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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Juventus: A Project in Ruins

On Sunday evening, Palermo was 2-0 up at half time against Inter Milan at the San Siro, on the verge of a historic victory. In the second half, Pastore missed a penalty and thereby the chance to go 3-1 up and effectively kill the game. But Inter and in particular Pazzini fought back to win a thrilling game. On Wednesday evening, almost the same Palermo side, now playing at home, were again 2-0 up after 20 minutes. But this time there was no turnaround even after Marchisio's goal in the first half and Palermo bagged all the three points with their fourth straight win against Juventus. One of the newspapers, Il Giornale even came up with the headline "Juventus lose. Maybe this isn't news any more"!

These are difficult days at the Turin club. The Wednesday match was supposed to give some belief to the Bianconeri supporters who came to the Barbera hoping for a change of fortunes as their two most important January signings, Alessandro Matri and Andrea Barzagli, made their debut. Throughout the game, Matri looked isolated at the front and when the opportunities arrived, missed three glorious chances. It is too early to judge the impact he would make on this struggling Juve side but their transfer dealings have been far from impressive. Their bench consisted of Jorge Martinez, Simone Pepe among others, two players bought last summer and mediocre by the standards of the Old Lady of Italian football. Recently their president Andrea Agnelli expressed satisfaction over the January purchases saying ' now the fuel tank has been refilled' but the fans didn't seem to be convinced. Moreover, Inter rubbed salt over Juve's wounds by successfully taking Pazzini from Sampdoria. Pazzini had always been a target for Juventus and add to the the fact that both coach Del Neri and transfer director Marotta previously worked with Sampdoria and Pazzini, came to be of no use. Fullbacks have been another weak link in the team so far, the arrivals of Marco Motta and Traore may influence, or illustrate, the rating you would give to Marotta.

They are currently in 8th place in the serieA standings, out of Coppa Italia and Europa League. They have the same points as they had last season at this time of the year and finishing in the top four looks highly unlikely. However, the recent dismal showing by the Turin giants would not be putting any sort of pressure on Del Neri's job as Juventus have invested far too much to build on this team exactly how he wanted it. The rebuilding project was born last summer with a new coach, new transfer director and new players, looked like taking shape till December when this same side was called title contenders. Since the new year, injury to key players and fatigue factors have led the side down. Milos Krasic has played close to 60 matches this season, since he was playing with the Russian club CSKA Moskva during the summer due to the strange fixtures schedule in Russia. Alberto Aquilani, who impressed so much in the first half of the season that even earned him a call up to the Italian national team, looks to be failing to give the creative spark in the centre of midfield. And as mentioned earlier, depth in the squad lacks enough quality. It would be interesting to see how Juve would perform rest of the season because Del Neri being a disciple of 4-4-2 formation, certainly will not be changing formations or tactics.


  1. Bravo Rossonero! A simple yet beautifully written piece on the Old Lady's recent turnaround.

  2. Yes Thanks JT, I didn't go too much into the tactical details and player analysis because most of the readers have less, or no idea about serieA. So had to keep it simple and still convey the information.