Claudio Marchisio is one more star who is in the nurse’s office. The Juventus midfielder will be out for the next six weeks while he recovers from an operation required to repair the lesion suffered to his meniscus ligament. The Italy camp reported Marchisio’s injury almost immediately after the player arrived, so one cannot help but wonder why he was sent off for international duty in the first place. In addition to the problems that Gianluigi Buffon is enduring with respect to his own knee injury, coupled with the recent embarrassing reports of Fabio Cannavaro’s failed drug test, what is going on with the Bianconeri medical team? Is it possible that one squad can be so unlucky with the amounts of injuries suffered or are there other reasons for Juve’s treatment-room woes? Kaka famously spoke out against Milan’s medical team last year and Alberto Aquilani followed suit by blasting Roma’s medical team recently as both clubs suffered an inordinate amount of injuries last year. These players’ words suggest that injury problems are not restricted to the Old Lady but a common problem amongst the Italian sides. Leonardo is allegedly looking to introduce a new group of physiotherapists in a desperate bid to battle recent injury woes. Perhaps Juve should look to do the same, because if Christian Poulsen plays one more game for Juve then the Scudetto may just remain a distant dream.
Poulsen’s club form however, is the opposite to his performances while playing for his country. Denmark took on Sweden this Saturday in their World Cup Qualifier and Poulsen might just have played the greatest game of his career. Calm and collected, the Dane moved magnificently and was Denmark’s leader in their vital win against their Scandinavian rivals. Despite the less than raving reviews Poulsen usually receives in these Club Focus pages, his awesome performance for his country this weekend begs the question – was it a fluke or is Poulsen an unpolished diamond desperate to be discovered? Many fans are still bitter that the Dane was purchased instead of the almighty Xabi Alonso and his performances for Juve last year have done little to endear himself to the fans. Clumsy and uninspiring, his defensive capabilities verge on the catastrophic and he’s about as exciting as a dentist appointment. It’s no wonder the Old Lady has been desperate to sell-off her poor investment to any team willing to buy. Yet on Saturday, Poulsen transformed into a star for his country.
So why has he flopped? Simply put, he’s been played out of position. The two time winner of the Danish player of the year award shot to fame when he played as an attacking midfielder for FC Copenhagen, scoring 11 goals in 42 appearances. At Schalke, Poulsen was converted into a holding midfielder and was recognised for his ability to both keep the ball and initiate attacks. However, since his arrival at Juve, the player has been mainly deployed as a defensive midfielder and, as such, has been relentless in his pursuit of failure. Both his low self-esteem and lack of motivation have played a major part in Poulsen’s demise at Turin but his coaches should take some responsibility for their failure to recognise both his strengths and weaknesses. The Dane cannot tackle and he cannot defend, so forcing him to aid the backline is futile. An all-rounder with great two feet and wonderful playmaking skills, perhaps Ferrara should look to field Poulsen further up the pitch to relieve him of his defensive responsibilities and allow him his freedom.
This is the problem with Ferrara’s Juve at the moment. Many stars, including the lacklustre Amauri, are not fielded in the correct position to fully exploit their skill. Although these pages have yet to praise the Brazilian, it cannot be denied that the striker has suffered a lot this season, partly due to his partnership with Vincenzo Iaquinta and partly due to his position in the formation. A man renowned for his dribbling abilities, physical strength and pace, he simply relishes the opportunity to cut into the box from the wing to either strike or pass with devastating effects. Partnering him with a forward who is comfortable with remaining in the box, such as David Trezeguet, would allow Amauri to run inside and deliver, safe in the knowledge that his partner will be upfront and waiting.
Countless articles have been dedicated to the problems of Ferrara’s chosen formations as they fail to enhance the abilities of those at his disposal but before he can think of the right formation, Ciro must understand which position suits which player. Unlike Gian Piero Gasperini, who is renowned for his ability to fully exploit his players’ talent, the Juve Coach has not yet had the time to develop his nurturing abilities. With his experience of the youth sector under his belt, Ferrara will surely begin to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each player. Should he take the time to position them accurately in an adequate formation, then we will surely see a devastating Juve. Perhaps the league title in his first year in charge is a tall order, but if he doesn’t win it this year, he’ll win it the next.
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