Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Juventus vs Real Madrid Analysis first leg

Real madrid were without Benzema so Ancelotti decided to play Bale and Ronaldo up front with Isco and James supporting from wide areas so it would be interesting to see if they had enough movement and killer instinct upfront. Juventus started with a 4-4-2 diamond with their key man being Pirlo at the base of the diamond how would Real nullify him?

Juventus keep the ball in their half to entice Real madrid to press

It was clear from the off that both teams wanted to build from the back and take short goal kicks in order to have possession of the ball. In Juve case they held the ball excessively in their own half.

Vidal drops deep to receive a pass this will help with ball circulation. It also helps entice Real madrid to press them high which they were doing in the first half. You can see clearly in the picture above how high the midfield are and how Juve's plan of drawing the Madrid players in is working. Vidal receives the ball then finds Pirlo with an easy pass.

Pirlos then finds Tevez in space behind the midfield who were more focused on pressing the ball rather than protecting the space behind. Tevez now has space to turn, dribble and create a chance which he did and created Juve first shot on goal.

Real madrid got frustrated with Juventus playing short passes in their half so they started to press up intensely. Kroos left his midfield position at times to go and press Juve higher up which started to put pressure on Juve to play the longer pass.

Juventus first goal

Tevez in space unmarked having just dropped of the front to help the midfield out. Not 1 Madrid player picks him up  they're more focused on winning the ball higher up the pitch. They are also focused on Pirlo which detracts from Tevez and he's able to find space.

Eventually the ball gets worked out wide lots of space still for Tevez to work with. Marchisio drifts wide to help create a 2v1 against isco. The Madrid midfield line is all over the place so disjointed ,lack of cohesion and plenty of space Juventus can play in as you can see above.

Tevez sees the huge space infront and attacks the space Marchision then plays the ball into the space. Tevez takes a shot and Morata gets the rebound to make it 1-0. From Real Madrid's point of view it was a poor goal to concede no-one picked up Tevez in space, the space between Marcelo and Varane is too big and there is an overload on the flanks in favour of Juventus which from a defensive view is very dangerous.

 Dealing with Ronaldo

Dealing with Ronaldo can be tricky for any team he may not possess the dribbling skills of Messi but he still has effective movement, great acceleration of the mark and a keen eye for goal but how did Juve try to stop him.

Bonucci and Lichsteiner press ronaldo out wide while Pirlo offers cover in central areas and Marchisio cuts out passing lane. In this instance Ronaldo ended up running into a cul-de-sac not possessing enough to get past these 2. Bonucci in particular gave Ronaldo a tough game engaging with him not just in wide areas but in central areas.

Here we see Bonucci clearly pressing Ronaldo. Every-time Ronaldo had the ball in dangerous areas as long as he had cover he would engage with him even if it meant pushing higher up. This was difficult due to Madrid's flexible shape and the movement between the front 4 in particular.

Below is a good example of the fluid shape of Real to show how diffcult it can be of marking them:

Very fluid shape by Real great understanding of were to be and  movement of the ball. The 2 Strikers drifted to the flanks a lot which left space for James. Isco was mainly out wide because Marcelo rarely got wide he preferred to make under-lapping runs and mainly space in the centre or in the half spaces.

Madrid First goal

Chellini steps up to press James who was drifting into the forward line. Chellini dives in leaving space behind him. James manages to beat the press by Chellini and play the ball out wide.

Now Chellini tries to rectify his mistake by pressing out wide leaving his space wide open for James. The ball gets passed over Chellini's head into James in space who then passes to Ronaldo and he scores.

Juventus change to a 3 at the back to see the game out

After Juventus scored from a lucky break due to a blocked Marcelo shot they countered and earned themselves a penalty which Tevez converted. Barzagli came on in the second half so Juve could go to a 3-5-2 and see the game out.

The 3 at the back with the wings to make it a 5 forces Carvajal to make crosses and longer passes into the area which Juve deal with easily. This is just what Juve wanted and Real once again are playing into their hands.

A back 3 allow the centrebacks to push up more aggressively due to the defensive cover. As you can see from the image above Chellini can press while Bonucci comes across to fill the space.

3 at the back allowed Juve to defend more comfortably against the 2 roaming strikers and could press if need be without the worry of leaving space. With the added bonus of the 3 in front and the wing-backs providing cover out wide. The outer Centre backs would push out to help the wing-backs like any well executed  3-5-2 should do this will help provide numerical superiority on the wings.


One the whole it was an open game not cagey in the slightest but Juve's brave tactics won them the game. The decision to hold the ball in their half then hit the space worked, the work rate and movement of Tevez and the diamond midfield was excellent and their decision to change to a 3 at the back was of great timing and execution. As for real they fell right into the hands of Juve's tactics pressing them high when they need not and allowing them space when they attacked lost Real the game.

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