It was the same story as last year, Juve were denied maximum points by a last gasp goal due to the inadequacies of their defence. And it appears, four months on and after over €50m spent, the thorn that ruined Ranieri’s rosy Juve has not yet been buried.
As has become the pattern, the Old Lady started the game on Sunday with some bite in her attack. Ciro Ferrara opted to start with Amauri and David Trezeguet, and the latter had incredible chances in the first third of the game. The best came when Mauro Camoranesi provided a wonderful assist to unleash Trezegol, but the Frenchman only managed to fire at the side netting. Then Jonathan Zebina – just back from injury – charged down the right flank and sent the ball in which fell kindly to Trezeguet, but the striker wasted the chance again. However, just as the veteran striker began to mimic his Brazilian counterpart with lacklustre finishing, he finally found the back of the net thanks again to Zebina. The defender, who had a superb game, came pacing up the wing to strike powerfully at goal and as he saw his effort saved by the goalkeeper, Trezeguet found the opener from the rebound.
Predictably, the Bianconeri began to relax and Bologna enjoyed their time dominating possession as they searched for an equaliser. Surging forward, they were denied a penalty after Marco Di Vaio was bumped aside by Cristian Molinaro. As the visitors continued to pressure, Giorgio Chiellini scored an own goal in trying to deny Andrea Raggi, but the goal was accurately ruled offside.
After half time, Diego wasted an opportunity to double the home side’s advantage but he couldn’t properly control the ball after a Bianconeri counter attack and swiftly made way for Sebastian Giovinco. However, despite Felipe Melo’s thunderous effort at goal, the visitors remained in control and looked certain to score in the latter stages of the match. Di Vaio had a beautiful chance to equalize as he received a delightful ball from Roberto Guana, only to fire wide. His second attempt was almost certainly going in but for the heroics of Chiellini, who cleared the ball off the line. Alessandro Del Piero finally stepped on to the pitch for the first time this season and Camoranesi had a chance on goal soon after. But it was Martins Adailton who deservedly equalised in the final minutes of stoppage time thanks to Molinaro’s incompetence at the back post.
In the game against Lazio, the Old Lady was praised on her resolve to kill off the game, but somewhere between Lazio and Bordeaux, Ferrara’s black and white team have reverted to previous philosophies of sitting back and relaxing after scoring the one goal. In all three draws this season, Juventus were leading, only to ease off and allow their lesser opponents a chance at playing. And in all three games, the opponents punished the Bianconeri. Perhaps the club can be forgiven for the draw against Bordeaux, after all it was Ferrara’s European debut and perhaps a win at Genoa was always going to be difficult and the lads were only denied a win controversially. But what was Ferrara thinking when he allowed his side to be outplayed in the second half by a team that only narrowly escaped relegation last year?
Three clean sheets, thanks to a supremely sublime Gianluigi Buffon, have perhaps made it appear that Juventus have a stronger defence than is reality, so Juve must begin to score more to allow for their concessions. Moreover, too many injured players were played against Bologna. However, Ferrara’s biggest error was fielding Molinaro. The defender is not worthy of his stripes and will always be a man better suited to lesser teams. In the void left by Fabio Grosso’s absence, Ferrara should have moved Chiellini to the left and introduced Martin Caceres in the middle, as he did against Roma.
Luckily though, Juve’s next opponents Bayern Munich, have a similar problem at the back. Bayern, the top seeded side in the Bianconeri’s Champions League group, will take on la Vecchia Signora at home on Wednesday night. The Bavarians are low on morale after a loss away to Hamburg and have shown signs of struggling as they adapt to Coach Louis van Gaal’s 4-3-3 formation. This, coupled with recent departures of stalwart defender Lucio and team player Ze Roberto, has allowed for a weaker backline, especially when one considers their second-rate central defenders. It will be vital that Juventus beat Bayern on Wednesday to uphold the name of Serie A. Further failures of Italy’s top four in this, the greatest of all European competitions, could result in the loss of a Champions League spot to the Bundesliga.
The Germans will look to take advantage of the wings and it will be important to keep the flanks heavily guarded. This could be done if Juve field a 4-2-3-1 formation. With two midfielders closing the gaps defenders are likely to leave uncovered, wingers will be able to force the opposition inwards and provide assists to the main striker. A formation like this could allow for Giovinco to play alongside Diego and with Camo’s recent tantalising form, Bayern, despite being the heavyweights of the group, will have a tough test on their hands.
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