Monday, December 22 nd, 2014
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Juve-Roma, the tactic face-off. Pogba vs Pjanić
The big match of Turin was full of individual duels yesterday; how did the two brilliant midfielders perform?
by Shaan Sengupta and Federico Formica
The Serie A big match was the opposite of the spectacular game everyone expected, and we have to thank referee Rocchi for that, who lost control on the match after a few minutes. The players had a nervous attitude and that prevented them from displaying the quality we are accustomed to. Juventus conceded the ball possession for the first time in this season (55%-44% in favour of Roma) but tried to bully the Giallorossi with fast open plays. La Vecchia Signora had more attempts but their conversion rate was very low (15%); Allegri's side scored two our of their three goals from set-pieces (penalties). Roma played more balls, made more passes (554 vs 435) trying to trigger Gervinho and Iturbe (it worked once and it led to Roma's second goal, for the momentary winner).


Paul Pogba
After a pretty average display this past mid-week against Atletico Madrid, Pogba was surely one of the players Bianconeri faithful everywhere would have been looking to, to put his stamp on this epic showdown. It was disappointing to see his most noteworthy moment in the match come in the form of a highly debatable penalty that he won for his team right before the end of the first half. Since Pogba is not known for going down easily too often, one can definitely make the case that Pjanic’s trailing foot did indeed trip up Pogba since he was in an awkward mid-stride position. However, the location of the foul was definitely questionable.

Nevertheless, the penalty was awarded and Tevez calmly converted it. Besides that, Pogba didn’t really have much of a hand in the way Juventus attacked. Part of it could be attributed to Pirlo’s return to action and him dictating most of the team’s movements from deep as well as in the attacking half. This left Pogba to operate mostly on the left flank and in advanced central positions. The graphic below indicates exactly this:


He definitely attracted a lot of attention though, and he did relieve some of the pressure from both Pirlo and Asamoah. Keita, Nainggolan and especially Manolas made sure Pogba had a limited role in influencing the proceedings and this also restricted his off-the-ball movements. This is also evidenced by his passing graphic: Green: Successful Red: Unsuccessful Yellow: Chances Created


Looking at the two graphics above, it is quite clear that while he did get into good positions, he was ultimately unable to do much after that. His passing also wasn’t up to his usual standards. Even though Pogba didn’t bring his A-game offensively, he handled his defensive duties fairly well. In a match that was marked by excessive extra-curricular activities by both sides and a referee who was too liberal with his cards, it was re-assuring to see the temperamental Pogba handle himself with poise.

Key stats:
Passing: 22 out of 29 (76%)
Chances Created: 2
Shots (On Target): 3(0).

Miralem Pjanić

The Juventus Stadium clash was definitely not a fitting one for Miralem Pjanić. Too many fouls, too many “extra-curricular” activities, as Shaan wrote above, for a calm and technically-skilled midfielder like the Bosnian. Pjanic's game will be remembered for his foul on Pogba (it seemed to be outside the penalty box) that led to Tevez's second goal from the penalty spot. But Roma's number 15 did something more yesterday, although he was far from playing one of his best games ever. With Nainggolan and Keita deployed as holding midfielders to prevent Juventus' runs, Pjanić was the regista of the Giallorossi and orchestrated the play from a deeper and more centered position than Pogba. He played more balls than the French number 6, but the vast majority of his passes didn't become goal chances.

Even though neither the Frenchman nor the Bosnian played a brilliant game, Pjanić's mark on the clash was less decisive, especially in Juventus' final third, as his crosses and passes near the 18-yard box always failed. His contribution in terms of aerial duels and tackles was almost null (but it must be said that these kind of plays are not in the style of Pjanic), although the Giallorosso made two good interceptions in a potential dangerous zone for Roma (the green diamonds) and three clearances just ahead of Skorupski. He created only one goal chance from the right flank, but in general his game was less effective compared to the standards.

Key stats:
Passing: 47 out of 55 (85%) 
Chances Created: 1
Shots (On Target): 1(0).


As we said earlier, the two opponents did not have a memorable afternoon yesterday. But we believe that the winner of the face-off is Paul Pogba, as his game was more effective. The presence of Andrea Pirlo beside him helped the Frenchman, that relieved him from the playmaker duties, allowing him to try more offensive runs.

Monday, October 6 th, 2014
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