Juventus Risk Missing Out On Champions League, But It May Be Good For The Club

Posted on 01/03/2010


Following last night’s humiliating home defeat to Palermo, Carlo Garganese argues that the increasingly possible Champions League failure may actually benefit Juventus.

So much has been said in recent weeks about Juventus’ appalling season that there isn’t too much to add anymore. The bottom line is that for as long as the current management are calling the shots, the Bianconeri will continue to humiliate themselves and their supporters.

Which is why failure to finish in the top four this term may actually do the club some good. It would pin unbearable pressure on the likes of Jean Claude Blanc and Alessio Secco, and the hierarchy, and it is questionable whether they could survive any attempted seizure of power.

Tension is high in Turin. All talk of a recovery under Alberto Zaccheroni prior to last night’s visit of Palermo was utter nonsense. After draws against Lazio and Livorno, the Old Lady only defeated Genoa 3-2 at home due to a non-existent penalty, they were outplayed at Bologna and extremely fortunate to win as the hosts missed a string of chances including an open goal, while in midweek they took part in the most uneventful goalless draw in years against a dismal Ajax side minus their only exceptional player Luis Suarez.

There has been little to no improvement from Ciro Ferrara’s ill-fated reign. A few tactical adjustments have helped in certain game scenarios, but all the general problems remain – susceptibility in defence and out wide, no penetration or pace in attack, and the inability to even string two passes together. The only real difference up until yesterday was that Zaccheroni had enjoyed some exceptionally good luck that escaped the Neapolitan hero.

This fortune ran out against Palermo, who deservedly won 2-0 in the Olimpico thanks to a brilliant Fabrizio Miccoli strike and a gift-wrapped tap-in for substitute Igor Budan following a disastrous Zdenek Grygera error.

The Sicilians have now moved two points above Juve into fourth place on 43 points. With just 12 games of the season remaining, it is now looking increasingly possible that the Bianconeri will miss out on Champions League qualification. While there are as many as seven teams in with a good chance of snatching the final prestigious ticket to Europe’s premier competition, Juve’s toughest challengers could be Palermo and Napoli who boast significantly easier run-ins than their northern rivals.

Juventus face daunting away trips to Fiorentina, Inter, Milan, Sampdoria, and Napoli, with a journey to a revived Udinese tricky too. In order to take fourth place, Zaccheroni’s men must win all their home games, and earn some valuable points on the road while hoping the Azzurri and Palermo slip up in their more favourable matches.  

43 Palermo: Livorno (h), Udinese (a), Inter (h), Genoa (a), Bologna (h), Catania (a), Chievo (h), Cagliari (a), Milan (h), Siena (a), Sampdoria (h), Atalanta (a)

41 Juventus:
 Fiorentina (a), Siena (h), Sampdoria (a), Napoli (a), Atalanta (h), Udinese (a), Cagliari (h), Inter (a), Bari (h), Catania (a), Parma (h), Milan (a) 

40 Napoli: Bologna (a), Fiorentina (h), Milan (a), Juventus (h), Catania (h), Lazio (a), Parma (h), Bari (a), Cagliari (h), Chievo (a), Atalanta (h), Sampdoria (a) 

40 Sampdoria: Lazio (h), Bologna (a), Juventus (h), Bari (a), Cagliari (h), Chievo (a), Genoa (h), Milan (h), Roma (a), Livorno (h), Palermo (a), Napoli (h) 

38 Genoa: Inter (a), Cagliari (h), Fiorentina (a), Palermo (h), Siena (a), Livorno (h), Sampdoria (a), Parma (a), Lazio (h), Bari (a), Milan (h), Catania (a) 

38 Cagliari: Catania (h), Genoa (a), Lazio (h), Atalanta (a), Sampdoria (a), Milan (h), Juventus (a), Palermo (h), Napoli (a), Udinese (h), Roma (a), Bologna (h) 

35 Fiorentina: Juventus (h), Napoli (a), Genoa (h), Catania (a), Udinese (h), Parma (a), Inter (h), Atalanta (a), Chievo (h), Milan (a), Siena (h), Bari (a)

Juventus’ crippling injury situation doesn’t help. With Amauri out for a month, and long-term absentee Vincenzo Iaquinta still struggling to return, opponents will hardly be quaking in their boots at the prospect of facing Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet who are far too slow to play together these days.

While top four failure would be a disaster in the short term, a financial hit that would complicate attracting top class players this summer, in the long term it could help prevent Juventus from becoming the new, old Inter of before the Calciopoli crisis.

So unless the fans want to wait until 2024 to win the Scudetto again, perhaps another season in the Europa League won’t be too much of a sacrifice.

What are your views on this topic? Will Juventus miss out on the top 4? Would it do them good to fail? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think…