Let’s hope it is goodbye to God-awfulness and greetings to a prosperous New Year for Juventus.
Even as this is being written, it is hard to imagine how this Turin outfit can vastly improve and renew their title ambitions after only a two-week Christmas break. So much has gone so wrong in such a small space of time that it seems only extreme measures can help change the dire course of the Old Lady. So let’s analyse what we have learnt from the campaign so far in an attempt to wish for a few simple steps to at least ensure some points from the upcoming difficult games.
One only wishes that there was at least one area of the Juve squad that one can point out to be truly outstanding. Whilst it may seem that most of the problems lie with the defence, which is by and large truly horrendous, the other two areas of the field are yet to find that magic to allow for a shoddy defence. Felipe Melo, Juve’s expensive signing over the summer, has been largely blamed for the catastrophe and yet you cannot help but pity the hard-working Brazilian. By his own admission, the player has suffered greatly from such a heavy schedule in 2009 with Fiorentina and the national team but his cringe-worthy appearances in the Bianconeri jersey have finally exposed the frailties of a player thought to be the rock of Fiorentina. Despite la Viola’s directors’ vehement defence of their past prodigy’s excellent skills, their defence has only served to admit that the player is in fact only capable of minor tasks in the midfield, thus confessing that he is hardly the great player the Juventinis were misled into thinking he was and that Juve had indeed overpaid.
Ultimately, the squad’s failure to score in Ferrara’s beloved 4-3-1-2 formation has led to the collapse of the team. Since Amauri or whoever has accompanied David Trezeguet at the top has failed to finish and since Diego is probably the most closely marked man in Serie A, the whole team has fallen apart. When Diego is so heavily guarded he cannot provide balls to the strikers and when he cannot provide, the strikers must take advantage of their few chances and when they cannot score, the rest of the midfielders all rush to the top to offer their support only to leave Melo holding down the fort. Melo does not possess the mighty force of Momo Sissoko or the magical passing of a deep-lying midfielder. So when he gets inundated, he panics and since the defence behind him is not strong enough to cope with his shortcomings, Juventus concede. Contrary to what even this writer previously thought, the player cannot work alone in providing the necessary cover for the defence and desperately needs a man like Sissoko beside him to clean up. As such, Ferrara must find the right formation and select the right players to allow both halves of the field to function properly without forcing certain players to play out of position to compensate for the teammates’ failure.
Some have even suggested moving to either a 4-1-3-2 formation or 3-5-2 formation. The former may work but only with Sissoko and only if the strikers rediscover their form, but until then, it is best to provide as much support as possible to the ailing defence. As for the latter, where do we begin with the problems that formation would provide? Firstly, you would need three incredible central defenders at the back and Juve only have Giorgio Chiellini. Despite how well Martin Caceres has done, his praises only grows louder due to the poor displays of the rest of the defenders he accompanies at the back. He is not a man who would cope with so much work at the back nor does he possess the vision and tactical awareness to aid Chiellini in a three-man line. As for the others, they are either too old or too slow. In addition to this, only Trezegol seems capable of scoring at this moment in time thus it would be wise not to sacrifice a position at the back to offer one to another striker who will most likely spend his night ruing all his missed opportunities. This is the type of formation one would opt for if they had Bruno Alves, Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe at the back and excellent wingers on either side to protect the flanks. But Juventus are not Carlos Queiroz’s Portugal, and do not have Cristiano Ronaldo at the other end.
The 4-4-2 formation finally returned in the friendly against Al-Ittihad at the end of 2009 and despite the Bianconeri’s failure to win, they at least seemed a little more settled and it may be used against Parma. Sebastian Giovinco once again marvelled and Amauri once again squandered. It’s only a matter of time before Ferrara sits up and takes notice of the talent he has available and begin to select his starting XI wisely. Should he lose the next two fixtures, the fans have been led to believe that the axe will finally fall on the legendary ex-Juve stalwart.
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