Club Focus – Juventus – Sampdoria will provide the real test

Juventus have finally won again in Serie A but it feels like a defeat if you were one of the few that watched the game. Ciro Ferrara and his men travelled to the Tuscan city of Siena to take on the other Bianconeri in what could only be described as a tedious game. There are many excuses one could use to describe Juve’s uninspiring performance on Sunday. For one, vital members of the team were missing. Secondly, no team can ever really play exciting football when they are faced with the mind-numbingly dull Siena and thirdly – with such a packed schedule – Ferrara was forced to rest many of his players to have them ready for Juve’s real test on Wednesday against high-flying Sampdoria.

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Nevertheless, whether you are a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of fan, you really can’t help but agree with Luciano Moggi’s recent statement: “Inter will easily win the Scudetto this year.” Indeed it appears they will and whether you love him or loathe him, the man knows his football and many still wish he was running the show, especially at a time when it feels like both the Juve Coach and current management triad seem to lack in-depth knowledge of football. In noting recent performances, it’s hard to deny that Inter look much stronger than the Bianconeri and Moggi explained that the Old Lady’s real weakness lies in her lack of a deep-lying midfielder. A Xabi Alonso kind of player to initiate play is missing in this Juve team, in addition to wingers who would provide the strikers up front with the necessary crosses to score goals. On his former point, one is inclined to heavily agree.

Ferrara’s current Juventus have two problems barring their feeble defence. The first, are their strikers who seem incapable of finishing and the second are their defensive midfielders who lack any creativity. As such, Ferrara’s insistence on choosing the 4-3-1-2 formation continues to mystify. Logically one would assume the Coach would attempt to field the minimum required in both departments in order to field Juve’s imaginative stars that all belong to the attacking half of the midfield. However logic appears to have failed Ferrara on Sunday as he opted to load the field with as many defensive midfielders as possible and leave all creative duties in the hands of Diego who will inevitably be blamed every time Juventus fail to sparkle.

Both Felipe Melo and Momo Sissoko are undeniably huge talents that have served the Old Lady incredibly well. They are both physically strong defensive midfielders who will pummel, who will fight and who will suffocate the opposition’s play. However, whilst their strength lies in their stature, their weakness lies in their creativity. Neither player possesses the skills of a deep-lying playmaker nor are they capable of delivering those long angled passes to the front strikers. If Ferrara had hoped to have a Barca-esque Juventus then really he should have opted for a player such as Gaetano D’Agostino. D’Agostino would have flourished in this formation and alongside Sissoko’s muscle would have linked up remarkably well with Diego. However, without his skills, Diego was left playing 20 feet behind where he should have been playing on Sunday.

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What Ciro doesn’t understand is by fielding the physical Melo alongside Christian Poulsen who is not a defensive midfielder by nature, and Paolo De Ceglie who is better left to serve as a left-back, he effectively built a giant wall in the middle of the pitch. What he fails to recognise is that without the help of Claudio Marchisio and Tiago Mendes, there’s no player in the centre of the pitch that’s able to provide the attack with opportunities. Furthermore, Ferrara seems to have converted Amauri into a traditional fox in the box player who is instructed to stay in the area. Despite the fact he managed to score the goal, the Brazilian is not a goal-poacher by nature and in his current role, it appears Juventus have created an additional static forward at the top. There’s no need to look for a support striker – Amauri can absolutely do the job – but he needs his Coach’s guidance to harness his skill as a seconda punta. So let’s consider this for a moment, how can Juve create goals when Diego has three defensive midfielders behind him and two static forwards in front of him? If the Coach continues to persist with this formation then Diego should be played as a second striker and have another fill the role of trequarista. At least then, there will be two creative influences on the pitch.

Regardless of his tactics, Ferrara cannot really be judged in the game against Siena. However, if he does not change these dreadful tactics for the mid-week match against Sampdoria then Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini will absolutely slaughter the Bianconeri. By playing their 4-4-2, they will completely stifle the midfield and abuse the wings to punish Juve’s weak defence and Gigi Buffon will likely spend much of his time having to perform heroic saves. Perhaps the likes of Sebastian Giovinco were rested on the weekend so that Ciro will have a surprise to unleash in the Olimpico on Wednesday. Ferrara’s skills as a Coach will surely be tested tomorrow and if he manages to unlock the true potential of his current squad, then there is hope yet of a trophy this season. Let’s hope we see a different formation this time.

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

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