Juventus accumulated yet another loss on Sunday and it is probably safe to say that the season is effectively over for the Bianconeri. There is nothing really left fighting for and in their current form, it is virtually impossible that Juve will get past either Ajax in the Europa League or Inter in the Coppa Italia to bring home any silverware.
The game was ugly in every sense of the word. The heinous pitch at Verona was one thing but the home squad seemed determined to stop Juve even if it meant leaving the opposition in a heap of bloodied mess. But worse than the various casualties suffered in the war against Chievo that will surely result in an even fuller treatment room, was the manner in which the squad played, a manner that has come to define the Juventus of today – a team virtually absent in the midfield. This heart of the squad, a midfield that received a €50m injection of investment, seems incapable of either creating play or stifling opposition. The objective of keeping possession appears to be so strenuous that the only tactic deployed on the pitch is delivering long crosses to the attack from the defence. Running with the ball, delivering short and accurate passes and coping with the pressure from the opposing defence are abilities that are non-existent in this ghastly midfield. Even when possession has been lost, recovering the ball has become a feat that borders on the impossible. It is a lazy game this Juve has succumbed to, a game whereby the arduous task of building play is unachievable resulting in a panic stricken Bianconeri game, filled with inaccurate passing and idle tactics.
Fabio Cannavaro and Fabio Grosso have come to define the abysmal state of the Juventus defence that has some fans crying out for the marginally better Nicola Legrottaglie. The former may have stood firm at the start but age has finally conquered the man leaving his sluggish pace frequently exposed. As for Grosso, he is yet to understand what it means to deliver a short pass as he constantly eyes the long ball, a cross that usually always fails to reach the intended target at the top. Fans also witnessed the debut of newcomer Michele Paolucci, and despite his noticeable love for the Bianconeri jersey, it is fairly obvious that this is a boy who barely manages a regular appearance for Siena. He simply does not have the talent and the fact that the great Juventus has to rely on a player recalled from a loan is beyond comical and yet the medical team is not being questioned.
Despite whichever side of the fence you sit on with regards to Ferrara’s abilities as Coach, sacking the man seems to be the only viable solution to this conundrum. He may well be a scapegoat, he may well have the misfortune of dealing with an incompetent management and he may well have faltered due to the ridiculous number of injuries suffered, but despite all of the above he must go if only to renew the energy in Vinovo. Luciano Moggi explained it perfectly: “By now Ferrara should be sacked because it’s evident that the dressing room no longer follows him and if Juventus were to lose against Roma next Saturday the crisis would become irreversible.” Sacking Ciro would send a clear message to not only the team but to all future Coaches and players who may wish to go to Turin – failure will not be tolerated. A depleted squad is a major factor in the demise of Ferrara but even with limited personnel available, he can still boast a squad filled with Azzurri internationals and two huge summer signings. Perhaps a loss to the stars of Milan is understandable but surely even Juve’s bench players can win against the likes of Catania. Claudio Ranieri was dismissed over a string of draws so it is astonishing that a tactician who has only managed six points out of the last seven games keeps his position when Juventus have dropped out of the top four.
As we have clearly seen with Liverpool this season, a weak and unstable management translates into disaster on the pitch. Rehiring Roberto Bettega was management’s admission of failure and despite the happiness of the fans in seeing his return, it also confirmed the current incumbent’s inability at controlling this catastrophe, calling on outside help. Help was needed, but Bettega’s appointment alone will not save this Old Lady. Despite his brilliance, he is surrounded by weaklings that remain clueless, much like Diego on the pitch – a visible star encircled by inept footballers.
It may appear that there is no silver lining at the end of this tunnel but remember, the Old Lady has suffered similar daunting times before and she has always managed to return to winning ways. Let us hope history repeats itself but in the meantime, from virtually every Juventini out there: Forza Milan.
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