Juventus were in need of some kind of mix in the middle of last season. Not just to try and get its performances back on track, but to try and spark a team that was in desperate need of something to go right again. The decision by Max Allegri was to go from his tried and trusted 3-5-2 to more of an attack-minded 4-2-3-1 that still allowed Juve to still get things done on the defensive end of the field.
It worked to the tune of securing a sixth straight Scudetto and advancing to the club’s second Champions League final in three seasons under Allegri’s watch. (Although let’s not talk about how that game last June went, okay?)
Could there be another change in the making?
There’s a certain Turin-based Italian sports daily that certainly seems to think that Juventus’ recent results and overall performances will make the wheels start spinning in Allegri’s head and result in another potential change in formation.
As you logged onto the front page of Tuttosport’s website on Saturday morning (or whatever time it may be), you were greeted with this:
That’s a pretty easy to figure out even if you don’t know a single bit of the Italian language. I don’t know what gives it away. Maybe it’s the whole ‘3-4-3’ being thrown in there at the very end of it.
But here’s what Tuttosport is throwing out there as the potential changes...
- The new-look three-man backline would be Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele Rugani and one of either Andrea Barzagli or the newly-fit Benedikt Howedes. (I don’t think anybody would be all that upset that Medhi Benatia has not been included in the list of potential starters in a return to a three-man backline.)1
- The two in the center midfield would basically be the same, although Claudio Marchisio’s return to full fitness would obviously make things a little more crowded.
- The front three is where things get interesting. Instead of the 4-2-3-1 where it’s basically Juve throwing four attacking players forward, it’s now just going to be three, meaning one player will get eliminated from the equation. Gonzalo Higuain will spearhead the attack, flanked by Paulo Dybala and — drum roll, please — Mario Mandzukic on either wing.
- Federico Bernardeschi will still get his customary 10 minutes of playing time off the bench if Allegri decides to actually make subs late in the game.
(Okay, so that last point wasn’t included in the Tuttosport report, but it felt appropriate to throw in there.)
No matter how you feel about the possibility of, I dunno, Dybala being pushed outside as compared to where he’s been for the better part of the last 12 months playing in the hole behind Higuain, going to a 3-4-3 is certainly quite an interesting thing to float out there. Maybe that’s because it’s an international break and we’d rather talk about something other than Italy losing to Sweden and potentially missing the 2018 World Cup. Maybe it’s just Tuttosport being Tuttosport. (Although, this is definitely in the non-transfer rumor category, so maybe we have to take them seriously.)
But I think we can all agree that, after watching Juventus play for the first three months of the season, something needs a little fixing. And if that means switching to a new formation and the results follow shortly thereafter, then so be it.
Either way, we’ve just been thrown a little bit of a curveball here as the midway point of this international break is upon us. At the very least, it’s something to talk about.