As usual, after a match that saw the Bianconeri foolishly squander a 3-0 lead, the fans were up in arms, requested the sacking of Alberto Zaccheroni and blamed the ridiculous game entirely on everyone but the players who fell asleep after the first 10 minutes.
Zaccheroni described it perfectly when he said: “I have never seen a game like it.” No, nor have we. The squad played 10 minutes of superb football only to then give up, sit back and enjoy the weather in Turin. Was it Zaccheroni’s fault? No, although he could have made minor changes to support the team. It was obvious that Siena were a threat on the wings, an area which has been and continues to be Juventus’ weakness. As such he should have perhaps attempted to alter the formation to his preferred 3-4-1-2 in order to stifle the flanks and offer more support to the defence. To be fair to the Coach, he did not have many options on the bench and no centre-backs whatsoever. But if there was one player that had to be substituted then it should have been Zdenek Grygera who handed the visitors their one point on a golden platter. The terrible foul that led to the penalty, his comical defending and his poor clearing allowed Siena to get back into the game. Other than his abysmal defending, he afforded little to the attack and yet due to the rather ludicrous number of injured players, will most likely be starting against Fulham on Thursday.
When it came to the match on Sunday, the blame lies squarely on the players’ shoulders with their only alibi being the number of injuries Juventus have racked up this season. Despite having scored two great goals, thanks by in large to Antonio Candreva, Alessandro Del Piero was selfish in front of goal as he chose personal glory over the team’s success. Meanwhile Candreva, who was an absolute phenomenon in the first half, once again switched off and disappeared in the second. Then we come to Antonio Chimenti who despite making one good save might as well not have showed up at all.
Admittedly the state of Juventus is shocking to say the least and despite the amount of money they reportedly have to splash in the summer, it will not be enough to fill this team with expensive and necessary talent. The team desperately need strikers as Del Piero and David Trezeguet have neared the end of their career and Amauri is not exactly the man that can fill either one’s boots so the majority of the kitty will most likely be spent on a forward. Meanwhile, the team lacks wingers and most importantly worthy defenders. As such, it is vital that Zaccheroni uses this opportunity to promote some youngsters into the squad. It was a great shame that Lorenzo Ariaudo left as a talent like his would have come in handy at a stage when Juve will be forced to travel to London to face Fulham with a depleted squad. However, there are others like Abdoulaye Bamba who marvelled for Juventus in the pre-season friendly matches as a right-back and who alongside Carlo Pinsoglio should surely be given a chance to play in the first team. Juventus may boast the world’s best second-choice goalkeeper but they certainly cannot say the same about their third choice. This is Zaccheroni’s chance to make a difference and he should really try to include the future of Juve today. Claudio Ranieri put his faith into Claudio Marchisio and Paolo de Ceglie during his reign and look where both these players are today. Marchisio was even chosen to captain the Bianconeri against Fulham in the latter stages of the match.
However, what Zac should be most concerned with is, and this was mentioned in the last Club Focus, was the reaction of his players after the visitors scored their first goal or rather the lack of a reaction. Having watched Siena – the team that currently occupies the last spot on the Serie A table – stage an inspiring comeback to equalise, the Old Lady simply sat and watched instead of attempting to find that vital goal that would have earned them maximum points. Efficiency, organisation and controlled play went out of the window as the Bianconeri struggled to contain the opposition and failed to build up attacks. It is for this exact reason that the fans have lost all hope in the current team. Defeat to sides that have poured their heart and soul into the match is tolerable but squandering three-goal leads and nodding off after 10 minutes is simple unacceptable for a legendary side.
The bright side is that the napping took place against Siena and not Fulham and hopefully Zaccheroni will focus on finding a solution to help them get past a London side that will be eager to avenge its loss to Manchester United on Sunday.