Diego 2, Grosso 69
Alberto Zaccheroni’s experimentation continues as he opted to start a 4-3-2-1 Christmas Tree formation with Diego and Antonio Candreva playing behind David Trezeguet.
The combination of two playmakers up-front worked perfectly in the very second minute as Candreva’s delightful pass set up Diego’s goal. The goal was not without controversy as replays suggest there was a hint of offside. But the attacking duo provided the much-needed creativity in Juventus’ attacks throughout the game. In the second half, Candreva appeared to have drifted to the right and the formation took shape to 4-4-1-1, but this did not affect his contribution as he continued to launch speedy attacks.
Not for first time this season, a former Juventus player came back to haunt the Bianconeri faithful. Sergio Almiron had completed the humiliation by scoring the third goal when Bari defeated Juventus 3-1 in back in December. Last week, former Juventus forward Fabrizio Miccoli scored a stunning goal for Palermo against his former club. Yesterday, Marco Marchionni was dangerous on the right wing and scored the equalising goal as well. Players who have left Juventus in past few seasons appear to be doing well at their respective clubs. Cristian Molinaro, Federico Balzaretti, Domenico Crisctio and Antonio Nocerino are few such names that come to one’s mind. Even Tiago Mendes has asked for his Atletico Madrid move to be made permanent.
The lengthy injury list of Juventus seems to have two deletions and two additions. Paolo De Ceglie received a knock and was replaced at half-time. Also, Giorgio Chiellini was injured in a collision with Alex Manninger and Keirrison. The situation of both defenders is unknown at the moment. Vincenzo Iaquinta made his first appearance since facing Fiorentina themselves last October. His energy and pace on field was sorely missed during all these months and his comeback will be a huge sigh of relief for the Bianconeri faithful. Christian Poulsen also returned after an injury lay-off. Although the midfield was sufficiently reinforced with the introduction of Candreva, Poulsen can provide a replacement for Felipe Melo, who can sometimes be a liability in midfield. Melo did not commit any major mistakes yesterday, but he gave the ball away on a number of occasions, at least one of which led to a swift Fiorentina counter-attack.
Fiorentina were far from being awful and a draw would perhaps be a fair result. Their effort on the pitch was visible as they produced a total of 13 shots, but with no end product. Alberto Gilardino wasted a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise on the ninth minute. This lack of edge in front of the goal has been visible on several occasions this season. Not only does Champions League qualification seem to be impossible for Fiorentina, but even their Europa League chances seem to be in jeopardy with Napoli and Palermo are in red hot form this season. A disproportionately large number of refereeing decisions have gone against la Viola and their lengthy injury list is compounding problems.