A team that has managed to score 12 goals in five games while creating countless goal scoring opportunities deserves to be at the top of the league table. Yet whilst Juventus can boast the most potent attack in Serie A, they must also admit to having a relegation-worthy defence that has conceded nine goals in the last five league games – the most amounts of goals conceded by a team so far in the season. Sunday night’s game was perhaps one of the most exciting games of the weekend but it hardly typified a calcio match as it was a tale of two absurdly weak defences.
As opposed to last year, this Juventus side have the necessary bite in attack and know exactly how to exploit weaknesses to score goals. Several years of excessive spending have failed to bring with it the necessary results but finally it seems the Old Lady has a midfield to be proud of and one that supports the attack marvellously. Alberto Aquilani made a fine impression in his first start of the season and proved to be a great replacement for the lauded Claudio Marchisio. He intelligently passed the ball around, pushed up on occasion to offer the attack his support and slowed the tempo effectively in hopes of being the registra Juve have been searching for, for the past three years. Defensively he is not tenacious enough to secure the fragile defence but alongside the aggressive Felipe Melo, one could earmark their partnership as one for the future.
Milos Krasic was undeniably the man of the match and he certainly proved that he is the player to watch this season and the man this Juve are likely to depend on all year. In the past four games, we have seen the blond Serbian drift from one wing to another, cut inside and yet still manage to maintain the width of the attack. He has already provided the highest number of assists in the Italian league and his performances have led Del Neri into revealing this his squad was Krasic reliant. The only thing that held the winger back was his weak shots on goal and on Sunday night, he found the magic potion. Against Cagliari the Bianconero found the confidence and skill to score his first goal of the season in remarkable fashion. His finishing was spectacular and the quality of goal was not up for debate as the Serbian bypassed countless defenders to strike awesomely and gift Juve their opening goal. That sublime goal was only a taste of what was to come as Krasic managed his first hat trick of his career in the Bianconeri shirt.
Del Neri’s preferred 4-4-2 formation suits this Juventus side perfectly as the physical nature of the squad combined with their pace allows them to play a very high pressured game. It is also the exact formation to play against Cagliari as their full-backs are simply not coping with increased activity on the wings. Defensively both sides were shocking and although a fragile back-line was to be expected from the home side, the manner in which the Cagliari’s defence unravelled was rather astonishing.
Predictably the Juve defence was abysmal and the very reason why the Old Lady finds herself in 9th place despite the force of her attack. The back-line was severely disjointed with acres of space separating the full-backs from the centre-backs leaving them veritably exposed the conceding from long crosses. It was also difficult to understand why Del Neri decided to invert the full-backs by playing Zdenek Grygera, a right back, on the left whilst Rinaudo was played on the right. However, the most worrying aspect of the defence was the poor communication between Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini that allowed Alessandro Matri to equalise within a few minutes whilst the two centre-backs looked on. Del Neri needs to find a solution quickly to avoid further leaks at the back.
Juventus now have a testing week to look forward to as they play a Europa League fixture against Manchester City on Thursday before taking on Inter on Sunday. One would only hope that this fragile Bianconeri back-line can at least try to limit the potential humiliation City’s expensive strike force could inflict. One thing is for certain, despite supporting the Old Lady as a child, Roberto Mancini will be out to destroy the Italians in an effort to prove he is worthy of being the Manager of this exorbitantly priced team.