Juventus FC

Weston McKennie delivers stunning performance in Juventus win over Bologna

Max Cooper
Jan 24, 2021, 3:00 PM GMT
McKennie was the difference for the hosts
McKennie was the difference for the hosts | MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images
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In a team constructed of bonafide superstars, very few would have pictured loanee Weston McKennie being Juventus' top performer this season.

The American midfielder has adapted to the demands of Serie A's serial winners with ease and has surpassed all expectations since he left Schalke in the summer.

It speaks volumes of his rise to stardom that despite I Bianconeri's struggles and Andrea Pirlo's inability to land on a consistent midfield, the 22-year-old has remained one of the first names on the team sheet.

The youngster performs a very unusual and specific role for Pirlo, regularly occupying spaces on the right flank when out of possession, but moving central when the Old Lady advance forward with the ball.

He has made this position his own in the Juve side, with no other player even close to hitting the levels he can reach. The Italian coach's faith was justified once again on Sunday afternoon, as McKennie produced another midfield masterclass, helping Juventus ease to a 2-0 victory over Bologna.

If you had to summarise the midfielder's display in one word, it'd be immaculate.

McKennie offered at least a 9/10 in every aspect of his game. His energy and movement, transitioning from the right to the middle of the pitch, always looking vertically: he was the key to every positive transition Juve made.

The American offered dainty one-touch passes and flicks to set teammates in motion, drawing markers into his vicinity and taking them out of the game in a split-second. Juve's attacking fluidity and speed on the counter-attack stemmed purely from McKennie's ingenuity, and the more he influenced the game, the more players Bologna threw in his direction.

They couldn't stop him, though. He commanded the midfield, bursting between the lines and driving the Old Lady forward, and his passing was simply extraordinary. Every decision was the right one, every ball weighted to perfection - simply flawless.

It was simplicity to the nth degree, and Bologna had no answer to his artistry.

And if he wasn't assisting those around him, he was getting on the end of his teammates' deliveries. McKennie has a canny knack for arriving into the box at just the right moment, ghosting in unnoticed to meet the ball on the full.

He's not the tallest, so heading should not be one of the main strengths in his repertoire, but he demonstrated that height means little when opponents never get the chance to catch you. He marked his Man of the Match performance with a goal, gliding into the box and planting a header into the corner of the net to add a second and put the game beyond Bologna.

Just when Juve needed someone to step up and wrestle the momentum back in their favour, McKennie delivered. Not only is he a regular in this team, he's also a leader, an orchestrator and a match-winner. He is the man they've missed for so many years at their core.

McKennie celebrated his goal by waving an imaginary wand down the television camera lens, paying tribute to his favourite wizard, Harry Potter. Much like his hero, he is beginning to weave some magic of his own in Turin.

It would take a dramatic turnaround for Juventus to retain their crown this season, but with McKennie making strides at the heart of their midfield, anything is possible.

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