Club Focus – Juventus – Great Expectations

Last season, all the blame fell on Juventus’ management following another trophy-less season. There were continuous complaints by the media at the inadequacies of the club’s hierarchy – and the fans demanded a change. If there was ever a way to truly silence the critics, then the new Juventus Triad certainly managed it – much to the surprise of most onlookers. An ambitious and stunning transfer campaign, the confirmation of a Coach with a winning mentality, in the form of Juventus legend Ciro Ferrara, and a run of impressive pre-season results against the likes of Real Madrid dumbfounded most and completely reinvented the image of the Juventus chiefs.

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As the curtain lifts on the 2009/10 Serie A, expectations are running high as to how far or how many trophies the Bianconeri will be able to collect this season. Their primary objective remains the league title as the club has long been reputed to be the most successful team domestically. The Champions League could be left to be fought out between the two Milanese giants as the Bianconeri may look to take advantage of both Milan’s and Inter’s obsession to succeed in Europe.
However, how much can we expect from this new look Juventus? Barring Real Madrid, Juventus have carried out one of the most impressive and well orchestrated transfer campaigns this summer. Taking a look at the new arrivals, there is the return of Italy’s captain Fabio Cannavaro – he proved against his former team in the Peace Cup, he still has some steam left in his engine and he will instil much needed experience to the backline which last year was undoubtedly the weakest link in the Bianconeri chain. Then there is Diego, who seems to have shrugged off the enormous pressure the Italian media laid on him by scoring a goal on his debut for the club, and putting together a string of impressive preseason performances. If he can remain injury free, he possesses the sort of character that will ensure success in Turin. Joining from Fiorentina, Felipe Melo has finally ensured that Mohamed Sissoko will have a worthy partner playing alongside him as they both aim to help the defence, and get the ball to an already established group of forwards, with the everlasting Alessandro Del Piero at the helm of it.

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After a busy few months, the management have declared that their transfer campaign is over – and this may be a concern for some fans, and a hope for rivals. This because until the full-back positions are occupied by the likes of Jonathan Zebina, Cristian Molinaro and Zdenek Grygera, Juventus will struggle to hold off the opposition attacks. Despite Ferrara’s attempts to educate his defenders to the level he was used to in his playing days, the game against Villarreal proved that a highly organised team may have the ability destroy all the work he’s put in. An addition to the department has been Martin Caceras, this may be a notable improvement – but can Juventus really rely on a man who was forgotten oh so often by his Catalonian club last season?
Pre-season games have given the Old Lady the opportunity to experiment with formations and tactics. It has also given the opportunity to see certain promising youngsters, such as Ciro Immobile and Abdoulaye Bamba – both have come up through the club’s youth system.
Most critics believe that last season’s runners-up will regain their place at the helm after having defeated Real Madrid. But surely a team with bountiful new galacticos cannot be thought of as a serious threat so early on after having spent such little time preparing together. What Ferrara should really concern himself with are the draws against Nancy and Vicenza. And more so the thumping received from Villarreal.

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Regardless of how well Juventus will perform this season, the fans are proud that their team have contained the embarrassment of yesteryear and begun to act like a club worthy of their history. Results are important but ambition counts for a lot more. Juventus will face Chievo Verona at home in the opening game and the fans will be hoping to forget the nightmare faced last season when the commentator appeared to have screamed the name “Pellissier” repeatedly and incessantly as Chievo scored three in the midst of Juventus’ sublime fall from grace. With the departures of Kaka from Milan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter, Serie A’s future might just appear to be black and white this time around.

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