Club Focus – Juventus – Juve again defined by its failures

This Juventus is certainly breaking records – just not the sort you’d want to break. It has been 5 years since Sampdoria beat Juventus and, once again, the Bianconeri handed the opposition a relatively straightforward victory.

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Roberto Bettega gave his clearest indication yet that Alberto Zaccheroni is not likely to stay on permanently despite Jean Claude Blanc’s admiration for the Coach. Having been awarded a golden opportunity to leapfrog Palermo in the standings, the team gave yet another average performance to leave itself in sixth place and in serious jeopardy of losing out on a place in the Champions League. Despite the rather mediocre display by both teams, Sampdoria seemed more determined whilst the Bianconeri once again hovered around the box, lacking ideas and losing possession all too frequently.

The same problems that have blighted the Turin side all season were again present against Samp. Juve’s narrow play gave the Blucerchiati’s defence, one of the best back line’s in Serie A this season, an easy ride, with Diego producing yet another frustratingly average display. The Old Lady is in dire need of attacking options and Diego needs to learn to remain in the trequarista position and aid the attack. Far too many times he was seen retreating back, going deep and helping the defence. For once, Juventus had a solid midfield and a decent defence in place, so there was no need for the Brazilian to go deep when Alessandro Del Piero and Vincenzo Iaquinta were in desperate need of men upfront. Furthermore, When Diego gets hold of the ball he often passes horizontally when he should be heading towards goal. Many times Del Piero was seen searching for a partner in the final third of the field, only to find Diego deep and unable to support. Despite the clear individual talent both players possess, it would perhaps be better to opt for playing only one at a time. Both have a habit of clinging on to the ball when quick passes would be far more effective.

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After Antonio Chimenti’s error that conceded Antonio Cassano’s long-range effort, the home team realised that shooting from distance might well result in a goal. Yet it seemed that the Bianconeri felt that the only way they would score was by walking it in with none of the players taking their chances to strike from distance. Antonio Candreva was greatly missed and should have been introduced long before he eventually was. His ability to provide some sort of width, his capability to strike from distance and the fact that he remains in the opposition’s half would have certainly troubled Sampdoria’s defence. It is clear that Diego is fatigued and requires some time off, thus Candreva should be entrusted with the Brazilian’s role in the meantime. The future Azzurri player was fantastic against Siena and has the ability to create all kinds of problems for the opposition.

Additionally, with such an obvious problem in terms of width, why was Mauro Camoranesi not brought on earlier in order to penetrate the flanks that remained unused for much for the game? It is clear that the 4-3-1-2 is not working and that Zaccheroni must look into other formations which would solve the problem for Juventus. In the reverse fixture in Turin, Juve stormed past Luigi Del Neri’s team in beautiful fashion as they struck five to leave the visitors in a shell-shocked. That was the Juventus we all knew and loved, the Juventus spirit that has seen them win 29 Scudetti. In that game, Ciro Ferrara opted to play with the Felipe Melo and Mohamed Sissoko in defensive midfield, with two wingers supporting Diego. Camoranesi’s creativity on the right coupled with Sebastian Giovinco’s electrifying pace and ability to find space on the left meant that Sampdoria were overrun in what was Juve’s best result of the season.

Giovinco, another victim of the Old Lady’s injury crisis, has been sorely missed and might well never feature under the current interim Coach. He is the ideal player to have on the pitch when it comes to finding space on the flanks, his low centre of gravity giving him the ability to beat defenders with ease and provide those all important chances for Iaquinta. Alas, with an injury list that seems to grow by the day, it is likely that the true power of Juventus’ potentially devastating attack will never be realised this season

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