“I could never die on a Sunday. Then I would miss my Italian football.” Goes the infamous Italian saying but for a Juventino, dying on a Sunday was not an unrealistic thought as Juventus fell to another crushing defeat.
However, failure was expected the minute you saw the starting line-up flash across the screen. As the commentator read out the names of Fabio Cannavaro, Nicola Legrottaglie and Cristian Molinaro, you knew Juventus were going to concede. And then you heard the dreaded formation – 4-3-1-2 – a horrendous arrangement to deploy considering the squad available to play but at least Alessandro Del Piero finally found the bench. The only positive aspect of the game was the fact that the squad learned how to focus their attacks through the centre of the pitch, allowing Diego to impact the game a little more. Other than that, Juventus were the very definition of failure on Sunday,
In the last Club Focus it was said that defending Ciro Ferrara had become increasing difficult. Now, it’s virtually impossible. Ferrara was without his two defensive midfielders for the game. So the fact that he fielded a formation heavily dependent on the roles of the defensive midfielders when he only had central midfielders on hand is beyond comprehension. Especially when considering all the available and fully fit attacking players he chose to leave on the sidelines. Both Tiago Mendes and Christian Poulsen – and this has been repeated a thousand times – are central midfielders whose talents are wasted when positioned in defensive roles. As such, it’s sensible to assume that Ferrara would only hand two positions to the defensive midfield department – one to Claudio Marchisio and one to Poulsen. Poulsen would have gotten the nod only because his defensive capabilities have blossomed recently. Clearly the squad cannot defend and since Ferrara has no idea how to resolve this, at least he should bolster the Bianconeri’s attacking options in hopes of outscoring the opponent. Furthermore, considering Amauri’s troubling form, it’s ridiculous to waste another position on a static forward. By handing him a starting role, a player who missed two sublime chances for goal within the first 25 minutes, Ciro essentially forced the team to play with 10 men. Imagine the kind of service David Trezeguet would have received had he been playing in front of an attacking trident.
The Sebastian Giovinco debate has become rather tedious and Ferrara incessant exclusion of the youngster could effectively see him unemployed. Never has there been a Coach who is so inept at fielding the best formation to suit the skills of his best players. Ultimately when Ferrara fielded the heinous Molinaro, he was not able to play Giovinco. Had they been playing together then the left wing would have been completely exposed due to their collective defensive frailties. Thus the question that leaves us begging is what happened to Paolo De Ceglie? Clearly Ferrara prefers to deploy the youngster as a left midfielder but in a squad that boasts a deep midfield and an explosive Atomic Ant, would it not be wise to continue De Ceglie’s training in defence considering Juve’s ailing back-line? Playing De Ceglie as left-back may be a gamble but with playing time, Juventus is almost guaranteed a star whereas Molinaro cannot magically find talent. And if playing without Fabio Grosso meant Gio was benched then why was he not brought on when Grosso arrived? Bringing on the youngster in the last five minutes of the game is a humiliation on to itself considering all that he was able to conjure up in those final moments.
Frankly Juve’s treatment of Seba has been nothing short of appalling. His tiny physique has been the cited as the reason why the youngster finds himself constantly benched. If that is the case then what is being done to fix the problem? Cristiano Ronaldo was built into the man he is today by a certain Valter Di Salvo, the fitness Coach who improved Ronaldo’s strength without impeding his almighty pace. Manchester United recognised the Portuguese’s frailties and worked on improving them to create the best player in the world. Something must be done to boost Seba’s physical strength without taking anything away from his main attributes. His obvious talent deserves attention and a strong club who will work on converting him into an unstoppable force. Should the Turin outfit continue to focus on buying the end product then the management will once again break a tradition that has long characterised the infamous club.
Needless to say, it seems the management have finally begun to accept their failures with news of Alessio Secco’s impending dismissal. Despite his inadequacies as Director, the constant hiring and firing of personnel at Juve will eventually lead to further instability within the team. This club continues to speak of a project and yet there seems to be no clear project in mind. The shambolic disorganisation of management is now evident on the pitch and the walls at Vinovo resonate with the sound of chaos. Jean-Claude Blanc has done well to balance the books and secure the club’s financial freedom but until he puts in place a credible plan on the table, with clear objectives, strategies and philosophies, this Juve will continue to struggle and the likes of Ferrara will be able to get away with defeats as most critics agree he is not the only man to blame in Turin.
Rash decisions with the aim of quick results are what brought this team down to its knees. So before you call for the likes of Guus Hiddink to take over as Juve’s tactician, bear in mind whether this Coach will present the Bianconeri with a solid future or just another short-term option. This is still the man who progressed with South Korea in the World Cup at the expense of renowned footballing nations thanks to dubious referring decisions. The man whose negative tactics implemented at Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Champions League left critics hailing Barcelona’s win as a triumph for football. And this is still the Coach who failed to take Russia to the World Cup finals, losing to less-fancied Slovenia. With all due respect to the man, who has achieved incredible success in his career, is he really the right person to implement the Juventus philosophy, to continue this long term project and convert this team into an awe-inspiring Italian powerhouse?
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 11, 2009