After a poor run of form Ivan Juric’ Genoa overpowered Max Allegri’s Juventus at Marassi when the energetic and aggressive home side ran out 3-1 winners. Two goals from Giovanni Simeone and an own goal from Alex Sandro saw Genoa go 3-0 up at half-time before Miralem Pjanic pulled one back with a beautiful free-kick with eight minutes remaining. The win proved a tactical triumph for Juric in a fascinating tactical battle.

shape
Genoa set up as can be seen above with a back three of Izzo, Burdisso and Munoz. In midfield was Lazovic, Cofie, Rincón and Laxalt with Rigoni as the number 10 behind Simeone and Ocampos. Juve lined up in a 3-5-2 with Alves-Bonucci-Benatia; Lichtsteiner-Hernanes-Khedira-Pjanic-Alex Sandro; Cuadrado and Mandzukic.

manmark
Genoa raced into a 2-0 lead after only 13 minutes, based on their approach of aggressive man-marking in midfield and quick counter-attacking. This led to both the early goals. Here we see how the Luca Rigoni joins Rincón and Cofie in marking Juventus’ midfield trio.

man-mark
And again. Cofie with Pjanic, Rigoni with Hernanes and Rincón with Khedira. Both teams set up ensured this was natural for Genoa, with their midfield triangle matching Juventus’ perfectly. This ensured even numbers in midfield, and Genoa having a spare man in defence with both teams wing-backs even each other out but Genoa’s three defenders having a numerical advantage against Juve’s two strikers.

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Here we see how far apart the midfield two of Cofie and Rincón are. A huge space open up in midfield which is where Benatia will play the ball to Mandzukic.
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However Burdisso isn’t afraid to leave the defence and follow his man and will stop Mandzukic by fouling him. No harm in that.

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Juve’s passing were poor and they really struggled with Genoa’s aggressive and physical defending. When they did manage to get the ball to the final third, Ocampos tracked back and made sure Genoa had nine players defending deep. Impossible to break through this wall of red and blue.

juve-diamond
After Juve went 3-0 down and Bonucci went off injured, Allegri introduced Daniele Rugani in his place and pushed Dani Alves to midfield to change to a 4-3-1-2. This gave Juve a numerical advantage in midfield as they were now 4 vs 3.

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Juric acted quickly by pushing left wing-back Diego Laxalt centrally when defending to create a diamond of his own and continue to man-mark in midfield. With Laxalt defending centrally, Ocampos had to track Lichtsteiner all the way and would join right wing-back Lazovic in dropping  to create a back five.

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Ocampos (yellow) drops in to make a back five with Laxalt (red) joining the midfield to create a 4 v 4 situation centrally.

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Here we see it again. 4 vs 4 in midfield with Ocampos and Lazovic marking Juve’s full-backs.

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In the second half, Allegri changed it up again. The diamond remained, but Cuadrado (circled in black) went wide with Mandzukic alone up front.

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This forced Laxalt (yellow) to go back wide and mark Cuadrado (white) with Ocampos (red) forced to stay wide to track Lichtsteiner (black). Juventus therefore gained a 4 v 3 scenario in midfield unless Simeone situationally dropped to pick up the deepest midfielder. Juventus could then dominate possession more in the second half, but didn’t manage to score until Pjanic’ late free-kick.

width
Going forward, Ocampos would stay wider on the left, just outside Juve’s back-three with Laxalt coming on the overlap and Lazovic pushing really high on the right. This image is the build-up to the second goal where Lazovic runs at Alex Sandro, beats him and crosses for Simeone to head Genoa’s second. The fantastic width Genoa created stretched Juve who struggled to contain the counter-attacks of a fast and energetic home side.

In the end, Juventus went home well beaten. For Genoa it was a tremendous performance and a welcome win after only winning once in the last six. They have now beaten Milan and Juventus at home, as well as drawn to Napoli, and only conceded a free-kick in those games. In order to push further up the table they also need to start beating lesser teams but Juric has enjoyed a decent start at the club and proved his tactical knowledge by out-thinking Allegri.

Giro d’Italia

Inter looked reborn at Giuseppe Meazza in a lovely Monday night game against Fiorentina. Stefano Pioli’s men raced into an early three goal lead after Marcelo Brozovic, Antonio Candreva and Mauro Icardi scored inside 19 minutes. Nikola Kalinic pulled one back but, shortly after, Gonzalo Rodriguez were sent off. With only ten men Fiorentina still managed to get another goal back through Josip Ilicic before Icardi scored his second in stoppage time to seal the 4-2 win.

Napoli continue to struggle after 1-1 at home to Sassuolo. Lorenzo Insigne scored again, but Gregoire Defrel scored in the second half to win a vital point for Sassuolo after last week’s capitulation. Both goals were beautiful, but the San Paolo crowd would still have gone home extremely frustrated with a draw after Juventus’ loss.

Atalanta’s sensational form continues as they won for the sixth time in a row after 2-0 at Bologna. Andrea Masiello’s lovely volley was followed by Jasmin Kurtic’s powerful header to give Atalanta a deserved away win.

Gianluca Lapadula opened the scoring for Milan away at Empoli with a coolly taken finish, but Riccardo Saponara equalised shortly after for the home side. Suso gave Milan the lead again just after the hour, and this time Empoli had no response as Milan ran out 4-1 winners following goals from Lapadula, again, and an own goal after a brilliant Giacomo Bonaventura run. Montella’s young Milan continue to impress.

Roma’s 3-2 win over Pescara gave them a lift as they gained three points on Juventus. Edin Dzeko scored twice in the first ten minutes but Ledian Memushaj’s low drive got Pescara back in the game. A Diego Perotti penalty made it 3-1 but Pescara kept going and Gianluca Caprari’s strike to make it 3-2 was deserved. Roma held out though and remain second. Dzeko’s goalscoring shows no signs of ending either, with the Bosnian truly on fire at the moment.

Another man on fire is Iago Falqué, who scored twice in Torino’s 2-1 win against Chievo. Sinisa Mihajlovic’ team is going about their business quietly but will soon start to make headlines if this continues. The front three of Ljajic, Falqué and Belotti is prodigiously talented and all three are playing really well at the moment.

Lazio’s Balkan Connection of Dusan Basta and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic combined by the former setting the latter up for the only goal of the game at Palermo. I’ve said it before but Simone Inzaghi’s side look really good. They have a lovely balance in the team and can definitely challenge for Champions League qualification. The same cannot be said for Palermo who became the first club ever to lose seven Serie A-matches in a row. Relegation looms large in Sicily.

Crotone has started earning some points after their miserable start to the season and came close to beating Sampdoria on Sunday. Diego Falcinelli opened the scoring with an acrobatic volley but Bruno Fernandes tap in made sure Sampdoria went home with a point. Both teams are enjoying their best form of the season so a draw will likely have both sides reasonably happy.

Cagliari is an entertaining team to watch and they are likely to be involved in high-scoring fixtures most weeks. Not this week, as the Sardinians beat Udinese 2-1. Lovely combination play saw Cagliari win an early penalty which Diego Farias converted. Seko Fofana is a tidy midfielder in Udinese’s colours and his well-placed shot made it 1-1. Another brilliant combination saw Marco Sau being left unmarked four yards in front of goal and he back-heeled the winner for the home side.

Player of the week

Mauro Icardi’s has been remarkable on the pitch this fall and scored twice while also setting up Marcelo Brozovic’ opener in Inter’s 4-2 win against Fiorentina.

Coach of the week

Ivan Juric won the tactical battle against Max Allegri and in doing so his Genoa destroyed Juventus in their 3-1 win.

Goal of the week

As always lots to choose from but Iago Falqué’s second goal was beautiful.

Results
Empoli-Milan 1-4
Torino-Chievo 2-1
Genoa-Juventus 3-1
Crotone-Sampdoria 1-1
Cagliari-Udinese 2-1
Palermo-Lazio 0-1
Roma-Pescara 3-2
Inter-Fiorentina 4-2
Napoli-Sassuolo 1-1
Bologna-Atalanta 0-2

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