Juventus and Tottenham played out a tense 2-2 draw at Turin. The home side began well with two goals within ten minutes. But, Spurs did well to reinstate their own authority in the game and recover it overall. Let us analyse the game and pick out the talking points from the plot.
The game started with horrendous moments of Tottenham defending on display. An early passage of give and take brought out a silly foul by Moussa Dembele. A free-kick was conceded in a relatively safe position as a defending team (midway in their half). Though, Spurs made a huge mistake by not marking Juventus’ talisman striker Gonzalo Higuain and got punished.
As we can see in the above image, it was a clever free-kick from Miralem Pjanic to start with. The movement from Higuain was superb which caught three Spurs player off guard. Alli, Eriksen and Davies were caught ball watching and never anticipated the move from the striker. The finish was great on the volley but one must admit, it was all about lovely build-up and brain from Pjanic combined with Higuain.
Post the goal, a reaction must have been expected from the away side but in turn, they were quite rash. A very uncharacteristic challenge from Ben Davies gifted Juve a penalty and a chance to get a foot-hold in the tie already.
As shown in the above image, the situation leading to the penalty foul. It was good play from Juventus to switch the ball quickly and catch Tottenham very narrow. Left-back Davies was almost marking Higuain there which made Bernardeschi free as a bird on the far post. The ball was meant for him, confusing Davies whether to go for the ball or just stay behind and watch the man. He obviously went for the ball as he was caught in a wrong position and timed the tackle poorly. Penalty was conceded and Juventus had a commanding 2-0 lead.
One stat worth remembering is that Juve don’t lose many one-goal leads, forget about giving up two goals even being at home. Well, they did that at the wrong time it seems. For starters, since going two up, they began to become very deep as a team allowing Spurs to have possession in midfield and defence.
If we look at the heatmap of how much Tottenham dominated in midfield as compared to Juventus’ midfield, it was a telling difference.
The heat-map comparison is huge in every respect. Okay we can objectify Juventus’ tactics to get deeper and hit Spurs on the counter, but the fact that their midfield and wide forward players were almost getting sucked in their own penalty box was worrying to see. What it did was to allow Tottenham to win the majority of second balls and start the attack again. Now, if you give a very good attack a chance to keep on attacking, they will find space at some point of time.
Spurs Goals and Analysis: –
The first Spurs goal (as shown in the above image) was actually a counter-attacking situation created by midfield press. Sami Khedira tried to play his way from midfield and got caught in possession and the turnover was created. Harry Kane went one on one with the keeper and you know what does that mean.
That goal opened the game up with the home crowd now more anxious with every passing second and Spurs attack. The missed penalty from Higuain added the anxiety in the stadium with the away side growing in confidence.
The second and the decisive equaliser came from an Eriksen free-kick after a start in second half which favoured Tottenham. It was right at the edge of the box (as shown in the above image). The Danish midfielder had two options, either to go low underneath the wall or try and put it over the wall and hope it comes down in time. Well, the midfielder cleverly slotted the free-kick beside the wall, very low in the corner which was incidentally covered by Gianluigi Buffon.
It was a savable hit but the keeper couldn’t save it. There can only be one reason because of which he made a real meal of that. If we see the image, his body posture is like ready to go the side of the goal he left (where the wall is positioned). This clearly means despite very less area to cover in his own side, he cannot stop the shot, due to his initial inertia going opposite.
Tottenham though, probed even after equalising but it paled out quickly and it seemed both teams wanted to settle it down. With 66% possession away from home in a tough European tie, Spurs did themselves a great favour. The authority shown in midfield and winning second balls was a testament to their high ball possession and chances created.
If we summarise the game in one sentence, it would be something like Juventus paved way for a Spurs comeback after leading early. Maybe the credit must go to Tottenham players and their manager to keep playing football even with two down very early in the tie. A stadium like Turin can be frightening for any opposition especially knowing the fact that Juventus don’t concede much. But, the English side continued to play their way in the game and managed to succeed in it. An interesting second leg in Wembley is expected now, all to play for at 2-2.
Article Analysis by Mizgan,
Twitter – @mizgans