UEFA Champions League 2018/19: 3 reasons why Juventus beat Manchester United
Massimiliano Allegri’s side had a number of chances to secure a high-margin victory, especially during a dominant first-half display. A Paulo Dybala tap-in barely 20 minutes into the fixture turned out to be the solitary goal of the night, however, with Ronaldo playing the role of creator.
There was to be no comeback for the home side on this occasion once they conceded the lead; previous outings for United in the Premier League led to a win against Newcastle and a draw against Chelsea last weekend from a trailing position.
The win helped Juventus consolidate their lead at the top of their group with 3 wins from as many games while United are in second place with 4 points.
One more win from the three remaining games would see the Italians cruise to the round of 16 stages, leaving Mourinho’s men to battle it out with Valencia (and theoretically, Young Boys as well).
Here we take a look at the 3 main factors for the Italians’ win on Tuesday night:
#3 Midfield three stack-up in perfect display
Juventus lined up in a 4-3-3 formation against a 4-2-3-1 employed at United by Mourinho. Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi and Rodrigo Bentancur in the centre of the park proved to be more than an adequate match for a double pivot of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic for the home side.
Juan Mata was tasked with the job of creating goals for the United forwards from slightly ahead in midfield, but the hosts barely saw the ball for large parts of the game.
When they did, a midfield loaded by the Italians was extremely difficult for the hosts to bypass, and supply to the United frontline was stifled well. Mourinho’s men were always hurdled in possession and ran into someone in black and white stripes.
Additionally, a fluid front 3 for the visitors meant that Ronaldo, Cuadrado and Dybala not only interchanged positions constantly but also took turns dropping down to midfield to collect the ball, meaning more bodies for the hosts to deal with.
This midfield battle proved to be a crucial tactical aspect of the night as small margins clinched all three points for Allegri and co.