Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More Than Just a Draw

One point versus a formidable opponent.  Coming out of the match with battle wounds to Momo Sissoko and Armand Traore.  We, the tifosi, can't help thinking that the players are our there playing with everything they have.  Yet, I would argue otherwise.
     Simone Pepe as a seconda punta? Did Gigi Del Neri wake up and decide that Simone Pepe could play striker in the blink of an eye?  Truth is that Gigi is running very low on his options and starting Pepe up top with Amauri is basically like playing without a striker.  The game changed with the introduction of Del Piero and Martinez in the second half.  They each changed the game with more pace in regards to Martinez and ball possession when discussing Del Piero.  
     Even our great legend Alex Del Piero missed a sitting duck at the end of the game against Sampdoria with just two minutes left in stoppage time.  It was a result from a beautiful feed by Marco Motta set up by Martinez.  Krasic wasn't necessarily having the game of his life and never really showed that he was involved.  It might be because he hasn't stopped playing in a full year much like Felipe Melo of last year.  So we won't judge Milos too harshly. 
     The defense was more than formidable even though we were forced into an early substitution due to a knock Traore picked up.  He likely won't be returning to the club next year considering he hasn't provided much to this point at all.  Whenever he has been given the chance to make an impact he'd suffer a setback.  
     Gigi Buffon didn't have much to do, but made some courageous plays on corners to get involved which indicates that he isn't really concerned with his recovery anymore.  
     Where is Giuseppe Marotta during this whole debacle?  We certainly just let Giuseppe Rossi's price skyrocket by allowing him the time to sign a contract extension with Vilarreal.  This now makes a €15 Million move jump to at least €22 Million.  Instead we are looking for cheap alternatives like Forlan and Fabiano which is very frustrating because through interviews we learned they just want out of their clubs and are not really interested in donning the black and white. 
     For a club that has indicated its strength in the financial area as having no debts and operating in the black we are afraid to make negotiations go forth to bring in players that will give us a bright present, but even brighter future.  Some players need to be moved out gradually such as:  Grygera, Legrotaglie, and Manninger.  
     The players we need to see leave immediately are: Amauri, Iaquinta, Grygera, and Stoarari (while we can turn a profit).  Luca Toni can stick around solely because he was brought in on the cheap and can give us the height in attack for a late aerial attack.  
     Players that the club should consider bringing in by the start of next season are: Giovinco, Criscito, Rossi, Luis Suarez, Eljero Elia, and Greg Van der Wiel.  This cast of players can immediately return our team to prominence on top of the league where we rightfully belong.  If Calciopoli 2 turns in our favor then expect major compensation which will allow us to purchase this group or at least players of their caliber.  
     So we learned a lot through this match with Sampdoria.  From understanding that we are not Scudetto worthy this season, but that we are also not too far off and in the next few years we will receive our Terza (3rd) Stella (Star).  Juventini, we must display patience and be prepared for a bright and promising future after the construction of our new stadium.   


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bari Redemption. Samp Next?

     We managed to defeat Bari in what was a subpar display from our defense once again.  The one positive I think we can all take is the return of Gigi Buffon.  To have a champion return after so much time off and play a decent game through rarely tested is very important for the club going forward.  We know that we need to obtain a striker, but I am closer to the idea that we should reinforce the back just as Moggi has been instructing us to do.  Who can we buy? Well Greg Van der Wiel is my pick and I hope we can work that out.
     Transfer talk is just that as it is all talk.  We can speculate all we want, but we won't know until a deal is set in stone.
     Sampdoria is next up for our Vecchia Signora and this is no easy test.  Kiko Macheda has just scored his first goal for Samp since his arrival during the Coppa Italia clash with Udinese.  Giampaolo Pazzini is making positive strides to rediscovering his form and will need to put on a powerful performance if he is to convince the Juventus board to make him the primary attacking option for the summer.  So the strikers will pose the biggest threat on our Juve and have the ability to make the difference.  Stefano Guberti is making great strides to cement himself in the starting 11 and Ziegler has been gaining a lot of praise in Europe.  Curci played brilliantly in Week 2 when we finished 3-3 and is looking poised to put up another solid performance.
     Let's look at this from our side of the spectrum now.  Aquilani is hopefully going to be beaming on the pitch after his brilliant volley-goal for victory against Bari.  Marchisio and Aquilani will be the center of the park partners for Juve come the weekend and that is a very attractive partnership for Prandelli to take a closer look at.  Up top we can expect to see Alex and Amauri as Del Neri has already announced he wants to give Amauri another chance to shine.  Do I agree? No. Plain and simple as I am sure many of you would agree that Amauri would be better off watering the grass at Vinovo.  Simone Pepe and Milos Krasic will likely man the wings although I am the person calling to see Martinez get his chance on the left to give us more creativity.
     Defensively it will likely be Grosso-Chiellini-Bonucci-Sorensen which is what has been working and Del Neri should have never tampered with that.  Buffon in net so no concern there.
     I feel we can come out of this game with a 2-1 victory and it will likely be decided on an Alex drawn penalty.  We can be hopeful at least to get some help from the rest of the league as we aim to climb back into the Top 4.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What Did Napoli Teach Us?


It is possible that injuries held us back in today's encounter in which Edinson Cavani-Marek Hamsik-Ezequiel Lavezzi all brought us into a reality check that was much needed.  Now one would have to expect Marotta to go out and get the power brokers of the club to cough up some January funds so that we can compete for the top 4 for a full season.  Serie A is strengthening with Napoli, Palermo, and Sampdoria all growing in strength and size.

Now, starting Luca Toni and Amauri could have been the most questionable move I have ever seen in all my years watching the club and even the sport in particular.  You would have to think Gigi Del Neri just felt that Pepe and Krasic would be able to get around Campagnaro and Maggio with the intent to swing a ball into the box for one of these two clumsy attackers. Ehem...that wasn't happening.

Set aside what the game would have looked like had Luca Toni's good call stood.  We learned a lot today about the club and Del Neri.

Del Neri:

1) He is human and can make errors.
2) Must have been choosing which cheese to have at dinner when he put the young Traore in for his official Serie A debut in a very threatening environment like the San Paolo.  The young frenchman has a lot of promise, but this was not the game to test and judge him.
3) Won't accept that he should be demanding a striker and after missing out on an inexpensive (FREE) Cassano he should have gone out and claimed Giuseppe Rossi who would fit the EU-Rule.

1) The need for depth at the back for certain.  Grygera was more alarming to me than Traore was.  Grygera is a veteran and has been a part of this club for some time and has seen Napoli for over 5 years now.  He was responsible for the two uncontested headers by Cavani (first and third).
2) Amauri+Iaquinta+Luca Toni+Alex Del Piero= no pace up front which makes the offense far too predictable.  Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava were looking world-class out there.  There came a point where one would think we were opposing Thiago Silva+ Alessandro Nesta.
3) Every ball to Krasic is going to get old very quickly if we continue to swing the ball to Milos when in doubt.  It is become easy to defend as you can double-team him and bring in a striker deep to cover his back leading to a triple-team.  Time to go out and get that Left-Wing that we need desperately.
4) Lack of depth at striker is going to cause us to trickle down the table.  Ciro Ferrara brought up a valuable point when he said "I had the same amount of points as this Juve when I was in charge at this point in the season".  Scary to think he said this back in November.

So what do we do now? We just got thrashed two games in a row.  Both results came by our own hand. Giovinco-Mirante-Palladino and today the poor selections made by Del Neri.

It is best that we move on, but we will never see Top 4 this season if we do not go out and acquire at least a striker.  Sorensen and Grosso can handle the back a bit better while De Ceglie is expected back within two weeks and so Grosso can have an alternate.

We don't address a striker we will fall into the Europa League again and miss out on the Champions League funding that can be added to the expected revenue earned from our own stadium next season.  Top 4 has and always will be the goal for the next two years.

      *Cavani after his first goal on his way to the hat-trick*

Remaining patient is the key at this time, but hopefully Marotta doesn't share in our patience.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Marotta Should Be Doing

     We all understand that injuries are a major part of football and there may not be a team in the world that can match up to our injuries.  Most recently the season ending knee injury to Fabio Quagliarella.  Watching the game at 6:30 am I can honestly tell you that when Fabio covered his face and reached up at the sky I knew this was not good.  It reminded me so much of Pippo Inzaghi's injury and well ask Milan how they addressed that...Antonio Cassano ( FOR FREE).

     Now the sad thing is that if we showed more faith in our prospects such as: Giovinco or Palladino to name a few then we would not be discussing the 4-1 thrashing that we suffered against Parma.  Although end of the day Felipe Melo's impersonation of a Jet-Li kick to the face was impressive, but completely ignorant.  It was at this point that Amauri replaced Quagliarella and my first thought was "It is like playing a man down", sure enough five minutes later Melo loses his mind and puts boot to face.  So now we are not only a man down, but two men down (we don't count Amauri ever).  It didn't take long for Gigi Del Neri to realize Del Piero is someone who needs possession to succeed and this wasn't happening down a man against an aggressive team like Parma.  So Alex suffered the ill-fate of the bench and in his place comes Simone Pepe (we are now three men down).  This is the point where you just have to hope let's not get embarrassed.

Now I want to address our January Transfer Campaign to-date.

1) We were reached out to by Dzeko and he gave us an opportunity to get to him before the Oil Citizens of Eastlands.  We didn't do it and missed out on another striker.  Maybe one of the best strikers at Under-25.  One positive here is that if Edin flops in England it can just once again prove the weakness of the Bundesliga versus Serie A.

2) We decided to bring in Luca Toni for free as we opted to pick up his contract.  Now though many are frustrated and confused by this signature because now we have three big doofs (Toni, Amauri, Iaquinta) this could actually be a good move.  He has a connection with most of our players whereas in Genoa he has never been on a field with any of the footballers.  He has great aerial technical ability and still plays every game with incredible passion.  Unlike Amauri, Luca Toni isn't always found with his ass to the floor begging for a call.  So we will see Sunday how this is gonna pay its due.

3) We need a fullback and a center-back.  Who can we obtain? Well why not give Ajax a call and see what can be done for Greg Van der Wiel?  He is rated at 12 Million Euro and I am confident a payment plan can be arranged to bring him in for January.  He is EU eligible and so there is nothing restricting us.  This would be my target by summer, but if we need a cheaper alternative then it is possible we can ask for Diego Contento from Bayern Munchen on a loan-deal that will include a buyout clause.  He is a German-born Italian which fits our approach for the upcoming 6+5 rule.

4) Things in Ajax should not stop with Greg Van der Wiel.  There are the rumors that we are prepared to offer 15 Million Euro from Atletico Madrid, but I say why not bid 15 Million Euro on his World Cup partner of the 2010 World Cup- Luis Suarez.  Luis Suarez has seen his stock drop big time as he has been struggling just a bit of late and the World Cup fever has subdued.  He is also six years younger than Forlan as well as not dealing with injuries like Diego.

    We understand that we don't have the funds to compete in a head-to-head bout with some heavyweights in January.  Let's put things into perspective Beppe Marotta!  You want us in the Champions League next year? So do we the fans and most certainly the players.  How can we compete with teams like Milan, Lazio, Palermo, Napoli, and Inter?  Each of these clubs has already lined up players to fill the holes and some clubs like Milan and Palermo have already executed transfers to strengthen the depth of the squad.

Luca Toni himself is not going to be the answer.  Bonucci and Chiellini need more efficient coverage if they are going to be allowed a game off or be stung with an injury.  Vincenzo Cammilleri is a promising youngster and I'd rather see him fill in for one of our star center-backs than seeing Nicola Leggrotaglie.  Fred Sorrensen has been magnificent at right-back, but he is out of position so this is why I believe Van der Wiel is the perfect signing for now because it will allow for deeper coverage for our two star center-backs.

Things need to be done or we are missing another year of Champions League.  We are opening a new stadium come June and I'd think that we'd aim to be playing in Europe's Premiere competition.

P.S. Giuseppe Rossi has issued a come and get me plea directly to Juventus when he learned of Fabio Quagliarella's season-ending injury, but that doesn't seem to be giving us the urgency to both address current needs while building for the future.

End of the day we must maintain the faith because quite frankly... Siamo Sempre Juventini!!!