After a truly uninspired season that included elimination from the Champions & Europa Leagues, defeats to Bari, Udinese and…Fulham and, of course, a pathetic 7th place, I’ve finally decided to start posting on the blog again !
Why you may ask ? The answer is simple: Change. There’s an air of change at the club that’s been missing since Calciopoli and long before our season of purgatory in Serie B. The change I speak of has not been confined to a switch in management, a new directorship or the emergence of Andrea Agnelli as club president – It seems to be at the very root of the club, and at every level upwards:
Formation: First off, we look to be returning to the basics – Luigi Del Neri likes to play solid football; 4-4-2 or, at a push, 4 – 3 – 3. Either way, we are going back to getting results first and foremost, the flair and adventure can come later. If that’s what it takes to win Lo Scudetto (as evidenced by Inter under Mourinho), then I’m all for it.
Defence: Secondly, we are doing what we do best – Building from the back. The most successful Juventus sides have always been founded on a strong back line with a formidable duo at the centre of the defence, whether it was Thuram and Cannavaro or Scirea and Gentile. Beppe Marotta has wasted no time in signing Leonardo Bonucci, possibly the most promising defensive prospect in all of Italy to partner the experienced Giorgio Chiellini. Next up, he’s addressed the problem at right back that’s plagued us since Thuram was switched to the centre, by signing Marco Motta and may yet secure a deal for Martin Caceres.
Width: The thing Juventus lacked last season was width. Playing a 4-3-1-2 formation was all well and good in the early days (see Roma and Lazio), but once it emerged that we were relying on Diego to feed the attack, opposition sides were quick to hurry him off the ball, leaving the 3 man midfield to try and shield the defence as best they could. A few games into the season and we resorted to what all footballers know best: long ball’s hoofed up to target men.
Del Neri has been quick to address the problem by bringing in wide men like Martinez and Pepe, both of whom have extensive experience with Catania and Udinese respectively. Whilst the capture of these players may not have been the marquee signings we all expected, they are solid, reliable players that should be given a chance in the new coaches plans.
I presidente: We have an Agnelli back at the helm. Enough said.
Deadwood: Zebina, Tiago, Poulsen, Molinaro, Grosso – All on the chopping block and almost certainly not featuring in Del Neri’s immediate plans. Huzzah ! Huzzah ! Huzzah ! Juventus are finally in the process of a long-overdue clear out and with players like Cannavaro and Molinaro already shipped out, it’s only a matter of time before Marotta ‘convinces’ the remaining deadwood to move on.
All in all, i think we have a right to be optimistic – Given the disastrous season we’ve just had, it’s seems as though we’re moving in the right direction. Expectations are high, and rightly so after so much upheaval – What are your thoughts on the pre season ? Are you happy with the signings ? Can we improve on last season ? (Not difficult, i know!)