Juventus picked up a much needed point as Barcelona traveled to Turin with a less than optimal starting lineup. Regardless, that less than optimal starting lineup is still pretty damn talented. Too bad neither team played like they wanted to prove they are still among the European elite, or it didn’t seem like it at least. The game was extremely sloppy on both sides, with individual errors being on display front and center. At the end of it all, Juventus had some good performers, and some bad ones, here’s who you decided they were:
The man of the match, at least on the Juve side of things, was clearly Medhi Benatia with 69% upvotes. Benatia has been inconsistent since joining Juventus from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2016, but tonight we got the Benatia we ordered. The former Roma central defender was phenomenal in place of Giorgio Chiellini. He passed at a clip of 96.9% completed, made 8 (!) interceptions, and 10 (!) clearances (data from W/S). No other Juve player had more than 2 interceptions or 3 clearances. If Barcelona was targeting Benatia as the weak link, their plan failed. Benatia handled everything that was thrown at him, and he should be praised for that. Let’s hope this is the performance that lights a fire in him that continues for the rest of the year.
In second place was Douglas Costa with 64% of upvotes. He continues his streak of positive performances to eight in a row now. It’s abundantly clear that he should be the first winger in the Starting XI for important games. He’s a difference-maker.
Third place goes to Claudio Marchisio with 54% of upvotes, and basically Andrea Barzagli who got 53% of upvotes. The former seems like he can do no wrong these days, and should be back in the lineup full-time, health considering. He’s #1 in the overall, Serie A, and UCL rankings, albeit with a small but increasing sample size. The latter, Barzagli, has been fairly inconsistent this season, but this positive performance brings him up to a positive overall score on the season, at 2%. He’s likely the 5th CB on the fully healthy depth chart at this current point in time.
On the bad side of things, in third-last was Gonzalo Higuain who was just bad. I don’t like the whole choker narrative, but sometimes he doesn’t help himself. It seems he couldn’t hold up the ball well, misplaced easy but crucial passes, and didn’t get much going in the attacking end. He had a 5.89 on W/S. Yikes. This game does snap his 7-game positive performer streak, so it shouldn’t be a reason of concern yet.
In second-last was Juan Cuadrado, who could be described almost the same way as Higuain, aside from the good form entering the match. He did have a key pass, so good for him.
In last place was Sami Khedira. Sami is one of my favourite players, but wow has he been brutal this year. He sits dead last in the rankings for players with more than 1 appearance (thanks for screwing up our rankings, Fabrizio Caligara. He just needs to do better, and he might...but he should really only be playing against low-table Serie A teams at this point.
Thanks for voting.
Follow me on twitter: @AnthonyTurgelis.