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Chievo v. Juventus: Pin The Tail On The Donkey

Goodness me, we played a decent game. But before some of us pile on that turnaround bandwagon we'll need to see some confirmation that there's a conscience effort this Sunday against Chievo to duplicate the same type of attitude and focus we witnessed against Napoli earlier this week. If there is, this game's guaranteed to be a nail-bitter. If there isn't a high level of focus and concentration though, well then, Ferrara's the real donkey.

The difference for me with the Juventus that showed up in the Coppa match against Napoli vs. the one that we've been dealing with for six months, was a side that began going back to the basics. In short, everyone played within themselves and didn't try to do too much. By no means was it a stellar performance as we made some errors here and there, and by no means was Napoli fielding their stars from the get-go, but it's a start in the right direction.

For once Melo didn't try to make any fabulous passes down field, instead he focused on short simple passes that over the 90 mins, went a long way to sustain our possession. Credit goes out to Prandelli Dunga Ciro for guiding the lad back on track finally. We hope. Also, Del Piero finally made a valuable contribution on the pitch this week so everyone will be looking to him again against Chievo. He definitely doesn't have the range for his spot kicks just yet, nor does he have his legs back either, but the quality he can bring to the table is undeniable. When Alex plays well, the others around him get better.

Honorable mentions, De Celgie and Legrottaglie each had great games respectively. Legrottaglie is proving he knows how to defend like an Italian and that means you have to be able to sacrifice yourself. Alessio, save me a seat on the Legro for Fabio bandwagon if he keeps this up. Same goes for De Ceglie. He played tough and always tried to get to the ball first. Finally, someone other our 33 year old Bosnian is stepping up in our midfield.

Recent Transfers:

  • Yago Falqué Silva has returned to Juventus. The midfielder who joined the bianconeri from Barcelona last year spent the whole season with the Juventus Primavera winning the Viareggio Tournament and often training with the first team. In Summer, after the training camp and a number of friendlies he was loaned to Bari. He has now returned to Juventus and was in Vinovo yesterday. []
  • Michele Paolucci has returned to Juventus. The 24-year-old striker, who developed at Juventus and spent time with Ascoli, Udinese, Atalanta, Catania and Siena, arrives to reinforce the striking department on a loan deal until the end of the season. Paolucci will train with his new team-mates and is available for the game against Chievo Verona. [ via]

"I hope to score important goals, I have great memories of being here and it would be wonderful to make my mark with the senior squad after my success in the youth team. When I left here, I was little more than a child. Now I have a few years of Serie A and quite a few goals under my belt. I think the experience traveling around Italy has served me well, making me more prepared and motivated. I’d say my best season was at Catania, as I had more consistency and scored some crucial goals." -Michele Paolucci

Apparently the Paolucci recall cost us €300,000 to break the loan deal six months early. No big deal, it'll come out of Secco's pay cheque. Now I can't say I've seen a lot of Michele's stuff, probably since the Juventus youth product has never made a single appearance yet, but from what I have seen of him he looks like an all around problem for defenders. Intense, energetic, scrappy come to mind.

He mainly came off the bench for Siena this season making just ten appearances but notched two goals in that short period of time. Personally I think it's a crime this kid hasn't had some first team action with his parent club's colours yet so I'll be cheering for him throughout this one. Considering the way Giovinco's being treated, maybe staying away for a couple years helped Michele after all. Hopefully he'll impress so he won't be on the back burners once Iaquinta and T-Rez come back. That would suck if we recalled him only for tomorrow's game because Amauri's suspended. Talk about stifling progress.

With Yago, I have no idea what we're dealing with. We badly needed midfielders with Tiago, Poulsen, Camoranesi, Sissoko, and Giovinco unavailable, so the move gives us an extra body we might be able to use, albeit in a bench warming capacity though. We signed him from Barcelona's youth system. I can tell you one thing, he's no Xavi or they wouldn't have let him go. That said the kid can still be great, however it's gonna take some time.

Playing Chievo at home is going to be really tough. They've got some potency up front with the poor man's Di Natale and Floro Flores duo in Sergio Pellissier and Elvis Abbruscato. Containing Sergio [see comments] Bogdani and Elvis whilst keeping their trequartista Pinzi in check shouldn't be a problem physically for Felipe Melo, Chiellini, and Legrottaglie. As long as our players remember the roles each one of them can, and must, play, I can't see us losing this one. However, lose concentration for a few seconds and maybe our coaching staff looks different next week. Oh and before I forget, guess who's back?

Match links: (match thread)