“Fans shouldn’t be dramatic. We have started the season well and obtained important results. Then we dipped a bit at home with Bologna and away to Palermo.” Insists Alessio Secco. Unfortunately for Juve, they simply cannot escape talks of a crisis as recent results coupled with announced changes to the Presidency have only aided in fanning the flames of despair. It has been announced that Giovanni Cobolli Gigli will step down as President and be replaced by Jean-Claude Blanc. Contrary to public opinion, this has nothing to do with Juve’s recent poor form but a case of expired contracts. Gigli was tasked with restoring the prestige of the Old Lady, in addition to earning back their fair play reputation. If Jose Mourinho’s recent comments regarding the affection aimed towards Juve by the media are to be believed, then the President did indeed do a very good job.
So, with no-one else to blame for recent results, Juve fans have turned against their beloved Coach. To be very honest, Ferrara made himself an easy target when he announced that along with impressive results, he would ensure entertaining play: “There will be plenty of possession. Short passes, making the ball work and waiting for an opening to then hurt the opponent. Juve’s style will be like the Spanish national side, Barcelona, or Milan when they played under [Carlo] Ancelotti.” A bold statement from a man who only undertook his first real coaching job in the early summer. Unfortunately for Ciro, the current Juve play is a far cry from his pre-season promises and has only served to increase the pressure.
Ball possession appears to be the one thing that the Bianconeri cannot master this season and many have blamed the formation Ferrara insists on using in every game. The 4-3-1-2 formation was constructed to fit the incredible Brazilian that is Diego. But with recent injuries that have kept him out of the squad for a few weeks, coupled with the problems he has suffered in regaining his form after recovery, have not deterred Ciro from continuing to employ these tactics. With a complete and balanced squad, this formation can be played to devastating effect but with the current long list of injured stars, the tactics do not suit their inadequate replacements. The biggest problem lies in defence – if Ferrara insists on playing 4-3-1-2 then purchasing several fullbacks should be his main objective this January. Whilst both Jonathan Zebina and Zdenek Grygera have, at times, produced admirable performances, they still lack the consistency to play for a team that so heavily relies on their input. Meanwhile, Fabio Grosso has been a saviour for the left side of the defence so far but should he fall injured, then neither Cristian Molinaro nor Paolo De Ceglie are good enough to fill his void. Martin Caceres, the versatile defender, has been brought in to be of use should injures play a part and whilst his performance against Lazio was impressive, question marks still hang over his defensive abilities.
Thus, with an ever disintegrating defence, players, such as Diego, are having to go back and help the defence perhaps more than they should. To truly allow the pint-sized Brazilian the space to make his mark, either the formation needs to be changed, to allow adequate cover for the defence, or replacements for the current defenders must be purchased. Obviously, as the latter cannot happen yet, the midfield requires additional personnel to help keep ball possession. If Ferrara was to adopt a 4-2-3-1 formation, then players like Diego or Mauro Camoranesi will have the freedom and possession to create chances further up the pitch. The additional advantage to this particular formation is that the lone striker upfront can simply wait for the ball to be fed without having to go back and retrieve it. Amauri or David Trezeguet could fit perfectly in that role considering their predatory nature. Since they both lack the ingenuity to create their own chances, having three attacking midfielders behind them should provide them with ample chances for goal.
Despite talk of negateve tactics, it is far too early to judge the current Coach. Sadly for Ferrara however, patience is not a virtue bestowed upon Italian football tacticians. Most have forgotten that the absence of so many influential players, including the legendary captain, has dealt the Old Lady a cruel blow. Although, even the reserves should do better than draw against teams such as Bologna and perhaps the only way for Ferrara to succeed is by believing in his own vision of Juve and by forgetting the mounting pressure. If he truly believes that his 4-3-1-2 formation is the best for his squad then so be it and he will have to find a way of making it work. Furthermore, he should be confident in his ability to nurture youth and start introducing starlets to those areas that require boosting. Only if he remains loyal to his concepts can proper conclusions on his abilities as Coach can be accurately drawn.
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