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Fiorentina 2-0 Juventus: Player grades and 3 things we learned

Let’s take a brief break from the celebrations to look back on the season’s final game.

ACF Fiorentina v Juventus - Serie A
Falcon PUNCH
Photo by Lisa Guglielmi/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Player grades

Pietro Terracciano—5.5: Kept a clean sheet but didn’t actually have to do much of anything for it, as Juventus only had one (1) shot all game and didn’t put it on target. Claimed a couple of crosses well but flapped at another one and had a few uncomfortable passes out the back.

Lorenzo Venuti—7: Slightly more liberated going forward than we’ve seen of late, although he mostly served as a decoy runner to allow González to cut inside. Led all players in tackles with 4, added a couple interceptions, and moved the ball vertically quite well. I’m giving him an extra half point for his snarling revenge tackle on Adrien Rabiot; that kind of steel is what Fiorentina has often lacked, and while smiling Lollo isn’t the likeliest source of nastiness, it’s fun to see him stick up for his teammates and the badge.

Nikola Milenković—7: Nullified Moise Kean and did a good job on Paulo Dybala as well. Composed and always in the right place. Didn’t put a foot wrong all game, although how much was his own brilliance and how much was Juve’s fecklessness is maybe up for debate.

Igor—7: Copy and paste what I wrote above and you’ve got it, albeit with a bit more trouble tracking Dybala as the forward dropped between the lines and a bit more zip in possession.

Cristiano Biraghi—7.5: Really good performance from the captain, who mostly snuffed out Federico Bernardeschi on the defensive end. Nutmegged the soul out of Fabio Miretti at the other end and set up a few decent chances from open play and dead balls as well.

Giacomo Bonaventura—7.5: Irrepressible in the first half, twice coming close to goals and eventually assisting the opener. Had a very strong penalty shout in the second half as well when Rabiot blocked him off. Slowed down a bit in the second period but showed quick feet, intelligence, and desire. Having him back makes so much difference to this midfield.

Sofyan Amrabat—8: Man of the match. Had 50 more touches than anyone else on the field, controlled the tempo, and bounced around the middle to win the ball any time Juve considered going forward. Sprayed some nice passes to the wings and even showed a bit more creative passing into the box than we’ve seen from him. Suddenly starting to look like the star he was at Hellas Verona a couple years ago.

Alfred Duncan—8: Took his goal very well, and at the exact right moment, too. Had a couple of hiccups in possession early on but grew into the game, helping set the tempo and playing passes into the forwards’ feet while closing down energetically and doing the dirty work. Such a good and underrated player.

Nicolás González—7: Took his penalty really well (for the third time in a row) but didn’t create much else, aside from a scissor kick that he skied and a headed pass to set up a Jack attempt. Did win a bunch of fouls, as per usual. Seemed a bit less frantic than he often does, which probably isn’t a bad thing, but wasn’t as dynamic as usual.

Krzysztof Piątek—5: Involved in the goal but was otherwise almost entirely absent, only managing a couple of off-target shots that he could’ve done much better with and occasionally dropping deep to “help” moves flow, although he was so slow getting the ball out that he probably hurt more than he helped.

Riccardo Saponara—5.5: Had a couple of neat moments and few touches that were, as always, very easy on the eyes, but didn’t provide much end product, although he was effective at keeping possession and not letting Juve get anything going.

Álvaro Odriozola—5.5: Did exactly what you’d expect, which was charge forward at all times like his perfect, perfect hair was on fire. Was solid enough on the back foot without really impressing in the final third.

Jonathan Ikoné—5: Felt like his job was more about ensuring that Fiorentina had the ball for the entirety of the second half than anything else and he was fine in that regard, but didn’t generate much attacking intent.

Arthur Cabral—5: Probably didn’t have enough time to earn a grade, but came in and threw himself around decently enough.

Lucas Torreira—6: Won the penalty and was so, so amped up about it. He’s just a whirring, feral littler presence out there, like an Uruguayan Tasmanian devil.

Three things we learned

1. It’s fairly easy to beat teams that don’t care. With fourth place secured a couple weeks ago, these Juventus players may as well have come out in their beach sandals. They showed absolutely no desire to get the ball forward, win fifty-fifty challenges, or really do much of anything beyond sleepwalk through the 90 minutes and get into their vacations. Combine that with Max Allegri’s absurdly reactive approach and you’ve got a recipe for a team that just couldn’t be bothered; this Juve would have lost to any other team in Serie A today, so we probably can’t draw too many conclusions from this match alone.

2. Maybe there’s more midfield depth than we thought. Amrabat and Duncan have both been in and out of the XI all year, but over the past month, they’ve both been fantastic. The former is a wrecking ball in the middle and, against opponents that don’t press much, is brilliant at setting the tempo. The latter bustles around and does the midfield dirty work while adding the odd moment of quality in possession. Even if neither one is a nailed-on starter next year, their presence, along with Jack, Gaetano Castrovilli (when he gets back), Youssef Maleh, and returning loanees Erick Pulgar and Szymon Żurkowski mean that maybe we don’t need tremendous upheaval in the engine room so much as one or maybe two good signings, which should allow Daniele Pradè and company to focus elsewhere. That’s good news, especially for a team that’ll be competing on three fronts next year.