Juventus seem to be riding high with their new boss so far this season. They have highlighted some impressive performances and their style of play has changed drastically. Thanks to Maurizio Sarri possession base football. Thus, we are going to cover Maurizio Sarri 4-3-1-2 tactic at Juventus.
FM20 Tactic: Maurizio Sarri 4-3-1-2 Tactic
The 4-3-1-2 setup of the Italian manager is actually a 4-4-2 Diamond. The midfield consists of four midfielders arranged in a diamond shape. According to Johan Cruyff, a diamond arrangement is the best for possession football.
At Juventus, Sarri still uses his patient build-up strategy. They play out from the back, then through the midfield. The midfield diamond usually provides the team with numerical superiority in the central zone. While they build up, the fullbacks push very high and wide offering that width needed. However, when they push up, the two central midfielders will move toward the half-space to prove a cover for the fullbacks – though it depends on the position of the ball.
Sarri plays a positional football. This means that, if the team has the ball on the left side, the whole team will adjust towards the left side to provide more passing options for the teammate with the ball. However, the right fullback will still stay wide in space if the team needs to switch play.
From the Approach Play in FM20, I enabled underlap, shorter passing and standard tempo. All these influence some level of one-touch passing combinations and third-man runner, which is the main part of Sarriball. But unlike what we saw in Sarri’s Chelsea tactic, Juventus’ play under Sarri is a bit different. They just don’t move the ball as fast as the then Chelsea – that’s why I left the tempo standard.
In the final third, Sarri’s men can be tricky. Their one-touch passing combinations and finding a runner exploiting a space can be very difficult for oppositions to mark. This is usually when any of the strikers drop to receive a pass and immediately lays it off to a runner.
The attacking width of Juventus is wide. This makes it easier for any of the strikers to move towards the wide areas (which Ronaldo and Dybala do when necessary), and easier for any of the midfielders to move towards the wide areas in order to cover the overlapping fullback.
Furthermore, Sarri likes his team to work the ball into the box when the opposition defends deep. However, he also encourages his team to deliver lethal crosses (especially low crosses) into the box – this is where the attacking fullbacks are effective.
Juve attack in 2-3-5 formation. The AMC usually joins the front two. Moreover, both fullbacks have the privilege to attack the opposition box in the attacking phase. Sometimes, one of the central midfielders provides an extra body in the box while the DM covers.
Sarri always likes his team to defend in a close unit. If you check our FM19 Sarri tactic with Chelsea, you will see where we talked about that – please go ahead and check that out. However, in FM20, the 20.4.0 match engine didn’t agree with this setting. That’s why I left the LOE much higher (since Juve can press so high), while the defensive line is higher. This setup was very much effective.
As a team that adopts positional play, wherever position the ball is with the opposition, the team will move towards that side and press the ball. This creates good compactness in the team
Moreover, the Zebras’ pressing intensity can be overwhelming. But in FM20, I purposely chose to use Extremely Urgent because of its effectiveness – it should have been More Urgent. Furthermore, Sarri men prefer to counter-press immediately they are out of possession.
Maurizio Sarri Role Selections
As usual, Sarri always uses the sweeper-keeper role. And his tactical build-up starts with a sweeper keeper. This role has gained popularity in modern football.
All the defenders in Juventus play as ball-playing defenders under Sarri. They are meant to carry the ball down the midfield, if necessary, to create better passing options. They can also launch accurate long-range passes to attacking teammates. Bonucci usually sits deeper as the covering defender because of his high anticipation – he’s just a well-experienced and intelligent defender.
On the other hand, De Ligt takes up a well balanced defend duty as a ball-playing defender. He’s very comfortable with the ball.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play Cheillini because of his long term injury. Therefore, he might not be a vital part of your defence in FM20.
The complete wingback role best describes the role of Alex Sandro and Cuadrado. They are vibrant and attack all the time, which is why they are on attack duty. As the attacking complete wingbacks, they always push up frequently from their deep positions to act as wingers. Thankfully, they possess the flair and dribbling skills of a traditional winger. Moreover, delivering crosses from the bylines is an essential part of Sarri’s offensive play at Juventus, which is where these fullbacks are most effective. In addition, they can certainly put the ball at the back of the net.
The midfield of Sarri’s tactic consist of four players arranged in a diamond.
The DM: the DM is the deepest midfielder of the four. Pjanic assumes this position most of the time as the deep-lying playmaker. His passing range, vision and ability to dictate play are world-class. He’s not much of a defensive DLP, rather a supporting DLP, just like a Regista. Moreover, Bentancur can play very well in this role.
Two MCs: the central midfielders under the current Juve boss can be a BBM with DLP, a Carrilero with Mezzala, or a BBM with Mezzala. It all depends on the players occupying these positions.
Matuidi can play as a BBM or Carrilero, while Rabiot Andrew Bentancur as DLP. Bernardeschi is usually the vibrant Mezzala. Irrespective of the roles they have, they often stay wide in order to support or prove cover for fullbacks.
The AM: Douglas Costa and Aaron Ramsey play in this position often, especially Ramsey who has been astonishing. Both usually play as the traditional attacking midfielder role. Ramsey usually gets forward to join the front two attackers. He can roam, assist and score goals (including shooting from a distance). In this position, he can be difficult for opposition defenders to anticipate what he will do in between the lines.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the main man in the STCL position. He performs consistently as a supporting complete forward. This is because he drops often, roams, and can exchange positions. He also has the heading and jumping reach abilities of an excellent target man.
Dybala, on the other hand, is a perfect false 9 who does all the deceiving movements to trick defenders. However, Higuain sometimes plays as the CF, just like Ronaldo.
Using Juve in FM20, I pick my team’s mentality depending on the opposition. In home games, I use nothing else than positive mentality. The positive mentality is my consistent mentality on Home ground. However, Away games is quite different. When facing weaker teams or any team using the defensive mentality on their soil, I use the positive mentality. But when facing tough teams using positive or balanced mentality on their grounds, I use the cautious mentality. But it is very advisable to read your opponents before thinking of what to do – it’s never perfect anyway.