and his knowledge of PSG, it would give Locatelli more freedom going forward, which I think would allow him to express his qualities more as a Mezzala. It’s tight between him and Rabiot though, where the latter showed he and Miretti can compliment each other well.
Rabiot needs a creative midfielder next to him, because his better attributes are in a defensive aspect. However, the news reports are that he picked up a knock against Spezia so I wouldn’t rush him in such a game. Kostic needs to do better but I think he can contribute well in attack, especially feeding Vlahovic with crosses, where we will have more space in counterattacks especially.
The overall approach will be conservative but as I said, we are Juventus, anything can happen and aiming for a point or maybe more depends so much on the amount of concentration the team display. I would be happy with a point.
PSG 2-1 Juventus – I would gladly want my prediction to go wrong.
I just think our defensive line can individually be outclassed by arguably the best front 3 in the world right now. I would have liked to see a new fullback signing, but I guess we have to wait until January or later. It totally depends on the amount of concentration and the overall approach to the game.
If we can get a point out of Paris, can we qualify as the first group?
I think it would be possible, yes. With all due respect to Benfica, we have more quality in midfield and especially in attack, so I think 4-6 points are achievable against them, disregarding any surprises or being over-conservative against them. In the home game against PSG, we must aim to win. A draw wouldn’t be a negative result against PSG, but the team should please the fans with a good performance and result in the last group game at home. We have the quality to do so, especially that they might not be fielding their best XI if they have already qualified to the next round. As for the third opponent, we have a chance to see a win by a huge margin in both games.
How many points to you think we will gather through out the UCL group stage? Who do you think will be our MVP for the PSG-Juve game? Why?
I think we can gather 13 points in our group. (4W 1L 1D) with 1D and 1L vs PSG, or 11 points if we draw against Benfica away. We should be able to get positive results in Turin, (a win or a draw vs PSG at home can be considered positive) with the support of the curva and the fans. We have upgraded our squad and there’s no room for disappointments this season, especially at the group stage level.
I expect the MVP vs PSG to be a midfielder/ defender. I am counting on Bremer to impress.
Do you think Juventus’ performance against PSG will be like 2017 against Barcelona at Allianz stadium or like 2021 against Chelsea at Stamford bridge?
I think it wouldn’t be right to compare because each game has its own circumstances. Many names have changed too. But to me the 2021 Chelsea away game was one of the worst games I watched as a Juventus fan. Absolutely no determination, with chaotic play all game.
With the needed concentration from our defensive line, maybe it can remind us of the Camp Nou game when BBC stopped MSN for 180mins with a defensive masterclass. I sincerely hope for that, despite me thinking it would be a miracle not to concede against PSG’s trio.
Who will be the key attacking player for us against Paris in your opinion?
The key player would be Di Maria. He knows them too well and he can cause them problems. Technically he is our best player and the result would highly depend on his form, and of course the concentration of our defence. With the mentality of actually trying to keep the ball and push forward to score, we can shock PSG and that should give us even more confidence.
How many goals do you think Dusan Vlahovic will score in this campaign?
I am hoping for something between 6-8 goals in group stages, maybe 2 more goals depending on how far we go and the opponent. The third opponent in group stages barely made it to the UCL and Dusan can score more than twice against them home and away. I sincerely hope his goals can be decisive to us especially in the Benfica and PSG games. I have high hopes on Dusan this season, his mentality in UCL is unquestionable. With no surprise, he was the fastest debutant to score in UCL in the Villareal game. The management said something about him being at the center of our project. He has qualities and the determination of a top striker who can secure us many points this season and not just in UCL. I’m hoping with our upgraded midfield, we can see him more involved in the game and not just isolated as we saw early this season.