Club Focus – Juventus – A twilight victory

Once again Juve failed to impress but yet again they walk away unbeaten and furthermore, winners in a match that left Ajax ruing their powerlessness to take advantage of their chances at goal. In many ways, this was a typical Juve win. They took advantage of their few chances at goal, they defended well and more or less played like a cohesive unit.

At first glance you would be forgiven for having thought Alberto Zaccheroni had lost his mind. Against an attacking team who love nothing more than a classic counter attack and who possess the strength and pace to unlock most defences, fielding the likes of Jonathan Zebina might perhaps not be the ideal choice. Furthermore, Zac seemed to be following the new Juve tradition of attempting to fit square pegs into round holes by playing Claudio Marchisio out of position on the wing alongside the muscle duo who rarely manage to string together a decent pass. As such the first half proved that Zac needed to rethink things as Ajax managed to run the entire length of the pitch to score one through Gianluigi Buffon’s legs in an archetypal counter attack whilst the sluggish Juve backline attempted to dash back in time to defend.

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The fact Felipe Melo still can count on keeping his place in the starting line up is mystifying as yet again he barely managed to keep hold of the ball. It almost makes sense to think that his continuous selection is done in part to please Senior Management who wasted so much money on him as opposed to his pleasing displays in training. Meanwhile, with Marchisio wasted on the wings coupled with the benching of Antonio Candreva, Juve were unable to create anything. They lacked both pace and width and were simply unable to penetrate. Furthermore, with a desperate need of pace, Zac again opted to leave out the speedy Sebastian Giovinco. Paolo De Ceglie was given the nod ahead of Fabio Grosso so it appears Zac does have faith in youngsters. It defies all logic that Seba is repeatedly disregarded but one has to put it down to poor displays in training. However, despite Juventus’ lack of ingenuity, Alessandro Del Piero produced something that certainly warrants his legendary status. His cross, his stroke of genius and masterful trickery dumbfounded the Dutch who were dazzled as he crossed to Amauri, who was ideally positioned, to score Juve’s equaliser. In fact those two, who seemed to have time travelled to rediscover their past form saved a very ordinary Juventus from a defeat against a well oiled attacking team.

Thankfully Zaccheroni proved his ability to spot his team’s weaknesses and Zebina was promptly replaced by a more defensively sound Zdenek Grygera. This certainly was a classic Italian win for the traditional Italian team but having watched the Champions League match between Bayern Munich and Fiorentina the night before, it was evident that Juve were missing the technique, the clever organisation and the superb tactics that have made la Viola a force to be reckoned within Europe. Zaccheroni has indeed begun to better this team but a complete squad facelift seems to be the only option if Juventus are serious about winning trophies next season. The club that once boasted the world’s best players have been restricted to average performances and mediocre players. None of the players behind the attacking duo seemed capable of taking the initiative, the squad is alarmingly slow and the Old Lady is still heavily dependent upon her old guard to keep the team together. More importantly, they are still dependent on Del Piero to still create something out of nothing although De Ceglie deserves a mention for his contribution to the equaliser.

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The team deserves a pat on the back for achieving an important away win against a confident team and especially because they remained calm and managed to find the strength to react. Zac has demonstrated his tactical flexibility by changing formations and managed to raise the club’s confidence at half time but it could have well been a very different story had Ajax converted a few more of their chances. It remains to be seen how important this trophy is to the club. As far as the fans go, many do not seem to care for Europe’s second class competition and would much prefer to see their youth given the chance to gain experience and improve their skills. Ciro Immobile was sublime for the Bianconeri and led them to another Viareggio youth tournament win and has even attracted interest from Arsene Wenger. Having him play in the Europa League alongside Juve’s older youth products would certainly please the fans who have had to contend with a miserable season thus far. The future looks bright for the Old Lady but only if she knows how to integrate her baby geniuses into the first team.

Juventus Club Focus 2009/10

Week 1


Great expectations
– August 21, 2009

Week 2


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

Week 3


Diego lost to injury in victorious Roman repeat
– September 15, 2009


The reserves exposed
– September 18, 2009

Week 4


Transforming the formation
– September 23, 2009

Week 5


The cruel blow of lady injustice
– September 25, 2009

Week 6


Haunted by the ghost of last year’s defence
– September 29, 2009


We’re meant to be happy with one point?
– October 2, 2009

Week 7


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

Week 8


Oh Ferrara, will you ever learn?
– October 20, 2009


Ferrara, thank you for listening
– October 23, 2009

Week 9


Sampdoria will provide the real test
– October 27, 2009


Introducing the real Juve
– October 30, 2009

Week 11


Why are we not surprised?
– November 3, 2009


The many faces of Juve
– November 6, 2009

Week 12


A team of hyperboles
– November 10, 2009

Week 13


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

Week 14


Is it all over?
– December 1, 2009

Week 15


Oh Lord, make our enemies ridiculous
– December 4, 2009


Destroy Bayern and we will really start to believe
– December 8, 2009

Week 16


Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification or so they say
– December 11, 2009


Sanctification is going to have to wait
– December 15, 2009

Week 17


Deliver us from disgrace
– December 18, 2009


Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up
– December 22, 2009

Winter Break


Less talk and more action
– December 29, 2009


Change is all we wanted for Christmas
– January 5, 2010

Week 18


Does this mean we have to keep him?
– January 8, 2010

Week 19


From the sublime to the ridiculous there is only one step, and Ferrara found it
– January 12, 2010


Maybe just maybe, Juve is back in business
– January 15, 2010

Week 20


We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope
– January 19, 2010

Week 21


Is John Elkann the real reason for Juventus’ failure?
– January 22, 2010


Another day, another defeat
– January 26, 2010

Week 22


A marginally better Juve
– February 2, 2010

Week 23


Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending
– February 5, 2010


The inescapable failure
– February 9, 2010

Week 24


Starting from stratch
– February 12, 2010


Can they continue winning?
– February 16, 2010

Week 25


A twilight victory
– February 19, 2010

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