Which Max Allegri Formation Best Fits the Current Juventus Roster?

Massimiliano Allegri has alternated between multiple formations in his previous spell with Juventus, depending on the roster he had at his disposal. The Bianconeri are unlikely to have as much fluidity on the pitch as during the Andrea Pirlo era, but they are set to be more flexible tactically speaking.

It is too early to tell how the squad will look like by the start of the new season. The future of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala is still very much up in the air. Despite the technical loss, the departure of one, or both, would solve some conundrums as fitting them in a way that lifts proved to be problematic for both Allegri and Maurizio Sarri.

Every option has its strong suits, but also visible drawbacks. They all necessitate some tweaks to the squad.

Juventus with 3-5-2

The scheme inherited from Antonio Conte was the foundation and the fallback plan of the Allegri’s first stint. This time around, it presents some issues. The BBC is no longer there, and Giorgio Chiellini is on his last legs. The defense is not a forte from the get-go, plus it is at least one man short to use a three-man line all time.

More importantly, Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski, the main building blocks for the future, would not play in their preferred positions. Both have featured as wing-backs in the past season, but they would have much less liberty in this design. Saddling them with heavy defensive duties would significantly limit them and hamper the offense. They also have some experience as very mobile second-strikers, but they are better on the flanks where they have more room to operate and do not risk being bottled up.

It will be used plenty in late-game scenarios when the Old Lady wants to defend a lead. But only a catastrophic summer, where they lose their top forwards, can not replace them properly, and have to make do with what they have, could make this the permanent choice.

Juventus with 4-3-3

When Ronaldo landed in Turin, Allegri used this formation to make him comfortable. This happened at the expense of Dybala, who never looked at ease as a right winger or as a false-nine. In fact, he had his worst campaign with Juventus, also because the superstar teammate overshadowed him. If both stayed, it could work out only if Ronaldo continued playing as center-forward, as he has done for most of the last season. Plus, the two other attackers would have to be given plenty of leeway to pick their spots according to their characteristics.

However, with Morata likely staying and the management reportedly searching for another striker, it looks like there will always be a pure no.9 on the pitch, which reduces the room for everybody else if that is not Ronaldo.

Juventus with 4-2-3-1

The boss deployed it with continuity in 2017-18 in arguably the most good-looking version of the squad in his tenure. Mario Mandzukic as left winger gave them a distinct size advantage that they exploited time and time again. Although it could be replicated with Ronaldo or Morata, there is no need for experiments since Chiesa would see heavy minutes there.

It is the best way to fit all the attackers in their most natural positions, and it has paid dividends in the final matches of 2020-21. But Allegri loves a three-man midfield, and Juventus were too often overrun by the opponents there in the last campaign. There will surely be at least one addition in that role, but that would not affect the numerical inferiority in most matches. Dybala and Kulusevski both like to track back to get the ball, but it would need to have proper countermeasures defensively to work out in both phases. It generally pans out only for sides with an extremely high rate of possession that reduces the chances for the opponents. The slower tempo of the previous iterations under the current manager would help out.

New Options

Allegri used to be a fan of 4-3-1-2, but he never got to use it at Juventus and, while Chiesa and Kulusevski could adapt, it would be a mild surprise. 3-4-3, or better 3-4-2-1, would be sufficiently viable and is increasingly popular. The extra man in the back would aid defensively, making the two-man midfield less of a liability, and few pieces would be in their preferred place. The gaffer has already surprised in the past and might do it again, but it is a tactic that requires reinforcements to make it sustainable and some work because of its delicate automatism.