Club Focus – Juventus – Grinding out the necessary results

Juventus finally seem to be heading towards winning a trophy this season and despite their less than inspiring performance, they did what was necessary to remain in the competition and fly the flag for Italy in the Europa league after Roma crashed out last night.


Juventus stayed true to their reputation and were organised, intelligent, and defensive and did what was required to take them through. However, they did little to dispel rumours of how dull Italian teams are when they play, and combined with Ajax’s dreadful attempts to score, the match proved just why these two clubs crashed out of the elite Champions League tournament. Fortunately for the Bianconeri, they got the needed result and were not subjected to the repetitive drivel of ITV4’s commentators who seemed intent on repeating just how ‘disgraceful’ Juve’s last decade has been, not to mention their shameful demotion to Serie B.

In fairness, the game was incredibly tedious, but frankly it was Ajax that needed a win and to pressure the home team into defending. But the Dutch seemed uninterested except for bursts of energy in the beginning of each half that seemed to disappear as quickly as it appeared. Ajax proved to be relatively easy to beat only because they were unable to really read the game. They lacked width going up front, attacked only through the middle and hardly raised the tempo to tire out the easily fatigued Italian side. Furthermore, Alex Manninger, who at times appeared incapable of holding on to the ball for longer than a second, was easily the weakest link in the squad and yet he was hardly made to work all night. The ex-Arsenal shot stopper who proved worthy of his jersey last year when Gianluigi Buffon was out with an injury has recently put in unnerving performances that could well be exploited by a more attacking opposition. If the Old Lady ever thought of selling her greatest asset then she better think again as Buffon has truly managed to rescue her, both physically and mentally, from inevitable abyss.

Coach Alberto Zaccheroni should be lauded for the way in which he has managed to organise the team and how capable he seems of bringing the best out of the players he has at his disposal. Zdenek Grygera seems to have developed into a fine defender and made magnificent saves to deny Ajax any last minute goals even if going forward still seems an impossible task for him to undertake. The team has also begun to add more width to their game rather than concentrating all their plays down the middle, and Diego has also upped his game and improved his positioning and vision as he looked to take advantage of any available space. The Brazilian who provided his home crowd with beautiful technique is quickly developing into the player than convinced the Management to invest in him. His exciting footwork, his ability to slide past defenders and his delivery lifted the squad and busied the opposition. Furthermore his shots and accuracy are improving with each game and he could well prove to be the dynamic player that Juve have searched for since their promotion back to the top league.

However, if the aim of the night was to deny the Dutch then mission accomplished, but if the Bianconeri are hoping to secure a top four place in Serie A and reach far in the Europa league then they need to make vast improvements in their style of play. Except for Diego and Alessandro Del Piero, the team lacked in creativity, in magical touches and in pace when going forward. The lack of goal chances for the Bianconeri means Fulham are now greatly relishing the prospect of facing this energy starved team and with the way Juve have been playing, you cannot blame them for their anticipation. Offensively, the Old Lady is rather embarrassing. When the team attempts to attack, it seems all they really do is pass to either Diego or Del Piero and hope for the best. There is no collective effort to go forward, no great desire to hold on to the ball when reaching the top third and the squad is ever reliant on either counter-attacks or set pieces to score goals. Considering their lack of pace, they better hope that they can draw out as many fouls as possible or else they risk going goalless.

In his post match comments, Zac seems aware of the abysmal state of attack of his team but assured everyone that qualification to the next round was the objective and winning would have only been a bonus. On a positive note, Juve did manage to keep a clean sheet, something they have not managed since their Coppa Italia win over Napoli in January. Only time will tell how well Zac manages to develop this team, Palermo will prove to be a far tougher test on Sunday.

Juventus Club Focus 2009/10

Week 1

Great expectations
– August 21, 2009

Week 2

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

Week 3

Diego lost to injury in victorious Roman repeat
– September 15, 2009

The reserves exposed
– September 18, 2009

Week 4

Transforming the formation
– September 23, 2009

Week 5

The cruel blow of lady injustice
– September 25, 2009

Week 6

Haunted by the ghost of last year’s defence
– September 29, 2009

We’re meant to be happy with one point?
– October 2, 2009

Week 7

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

Week 8

Oh Ferrara, will you ever learn?
– October 20, 2009

Ferrara, thank you for listening
– October 23, 2009

Week 9

Sampdoria will provide the real test
– October 27, 2009

Introducing the real Juve
– October 30, 2009

Week 11

Why are we not surprised?
– November 3, 2009

The many faces of Juve
– November 6, 2009

Week 12

A team of hyperboles
– November 10, 2009

Week 13

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

Week 14

Is it all over?
– December 1, 2009

Week 15

Oh Lord, make our enemies ridiculous
– December 4, 2009

Destroy Bayern and we will really start to believe
– December 8, 2009

Week 16

Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification or so they say
– December 11, 2009

Sanctification is going to have to wait
– December 15, 2009

Week 17

Deliver us from disgrace
– December 18, 2009

Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up
– December 22, 2009

Winter Break

Less talk and more action
– December 29, 2009

Change is all we wanted for Christmas
– January 5, 2010

Week 18

Does this mean we have to keep him?
– January 8, 2010

Week 19

From the sublime to the ridiculous there is only one step, and Ferrara found it
– January 12, 2010

Maybe just maybe, Juve is back in business
– January 15, 2010

Week 20

We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope
– January 19, 2010

Week 21

Is John Elkann the real reason for Juventus’ failure?
– January 22, 2010

Another day, another defeat
– January 26, 2010

Week 22

A marginally better Juve
– February 2, 2010

Week 23

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending
– February 5, 2010

The inescapable failure
– February 9, 2010

Week 24

Starting from stratch
– February 12, 2010

Can they continue winning?
– February 16, 2010

Week 25

A twilight victory
– February 19, 2010

Patience and fortitude conquer all things
– February 23, 2010

Week 26

Grinding out the necessary results
– February 26, 2010 Welcome Bonus Offer Betway

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