Chievo vs. Juventus: 6 Things We Learned
Antonio Conte identified this match as an opportunity to give a chance to a number of squad players.
A risky strategy away from home, but the Bianconeri passed the test by coming from behind to down the Flying Donkeys.
Here are six things that we learned.
Clubs Missed a Trick by Not Signing Thereau This Summer
Cyril Thereau has been a big fish in a small pond for some time now and it appeared as if he was finally ready to take the plunge this summer and sign for one of Italy's biggest clubs.
The Frenchman carried Chievo last season and, without him, who knows if the Flying Donkeys would have been able to avoid relegation.
Technically excellent and able to use his close control and weaving dribbling skills to open up defences by himself, Chievo pulled off a stunning piece of business this summer by convincing the 30-year-old to re-sign.
With the ability to finish handily as well, it is puzzling as to why nobody stepped up to sign the player.
Another fine display against the champions may prompt one of those previously interested clubs to reignite their interest in January.
Juve's Squad Is Deep Enough
Juve's squad was tested fully on Wednesday when Antonio Conte fielded a much-changed lineup against Chievo.
Angelo Ogbonna, Claudio Marchisio, Federico Peluso, Mauricio Isla and Fabio Quagliarella came in for starts.
Arturo Vidal, Leonardo Bonucci, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Kwadwo Asamoah and Carlos Tevez were able to rest, which gives you a sign of how much Conte values his squad when he can leave out so much quality and still expect his side to get the job done away to Chievo.
It was tight, but that is to be expected when you make so many changes from a team that won and played well just days earlier.
To blend a new side together in a handful of training sessions and expect it to work instantly when the whistle blows is far-fetched.
But given the result is all that matters at this stage of the season, Conte will be highly pleased that he was able to keep several squad members sharp, even if their performances were not as good as their capabilities would suggest.
Collectively, the squad did its job though, which bodes well as the games begin to pile up.
Conte's Man Management Worked a Treat with Quagliarella
After Alessandro Matri joined Milan though, Conte appeared to prevent another of his strikers from leaving.
Tuttosport (via Football Italia) reported that Conte was adamant the player would not leave the Bianconeri and that move to maintain a more formidable squad paid dividends on Wednesday.
The player will have felt wanted and the minutes he has been handed over top players such as Mirko Vucinic, Fernando Llorente and Sebastian Giovinco will have boosted his confidence and contributed to a vital goal for the Old Lady in Verona.
Juve Is Not the Same Without Vidal
Arturo Vidal was rested on Wednesday, but unlike other players, Juve cannot do without the Chilean.
El Guerrero is so vital to the Bianconeri, as he offers a complete game that feeds into the performances of his team-mates.
The Chile international has that extra snap in the tackle that is missing from the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio.
It is not so much that Juve need a defensive midfielder, or somebody who will chase relentlessly, but that Vidal is able to press at the right moments and force the opposition to gift possession back to the Old Lady.
Vidal needs time off like any other player, but it is unlikely that Conte will leave him out any time soon.
As fit as they come, Vidal will not require a rest as much as other players and, with his consistent presence in the side, Juve will have a better chance of maintaining their footballing philosophy, even when Conte must rotate.
Estigarribia Adds Something Extra to Chievo
Marcelo Estigarribia has been a nice addition to Chievo, as he is able to offer them a presence in the final third that they lack sometimes with their rather negative tactics.
After spells with Juventus and Sampdoria, the Paraguayan joined Chievo, and it could prove to be a valuable signing due to the player's skills being a rare commodity in Giuseppe Sannino's squad.
While not performing outstandingly, Estigarribia offers unconventional width to a rather narrow squad, even when Sannino deploys a system with wing-backs.
As Chievo start with full-backs offering the width, Estigarribia started as a centre-midfielder and was able to dribble the ball out from deep.
Picking up possession from Alessandro Bernardini, Machado Claiton and Bostjan Cesar at the back, Estigarribia was able to drive forward and combine well with the full-backs who could then release him further down the wing or inside.
It will be fascinating to see whether Sannino continues to use Estigarribia in this new position and how it helps to evolve Chievo's tactics.
Juve Lack Penetration Without Asamoah
Juve changed both wing-backs against Chievo and, while both Federico Peluso and Mauricio Isla can step in and do an adequate job, neither possesses enough pace to replace Kwadwo Asamoah's contribution to the side.
The Ghanaian might not have much finesse or a reliable end product like Stephan Lichtsteiner on the opposite flank.
But the former Udinese player has that extra burst of pace that is lacking when he is not in the side.
Asamoah's speed pushes the opposition back and allows more space for the midfield to operate.
If the opposition look to push the space, there is always the ability from each centre-midfielder to release the 24-year-old with a pass in behind the opposition's full-back.
Paolo De Ceglie is not quite as explosive, but he would have offered that drive that Peluso does not offer.
Peluso is too defensive to operate as the wing-back and not solid enough to slot into the back three, which leaves a question mark as to what role the former Atalanta player is adept at carrying out in this Juventus system.
Conte will hope to find Simone Pepe fully fit in the coming weeks after a long period on the side lines, as the 30-year-old offers something similar to Asamoah in his ability to run directly at the opposition.
While Asamoah is not indispensable, his qualities in the system should be, and Conte needs to plug this gap that appeared in the side on Wednesday with better options in the squad.
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