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Juventus suffered defeat in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie with FC Porto on Wednesday night, but thanks to Federico Chiesa, they managed to score an away goal with just eight minutes remaining, which could be meaningful.
In the evening, Andrea Pirlo opted to pair Cristiano Ronaldo upfront with Dejan Kulusevski, but the Swedish international’s performance was somewhat underwhelming, sparking debate over who should play at the top alongside the Portugal international.
The season so far has not gone as Pirlo expected, the club is in fourth place nationally, eight points behind leaders Inter, and still has work to do if it wants to progress in the top European competition.
To who 90min, we decided to take a look at the options that the Italian coach has at his disposal and who should regularly accompany Ronaldo to the top.
At first glance, the Spaniard has had a pretty decent season. In 28 appearances, the former Real Madrid striker has scored 13 goals, but has also been a regular supplier for Juventus, recording an impressive 10 assists.
However, his last league goal returned in mid-December and given the player’s current drought, it can be understood why the manager felt the need to try something else.
Although Kulusevski is a winger by trade, Andrea Pirlo has used him in a central role multiple times this season and clearly believes he is capable of playing there.
The Swede has only managed three goals in the Italian top flight this season, so it’s clear that when tasked with supporting Ronaldo up front, Kulusevski has been far from prolific.
Paulo Dybala has been absent since January 11 due to a ligament injury, but returned to the substitute bench for the clash with Porto.
Even when in shape, he was often outside of Pirlo’s starting eleven, but the Argentine tends to be most effective just outside the main center forward. That being said, he is certainly capable of playing as a forward and has already scored nearly 100 goals for the Turin-based club.
If the Juventus coach persists in playing with two forwards, the natural choice would be Álvaro Morata. The 28-year-old brings a strong physical presence in addition to having the best goal record of the three mentioned players this season.
The manager has understandably worried about Morata’s lack of goals recently, but while he has alternative options, he has been trying to fit into his preferred system, selecting someone other than Spaniard feels somewhat desperate.