What a perfect game, what a Juve and what a result. On Wednesday, the Old Lady, who misplaced her winning character some time ago, rediscovered herself against Sampdoria. Simply everything about this Juve worked. The determination, the communication and the formation were splendid, as the players lined up in the most effective way to annihilate the whimpering Blucerchiati. But the greatest thing about the match was the fact that Ciro Ferrara finally managed to drill in the importance of concentration. Despite having scored twice, la Vecchia Signora was not about to give up, as she so often has done in the past, and came back after her break to score a further three, sending a clear message to those who doubted her – I’m back, I’m here to win and don’t you dare try and stop me.
This team had it all. The Felipe Melo and Momo Sissoko partnership ensured that muscle was readily available to beat down those that wished to trouble the defence, winning everything in the air and snatching back every ball. The backline was marvellous and, barring a fleeting moment of distraction, stuck together, closed down any available spaces and even scored a goal. But the heroes of the night were none other than the four at the top of the pitch. Diego was finally permitted the freedom and space to create, Sebastian Giovinco remained faithful to his position and was electrifyingly quick on the wing and Mauro Camoranesi was his usual dependable and inventive self. As for Amauri, he finally dropped the tricks, upheld his confidence and was simply divine. Despite it being a sparkling formation and one that the fans hope Ferrara will stick with, it is not the only reason Juventus did so well that night. It was easy to see that, for the first time this campaign, there was a real team on the pitch, a family that was eager to win. They were communicating, they were open and they were playing for each other. When Sampdoria had the ball, three Bianconeri would rush to win it back. When the opposition began to run for goal, the entire home squad would come back to tackle and when they held the ball, they made only pin point crosses to ensure a great triumph. This wasn’t merely a great performance, this was an authentic team. There were no stars that stole the show and perhaps the benefit of time and numerous games allowed the squad to finally comprehend each other’s style of play.
With 63% possession, the likes of Antonio Cassano were not allowed even a brief moment to acquaint themselves with the ball. Even when Ferrara decided to take off his two gladiators, he replaced them with players who possessed the same hunger to succeed. And so, with such a glittering display, one has to wonder – where has this great Old Lady has been hiding? Do Juve only show up for the big games? The best games Juventus have played this season have been against Roma, Genoa and now Sampdoria. Yet La Vecchia Signora struggled against Palermo, Chievo and Bologna. The thrashing of the Blucerchiati means that Juventus can play, and play very well indeed. Fans and pundits alike will continue to demand such magnificent displays and the only way a club can really prove to be back in the game is if it manages to remain consistent.
Napoli will provide the next test on Saturday and a convincing win against the newly rejuvenated Partenopei will truly force the likes of Inter to sit up and pay attention. Resting his players on Sunday to field a sensational squad on Wednesday was a mastermind move from Ferrara but he needs to remember that whoever he decides to place on the pitch must recognize the true value of the Bianconeri stripes and the winning mentality that comes with it. The fans will no longer accept boring games and critics cannot rate a team that decides to sit back after taking the lead. If Juventus provide another thrilling display against Napoli then we will finally have an exciting title challenge on our hands.
On a final note, President Giovanni Cobolli Gigli bid adieu to the Bianconeri in an emotional manner this week and promised to remain a lifelong Juventini. Many have been a little puzzled as to the reasons why Gigli left. After all, this was a man who revived the Old Lady when she suffered her greatest fall in Calcio history, a man who freed her from her debt and allowed her to continue as a thriving and profitable business in a sporting world filled with debt. There is no doubt that President Gigli was an honourable man but Juventus now want to win and a change is, at times, important in order to succeed. Much like how Samuel Eto’o needed to leave Barca, Gigli needed to leave Juve. John Elkann, heir to FIAT, felt that the Bianconeri had to head into a new winning direction, with fresh eyes and enthusiastic determination. And so, we now welcome Jean Claude Blanc as Juventus’ new President and hope he will be the man to finally lead the club to glory. A President who certainly endeared himself to the fans as he emphatically announced his aim to have a third golden star adorn the Bianconeri shirts when they win their next and 30th title. A few more breathtaking victories and the star may come sooner than we thought.
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
Bad or just misunderstood? – October 13, 2009
Let the bitterness commence – October 16, 2009
Oh Ferrara, will you ever learn? – October 20, 2009
Ferrara, thank you for listening – October 23, 2009
Sampdoria will provide the real test – October 27, 2009
Introducing the real Juve – October 30, 2009