Monday, December 29 th, 2014
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Milan-Juve, the tactic face-off. Carlos Tevez vs Jeremy Menez
The Frenchman always drifted far from Juventus defence, while Tevez played an all-round match, tracking back to defend the lead after his decisive goal
by Shaan Sengupta
Juventus secured three points in the first big match of the 2014-2015 Serie A. Actually, the Bianconeri showed a clear superiority, although Allegri's side and Milan had the same points in the table (6). Through our new feature, the tactic face-off, we'll analyse the performance of two protagonists of the game, the Frenchman Jeremy Menez and the Argentinian Carlos Tevez. Both had a convincing beginning of the season as Menez scored three and Tevez one (before San Siro clash) and a double in Champions League. Let's see who won the tactic duel.

VIDEO: Llorente shows his dribbling skills / Tevez and Pogba link up for Juve's winner

Jeremy Menez. Menez was coming off an incredible performance against Parma where he scored a brace, including a candidate for the goal of the season. An integral part of Pippo Inzaghi’s high-tempo side, the Frenchman was expected to be one of the few key threats in Milan’s attack. However, this was a clear step-up in competition. The Juventus midfield and defense was quick to close down on Menez and his teammates, restricting them to 40% possession, with almost 85% of that being in Milan’s own half or the middle third.



The graphic above shows how Menez spent approximately 2/3rds of the match in the middle of the pitch and within that third, saw most of the action in the defensive half. The few times he got near or inside Buffon’s territory, it didn’t really amount to much and he ended up creating 0 chances for others. As illustrated by the 2 graphics below, he was mostly confined to wide positions, providing long balls to switch play or pass it to players in withdrawn positions. Most of the passes he received were also near the half-way line and never in dangerous positions. This however, was not entirely his fault as there were few targets to link up with in attack, which was a result of the Rossoneri trying to defend in numbers for long stretches. By the time support arrived, it would almost always be too late and the Bianconeri would be able to get back and nip the attack in the bud.



However, he did quite well to go on a lone breakaway late in the first half, only to end up taking a shot from just outside the 18-yard box straight into Buffon’s hands. Besides that one shot, Menez never really seemed to pose much of a threat for the rest of the match, until near the end when he tried in vain to earn a penalty. He was clearly their best player going forward and against a strong Bianconeri midfield and defense, his effort in getting up the pitch was admirable but unfortunately he wasn’t helped much by a listless El Shaarawy and an error prone Muntari.

Key Stats Summary:
Passes completed: 82%
Passes in attacking third: 6 out of 10 successful
Shots (On Target): 1(1)
Chances Created:
0 Goals Scored: 0

Carlos Tevez. Tevez has been in superb form since the beginning of the new campaign, having netted 3 goals in the last two games, with 2 of them coming against Malmo in the Champions League; his first goals in the competition since 2009! Juventus were clear favorites going into this match, although the facts that the new look team hadn’t faced a big-name opponent under Allegri and that they were playing against an in-form Milan team in front of a record sell-out crowd at the San Siro, had some Milan fans optimistic (maybe even too optimistic) about this clash. However, the Bianconeri shelled out a dominant performance thanks in no small part to Tevez. The graphic below makes one thing abundantly clear: El Apache has really taken to playing in a deeper position like a No. 10 should.

As a consequence of this role, he’s not always visible in advanced scoring positions. Instead he was seen almost everywhere else in the attacking third as he sought to get the midfield and the wing-backs, especially Lichtsteiner, involved in the attack. This is also evident in his passing, which is in stark contrast with Menez’s. In trademark Juventus style, his passing involved short to medium passes in Milan’s half, trying to link up with everyone and playing off of Llorente.

The following graphic also illustrates just how much of a free roaming role Tevez has and how he positioned himself to receive passes well outside the 18-yard box.

Despite a fairly average first half, he kept up his high energy movements and passing and this ultimately resulted in Tevez initiating a gritty off-balance pass to Pogba, getting up and running inside the box to receive the ball back via a beautiful pass and slotting it past Abbiati into the back of the net. After the decisive goal, he tracked back to defend the lead and wasn’t seen in the attacking third anymore. If Tevez can keep up the current rate of scoring despite playing in a trequartista-type role, he could end up bettering his tally of 19 goals from last season.

Key Stats Summary:
Passes completed: 88%
Passes in attacking third: 22 out of 26 successful
Shots (On Goal): 2(1)
Chances Created: 1
Goals Scored: 1

Sunday, September 21 st, 2014
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