Champions League

Juventus 2-1 Monaco: 5 Things We Learned

 • by Ryan Baldi
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Juventus are one step away from getting their hands on the Champions League trophy for the first time since 1996 thanks to a 2-1 semi-final second-leg win over Monaco, giving the Serie A champions an emphatic 4-1 aggregate victory.

The Bianconeri easily overcame the talented, attack-minded Ligue 1 leaders thanks to goals from Mario Mandžukić and Dani Alves, while teenage sensation Kylian Mbappé netted a consolation or the visitors.

Here are five things we learned as Juventus cruised through to the Champions League final

Juventus are the best team in Europe

Juve XI

read more: juventus set example rest of serie A can’t follow

Six straight Serie A titles in the bag and well on course for a seventh, Juventus have dominated the Italian football landscape in recent years.

But this season Massimiliano Allegri’s men have translated their domestic dominance into European competition too.

The Bianconeri reached the final of Europe’s premier club competition two years ago, only to be thoroughly outclassed by Barcelona in Berlin. However, having comfortably seen off the Blaugrana in the quarter-finals, as well as swatting away Monaco in the semis, Juve look unstoppable on their mission to claim a first Champions League title in 21 years.

Monaco fall short but can hold their heads up high

Kylian Mbappe of AS Monaco

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The European dream may well be over for Monaco, but they can exit the competition with their heads held high having thrilled the Continent with their dynamic, attacking brand of football.

The work of Leonardo Jardim has earned the manager great credit and rightly so. Previously written off as an overly-defensive coach, the Portuguese tactician has laid an ultra-attacking blueprint for the Principality club, making the likes of Mbappé, Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar household names.

Monaco must now refocus on their bid for a first Ligue 1 title since 2000. They currently sit three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain with a game in hand over the reigning champions.

Dani Alves has still got it

With three assists and one stunning goal across the two legs against Monaco, 34-year-old full-back Dani Alves proved that, in spite of his advancing years, he is still one of the best players in the world in his position.

The brilliant Brazilian now has three goals and four assists to his name in the Champions League this term, and has created more chances (30) than any other player.

Twice a European champion with Barcelona, Alves will be hoping to maintain his outstanding form to power Juve to league, cup and Champions League treble.

Don’t underestimate Mario Mandžukić

Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín may steal the headlines more often, but Mario Mandžukić, in his new role on the left flank, is crucial to the balance of Juventus’ attack.

The powerful Croatian won a staggering 10 aerial duels against Monaco at Juventus Stadium, created two chances, landed three shots on target and scored the opening goal.

With his work-rate, ability to hold the ball up, physical presence and goal threat, Mandžukić is the unassuming engine of the Juve frontline.

Massimiliano Allegri is a tactical mastermind

Massimiliano Allegri

Having started the season sending his side out in their familiar 3-5-2 formation, Allegri tinkered with his system in February and settled upon the 4-2-3-1 shape that has taken the Old Lady to new heights in recent weeks.

However, against Monaco, the Italian coach utilised a fluid form of 3-4-3, with Alves as a very attack-minded wing-back and Dybala dropping into he No.10 position behind Higuaín and Mandžukić.

With veteran defender Andrea Barzagli re-introduced to the backline, Allegri’s side were able to morph from 3-4-3 in the defensive phase to 4-2-3-1 when on the attack, as Alves accordingly shifted between wing-back and a more conventional right-wing role.

This gave Juventus their typical defensive solidity while also making them incredibly dynamic in transition.

The various formations that Allegri has employed this season have seen Juventus act as defensive roadblock, counter-attacking dynamos, and possession-dominating pass-masters depending on their opposition.

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