One step forward, two steps back

Posted on 02/03/2010


By Mina Rzouki | Footballitaliano

Everyone was wondering how long this was all going and the bubble seems to have finally burst. Juventus went back to losing ways as they were both outplayed and outclassed by a side that is known for its dismal run of form away from home.

It is very hard to comment on this game and whilst most can easily point out where Coach Alberto Zaccheroni erred, it would be difficult to see how anyone could do better with the squad he had at his disposal. It seems once again, a full treatment room has taken its toll on the Bianconeri, threatening their chance at a top four finish. Having said that, Zac could have at least attempted to try and find a way to resolve the conundrum that faced the squad on Sunday night and waiting until the 79th minute to make the first substitution is enough to have you wishing you were part of the home tifosi who were setting a part of the stadium alight.

Evidently, Juventus are void of ideas when it comes to going forward and the fact that they were only handed a meagre few set pieces, coupled with the fatigued performances of both Alessandro Del Piero and Diego meant that they were not able to score a single goal. If you missed the match against Palermo then do not fear. All you need to is watch a few minutes of the match, rewind and then watch it over again to have an idea of what happened on the night. To put it simply, all the Bianconeri did was carry the ball into the opposition’s half, take a few moments to ponder to whom they should pass, decide to cross to the middle (regardless of how congested the area was) and then watch as Palermo cleared the danger baffled at their inability to penetrate.

Antonio Candreva, seemingly aware of the dire lack of width in his team, improvised and attempted to go out wide to give his side some variation in attack. As a consequence, the Turin giants seemed that tiny bit more capable in the first half. However, Juve were still unable to create many clear cut chances as they once again suffered the consequences of their narrow game. The centralised pressure gave the visitors’ defence an easy time as their full backs happily slotted themselves alongside the centre backs and watched as the Bianconeri attempted to penetrate the same area of the pitch, aware of the little threat that came from the wings. As such, life was made even more difficult for the Old Lady who had to contend with four defenders in the middle which is obviously, a lot harder to break down. It is problem that has plagued this team practically all season and one that is hard to rectify considering the list of injuries and Management’s decision to not invest in wingers in the summer. The current players available cannot be taught to make use of the flanks and it appears Juve will have to continue suffering similar problems. It is vital that come summer, Alessio Secco purchases more wingers to offer the team further help at the top and in the meantime, perhaps the youth team can be called upon to offer their help.

However despite the limited options, Zaccheroni should have at least attempted change. Fabio Grosso should have come on a lot earlier and it should have been to replace either Momo Sissoko or Felipe Melo. Grosso is good at making runs forward if only to distract the visitors’ full backs and allow Diego a little more space to create something in the middle. The Sicilians were hardly causing the Bianconeri defence much trouble so it was a waste of a player when Zac decided to play two defensive midfielders when only one would have sufficed. In fact the delay in bringing on any substitutes was baffling. It was evident that tactics needed to change and granted the few options available to the Coach, it was hard to comprehend exactly why he waited so long before introducing new players. It almost seemed like he was aware that his team was going to lose and he was only concentrating on limiting the amount of goals conceded as opposed to scoring any on the other end. In fact, since the team was losing anyway, why not gamble and allow Luca Marrone a chance to play and build his confidence. Perhaps he would have been able to inspire his team to claim one back.
Truthfully, this was a shambolic performance from the Bianconeri who not only conceded a joke of goal but whose attacking prowess was non-existent. Had it not been for Salvatore Sirigu’s comical and rather ridiculous dives to save wide efforts from the home team then this perhaps would have been considered the dullest game the Old Lady has played this season.

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