To some it was a poor effort, to others it was an excellent game but to most, it was the strangest victory the Bianconeri have ever managed.
Momo Sissoko delivered a beautiful assist, Alex Manninger produced outstanding saves (even though he was partially to blame for the Genoa goal) and Fabio Grosso produced an enviable finish to his goal. This was perhaps a game out of the twilight zone but it was the first time Juve attacked with panache in a long time and despite having allowed Fiorentina the lion’s share of possession, they thoroughly deserved their goals and are piling the pressure on Palermo for fourth place.
Diego, who comfortably controlled the ball to gift Juve an early lead startled the home team, which meant that they could not play their usual game. Fiorentina love nothing more than to double mark their opponent, aggressively defend their goal and take their chances as they see fit. However, after conceding, they had no option but to try to equalise and thus had to push forward rather than block off the opposition. Juventus allowed them far too much possession in the first half and should have taken advantage of their lead by extending it. In fact, they were extremely lucky to have only conceded one goal in the first half. The defence was a shambles and once again communication broke down, forcing Paolo De Ceglie to mark two players and Juventus expectantly lost their lead with many blaming the youngster who was swiftly replaced at half time. It was most likely that he was taken off for the apparent knock he picked up. However, despite his obvious development as a player, his defensive abilities still need a lot of nurturing and coupled with Grosso’s poor attempts at coming back to defend, Juventus must search for another left back who, like Martin Caceres, is able to both guard the rear and make the necessary runs forward to offer width to the attack.
Thankfully, the second half produced a better Juventus side. They seemed more determined and more organised but most importantly, they accelerated their passing. Fiorentina can only be outplayed by a team capable of stringing together quick passes to move the ball swiftly up the pitch in a way that would break down their desired tactic of hustling for the ball. By playing two attacking midfielders behind a target man, the team was faster and more apt at exploiting available space. Antonio Candreva is quickly demonstrating his creativity and he seems both dangerous and more comfortable further up the pitch behind a striker. He positioned himself well, his crosses are proving to be lethal and he has the potential to be a full time starter for the Turin giants as he greatly aided Diego in creating those much needed opportunities.
Alberto Zaccheroni deserves much of the credit for Juventus’ win on Saturday afternoon. Perhaps aware of the Old Lady’s crush on Cesare Prandelli, he seemed determined to prove that he can compete, that he is just as competent and that he should be considered for the role of long term Coach. He read the game very well, his substitutions were spot on and he is slowly finding solutions for Juve’s problems by implementing small changes, such as a different formation in hopes of producing a more effective attacking play. In fact the Christmas tree formation was a stroke of genius on Zaccheroni’s behalf.
This, perhaps, is one of two formations that offers Diego both support in the attacking department and more space by having Candreva pulling defenders away. It is also one that allows Claudio Marchisio to feature alongside the burly two defensive midfielders. Many would still be curious to see how the Old Lady would play with three attacking midfielders, allowing for an additional creative player to have his chance at the top. Ideally it would give the fans a thrill to see Juve start with a 4-2-3-1 formation, dominate the game, score a goal or two if possible and then switch to 4-3-2-1 to both defend the lead and maintain some pressure on the attack. The latter formation, which afforded Juventus a less predictable chance at penetrating, is well balanced in all three departments but it stick lacks the width that Juventus are in dire need of that can really only be produced by excellent full-backs. Both De Ceglie and Grosso are capable at going forward even if they only distract the opposing defenders but unless Martin Caceres is recovered then the Bianconeri have to settle for centralised pressure and a one dimensional attack which is a shame when coming up against teams like Genoa who are so weak on the wings.
Despite the positives, Juventus still have much to learn when it comes to controlling possession and producing vintage attacking play but for the moment, efficient finishing and maximum points are all that matters to this Old Lady.
Juventus Club Focus 2009/10
Great expectations – August 21, 2009
When in Rome – August 28, 2009
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire – September 1, 2009
World Champions – One in, one out, one remembered – September 4, 2009
International week (Georgia-Italy, Italy-Bulgaria)
Children should be seen, not heard – September 7, 2009
Diego lost to injury in victorious Roman repeat – September 15, 2009
The reserves exposed – September 18, 2009
Transforming the formation – September 23, 2009
The cruel blow of lady injustice – September 25, 2009
Haunted by the ghost of last year’s defence – September 29, 2009
We’re meant to be happy with one point? – October 2, 2009
Is it now time to be negative? – October 6, 2009
Ferrara: public enemy #1 – October 9, 2009
Bad or just misunderstood? – October 13, 2009
Let the bitterness commence – October 16, 2009
Oh Ferrara, will you ever learn? – October 20, 2009
Ferrara, thank you for listening – October 23, 2009
Sampdoria will provide the real test – October 27, 2009
Introducing the real Juve – October 30, 2009
Why are we not surprised? – November 3, 2009
The many faces of Juve – November 6, 2009
A team of hyperboles – November 10, 2009
And we’re back – November 20, 2009
Del Piero returns as subordinate players give encouraging displays – November 24, 2009
Failure reverberates throughout the club – November 24, 2009
Is it all over? – December 1, 2009
Oh Lord, make our enemies ridiculous – December 4, 2009
Destroy Bayern and we will really start to believe – December 8, 2009
Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification or so they say – December 11, 2009
Sanctification is going to have to wait – December 15, 2009
Deliver us from disgrace – December 18, 2009
Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up – December 22, 2009
Less talk and more action – December 29, 2009
Change is all we wanted for Christmas – January 5, 2010
Does this mean we have to keep him? – January 8, 2010
Maybe just maybe, Juve is back in business – January 15, 2010
We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope – January 19, 2010
Is John Elkann the real reason for Juventus’ failure? – January 22, 2010
Another day, another defeat – January 26, 2010
A marginally better Juve – February 2, 2010
The inescapable failure – February 9, 2010
Starting from stratch – February 12, 2010
Can they continue winning? – February 16, 2010
A twilight victory – February 19, 2010
Patience and fortitude conquer all things – February 23, 2010
Grinding out the necessary results – February 26, 2010
One step forward, two steps back – March 2, 2010
Who will take over? – March 5, 2010
A formation can change a game – March 9, 2010