Juventinis will surely be hoping that Alberto Zaccheroni can provide a happy ending to this dismal campaign that may see the likes of Gigi Buffon depart to greener pastures.
The latest news making the rounds in the peninsula is that Coach Zac will be introducing the three man defence to Juve and is likely to play a 3-4-1-2 formation against Livorno this weekend. Now these Club Focus pages have never been a fan of this particular type of formation for a team that does not possess quality centre-backs, barring Giorgio Chiellini of course. However, in the spirit of change and evolution and considering the four midfielders Zac is likely to play in midfield behind Diego, this formation might just work.
For most looking at this arrangement, a three man defence spells disaster at the back and considering the amount of goals conceded already, it may appear that this will only serve to further weaken the defence. However, by playing Martin Caceres and Paolo De Ceglie as the wingers in the four man midfield in front of the defence, then essentially, Juve will have five men protecting their goal when being attacked. Both full-backs would be placed in the midfield solely to exploit their ability to make speedy runs down the flanks and to contribute to the team’s attack but both are defensive players who will easily retreat and slot into full-back positions when the time comes to defend.
A proper critic of the game will notice that the Bianconeri’s main defensive frailties lie in the weakness of their full-backs. When Chiellini has been present, the centre-backs have always performed reasonably well. By playing all three central defenders, Zac is essentially boosting the backline by adding further security as opposed to subtracting a vital marker (not that Fabio Grosso can be deemed as one). Besides by playing a diamond formation with two full-backs pushing to attack, the Old Lady has been left exposed on the counter as in effect, there were only ever two bodies present with Grosso attempting to rush to the back usually much later than one would have hoped leading to another goal scored against them. By having three defenders, they act as a shield and Zac is relying on the fact that the midfield will be able to absorb the majority of pressure. In essence, what we are looking at is a team that will adopt a 5-2-1-2 when defending but change into a 3-2-3-2 or even a 3-1-4-2 when attacking. This formation will not only serve to strengthen the defence but will also bolster Juve’s goal scoring chances, perhaps providing the likes of Amauri more service and then we can better assess whether he really is dreadful or whether he has an alibi in the form of fruitless creativity.
Many have already begun to question the longevity of such a formation when the injured have been recovered. Strictly speaking, Mauro Camoranesi will be expected to play the right winger in the four man midfield and considering his abilities in attack, it is expected that he would spend most of his time in the top third of the pitch leaving the right full-back position exposed. It is also hard to see how Sebastian Giovinco will fit in. He is defensively fragile so playing him in the left wing position seems highly unlikely even if he has Chiellini beside him. Other than that, it’s doubtful he would be picked over the big name Juve possess in attack. However, considering the horrendous training conditions in Vinovo, which the media have recently reported as the reason to Juve’s ridiculous amount of injuries suffered this year, this happy dilemma over who to pick is unlikely to happen and perhaps everyone will have a chance to feature.
For once, fans are actually excited to see the Bianconeri play if only to see what changes Zac has implemented and how the squad can cope with the change in formation. “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” Arnold Bennett once said. As to be expected with any modification to the method of play, the formation will either fail miserably or prove to be a stroke of genius but in the end, what is there to lose?
Zaccheroni’s employment, as many have suggested, is a sign of a waning Juventus. This writer does not believe it to be so. His hunger to prove himself might just be his secret weapon when it comes to turning this season around, and the fact that he is Italian is an added bonus for the sake of tradition. Disappointment is to be expected for a side that was predicted to be the league winner this season. However, every great team has suffered set-backs in the years – it doesn’t mean Juve are the next Newcastle.
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
Why are we not surprised? – November 3, 2009
The many faces of Juve – November 6, 2009
A team of hyperboles – November 10, 2009
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
Is it all over? – December 1, 2009
Oh Lord, make our enemies ridiculous – December 4, 2009
Destroy Bayern and we will really start to believe – December 8, 2009
Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification or so they say – December 11, 2009
Sanctification is going to have to wait – December 15, 2009
Deliver us from disgrace – December 18, 2009
Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up – December 22, 2009
Less talk and more action – December 29, 2009
Change is all we wanted for Christmas – January 5, 2010
Does this mean we have to keep him? – January 8, 2010
Maybe just maybe, Juve is back in business – January 15, 2010
We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope – January 19, 2010
Is John Elkann the real reason for Juventus’ failure? – January 22, 2010
Another day, another defeat – January 26, 2010
A marginally better Juve – February 2, 2010