It’s safe to say that there’s no escaping this horrid collapse of form. Defensively, the players have not only committed too many errors, but the lapses of concentration, the spaces left uncovered and the dangerous fouls committed are not things fans can come to terms with.
Being a defender means accepting that you are the only players on the pitch that are not afforded the luxury of a mistake. If you err, more often than not, you will concede. And yet whether it be lack of communication on behalf of the Coach, a terrible Management that have left the players insecure in their roles or the accumulation of hundreds of losses, the defenders are barely able to go through 90 minutes without committing serious blunders that have left Juve struggling for a place in Europe next year.
In 2009 the Azzurri conceded five goals in their six World Cup qualifiers. In Juventus’ last six Serie A games, they have conceded 12 goals. Either Gianluca Zambrotta, the only difference between the two sides, made the difference and saved the Azzurri from an onslaught of goals or Ciro Ferrara simply cannot do his job when it comes to the defensive line. How do Juve’s back three manage to guard their rear so well when playing for Italy and then collapse on club level? At this stage, can we really blame the players or is it just glaringly obvious that Ferrara, an infamous ex-defender, has no idea how to guide the backline? Admittedly, the statistics are not exact for the simple reason that the defensive midfielders are different and that substitutions took place, but nonetheless they paint the ugly picture of Juve’s inexperienced Coach that has left his players void of any confidence or tactical awareness.
If one ever rued the day that the Bianconeri expelled Claudio Ranieri, Saturday night’s game will surely have assured the tifosi that the right decision was indeed made. By no means did Roma play badly, but they were hardly worthy winners in this boring match that would have once been recognised as one of the hottest and most keenly anticipated matches in the Serie A calendar. Despite the blisteringly obvious Juve weaknesses, Ranieri’s men seemed hardly bothered to even try to win and sat back and watched the Bianconeri attempt to create for much of the game. Meanwhile the Tinkerman’s one and only substitution – one that he was forced into because of Luca Toni’s injury – reminded the Juve supporters just why he’s an irritating tactician. Nonetheless, at the moment, he was the last man laughing while Management still attempts to fix the problem that existed during his reign.
Once again, Amauri searched aimlessly for his talent at the top of the pitch, only managing to connect with a header once that he sent directly into the arms of the Roma keeper. Meanwhile Fabio Grosso deserted his position several times and awarded Roma masses of space that they could barely take advantage of. Had it not been for Alessandro Del Piero’s sublime goal, this Juventus would not even be worth watching. It is a sad day for Juve when Momo Sissoko, a man who despite his ability to recover the balls is still unable to deliver one good pass is considered your best player on the pitch. An even sadder day when Gigi Buffon has to put himself on the line and get dismissed in order to try and rescue at least a point for a team once deemed to be the embodiment of organisational football.
But the truth of the matter is that this is Juventus’ reality at the moment and there seems to be no way out. Should Guus Hiddink arrive as a short term solution, the Old Lady will still be without a definitive plan in the summer and another gamble will surely be taken with further catastrophic consequences. Most fans would accept this humiliation if there was an expiry date set or if there was clear evidence that steps were being taken to ensure next season would produce results. And yet it seems that Management find themselves as confused and mystified by their own shortcomings as Ferrara is about his. If a clear strategy is not deployed and a proper long-term Coach is not sought soon whilst there is still time to prepare for the next season then Juve will once again falter and will have to resort to another in a long line of quick fixes next season. And if Juve fail to qualify for the Champions League then they will hardly be able to attract any of the big names they once could, nor can they even rely on their ability to keep their prized assets. Rumours have already surfaced with regards to Buffon’s disgruntled behaviour after the match and with Manchester United’s relentless courting of Giorgio Chiellini, will the Management manage to persuade them to stay for another year of humiliation?
At the time of writing, Ferrara is still Coach of Juventus but continue to check back in with further updates…
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