His hat-trick against Cagliari, his three assists that allowed Juve a win against Lecce, and his last minute goal against Lazio, are a few reasons why Juventus fans think of Milos Krasic as their saviour. A great player there can be no doubt, but is he really a champion?
On Sunday night, Luigi Del Neri decided to flex his tactical muscles against Roma. Starting off with a 4-3-3 that on closer inspection looked more like a 4-5-1 formation, due to Roma’s excellent ability to hold possession, the Coach quickly realised his tactics needed altering. With Alessandro Matri appearing isolated at the top as Juventus sat deep relying on long balls to break through, the Coach switched to a shape resembling a 4-4-1-1 and fielded Krasic in the centre behind Matri to balance out the squad and offer the striker more support. Offering further insight, Krasic’s role on the night highlighted his strengths as a player, as we saw him roam across the pitch to exploit space but it also underlined his limitations – ensuring that he cannot, as of yet, be referred to as champion.
An old-fashioned winger, very few can compete with Krasic offensively. His ability to attack spaces and relentlessly deceive opponents makes him a delight to watch and a tricky player to mark. Against Roma he ran incessantly, covering as much space as was required. His darting runs through the middle carefully sliced open the woeful Roman defence on Sunday night and the wicked right-footed volley he unleashed from a Fabio Grosso cross secured the opening goal for Juventus against a team that has yet to win against the Bianconeri at home since 2004.
However, upon closer inspection of his play, one can deduce that whilst the player offers a real threat to the opponent, his lack of footballing intelligence coupled with his defensive ineptitude, restrict him from being thought of as a true gem. Frequently piercing the defence as he ran through the middle trailed by three or four Giallorossi players, outpacing them and often outwitting them, Krasic always failed at the final hurdle as he continuously made poor decisions. Possessing a dogged-like determination to hold on to the ball, his reluctance to pass to those teammates in better positions resulted in countless wasted opportunities. Aware of his mistakes, Krasic failed to offer more than a feeble apology to the likes of Simone Pepe who were left stranded, waiting for a pass than never arrived – a pass that separates true footballing genius from good players.
Offensively, the player can improve. His countless assists at the start of the season show he is not above delivering the perfect pass for another to convert. However defensively, the player poses a huge problem. In order to allow for his talent, Juventus has to work twice as hard at the back and in midfield to allow him the freedom to create. Defensive ineptitude was a big factor in Juventus’ decision to let go of Sebastian Giovinco and, unfortunately, Krasic has the same problem. The Serbian’s inability to track back and offer support to his full-back when possession is lost increases the pressure on midfield – doubling their work and forcing them to sacrifice continuously. Felipe Melo is regularly tasked with offering defensive support to the right-back, acting as an auxiliary defender to shut down the space whilst Alberto Aquilani is in charge of directing attacking passes to the fast winger, limiting his own potential to push up and offer central support.
The midfield’s hard work has paid off and for only €15m, Krasic is indeed worth every penny. His pace alone makes him a vital asset and the fact that he continues to make the difference despite playing non-stop football for a year make him a refreshing addition to any team. However, he will require better vision and more determination at the back before he can be hailed as a champion in the mould of those before him in a Juventus jersey.