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Bianconeri Dreams Crushed By Elephants: Juventus 2-2 Catania

It's nearly 8 hours after the match ended, and I'm still fuming about the whole thing. To draw 2-2 to Catania at home is absolutely unacceptable. To do so in the manner we did is utterly infuriating, and beyond unacceptable. The club needs to transfer Pavel Nedved from CdA member to the training staff, to whip everyone's asses after this disgusting performance, and that includes Gigi Delneri. Start doing suicides old man, you're responsible too.

Italy Soccer Serie A

I don't even know where to start with this ridiculous match. It should have been put away far before Bergonzi handed Catania a point on a silver platter, so as much as he's a colossal asshole who should be banned from refereeing for life (you should remember him) it's not even his fault. It's the entire team, that went up 2-0 and mentally shut off as we've seen countless times. It's Krasic, for failing to bury the goddamn ball in the net and for giving up the ball so easily that led to the "first-FK-given-after-stoppage-time-was-over." It's Grosso and Marchisio, who failed to mark Gomez lurking at the far post on the simplest of counter attacks. It's Delneri for watching his team contently sit back and failing to do anything about. It's all of them. The rest of the post can be summed up as this:

TL,DR; An angry amateur blogger named Aaron has harsh words for just about everyone

It infuriates me, because the entire team showed no real urgency about killing off the game when it was 2-0. No one player was at fault, and that makes it worse. If it was one player who screwed up the game, bench him, or loan him out to Atletico Madrid. The entire second half, for whatever reason, Catania gave up and we could have scored 5, until one of them looked at their watch and said "Hey, we have 15 minutes left! 0 points isn't good for avoiding Serie B, let's do something!" I don't buy the excuse of 2-0 is a secure scoreline. It is for a great team that can grind out wins, fuck, it's a good enough scoreline for Ranieri who drew far too many games, but at least was able to defensively organize his team to avoid conceding late goals.

Sure enough- Catania pulled one back, and suddenly we looked nervous as shit. Catania took the initiative, and while our players individually held up well enough to prevent any clear opportunities, it was a one way assault on goal. Some might say "if Lodi missed the FK, we'd be praising the team for grinding one out." Absolutely false. If he missed it, I'd still be ranting about letting the opponent back into a game when they have no business to do so, albeit probably with less profanity. It's unacceptable to let a shit team creep back into contention at your home. We're talking about a terrible team here, one we beat 3-1 in Sicily, and one that conceded 4 to Lazio at home last week. Their defense was just as shambolic, but we didn't capitalize, assuming 2-0 was good enough. All they needed was that 1 goal, and we panicked. Was anyone surprised? No.


Buffon: 6- Had very little to do, as the defense for the most part did stellar. Commanded his area well enough, there was a nervy moment or two, but nothing he could do on the two goals. When I saw Buffon angrily walk off the field, I was somewhat pleased. He was furious, and rightfully so. THAT'S THE TYPE OF ATTITUDE I WANT TO SEE WHEN YOU LOSE THE GAME FOR US AGAINST MILAN, AT HOME. Not smiling and joking with the player who scored on you, however good a friend he may be, it can wait.

Motta: 6- I'll give the kid some credit. Stupid yellow card aside, he did well today, defensively he held his own, and certainly helped out Krasic more than Sorensen did. Certainly had to come off at half-time as I trust Motta on a yellow less than Bergonzi at the San Paolo, but a good display. I still don't want him wearing Bianconero next year, unless it's back at Udinese.
Bonucci: 6- A positive display for Leo, who has been improving after a dip in form. Understanding is getting better with Barzagli.
Barzagli: 6.5- I'll be honest, I was very hesitant about the ex-Palermo man coming in January, at Palermo he was poor and too inconsistent, prone to some real shockers. I think by-in-large, he's been better than Bonucci since his arrival, and looks like a solid 3rd-choice CB for the next few years.
Grosso: 6.5- Did a fairly good job keeping Gomez quiet and never hesitated to move up the flanks, with some real positive offensive forays. Catania's 1st goal is partially his fault, as he left Gomez to Marchisio (seemingly not telling him) to cover...absolutely no one. But keep tanning, Fabio. It's done such a wonderful job hiding Berlusconi's age, maybe that's the ticket for you too.

Italy Soccer Serie A
Kissing 2 points goodbye?

Krasic: 5- If I had to pick one person as my goat-of-the-match, it'd be Milos. A few good plays here and there, one that led to a counter-attack and an assist for Del Piero's second goal, but otherwise was poor. Had a few golden chances to put the match away in the 2nd half, and didn't do it. 3v1, and he puts in a terribly heavy ball to Pepe. Worst of all, an extremely casual turnover in the 94th minute forced Felipe Melo to foul Gomez, and that led to Catania's equalizer.
Aquilani: 6- As Catania started to turn on the heat in the end, it required Alberto to do be fast, and defensive, two aspects of his game that are not exactly his strong point. In the first half though, a few bad passes aside, Alberto was solid. We need to sign him this summer.
Felipe Melo: 6.5- Another good game from our resident man-child, who broke up attacks and did well anchoring the midfield. I had a brief discussion with Gabriele Marcotti on Twitter about Felipe in the last few minutes. You all know that I am not exactly the first member of Felipe's fan club, but blaming him for tonight is a knee-jerk reaction unfounded in fact, and trust me, I'd love to slag him off for this one. That late in the game, fouling Gomez that far from the goal is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, especially when one of your teammates just casually handed him the ball. It's far enough from the goal that it should be no problem, and Gomez was a tricky sonofabitch. And blaming him for the "handball" that led to the 2nd free kick is ridiculous, that should never have been called by Bergonzi. Felipe's arm was pinned to his chest, it wasn't held out, it wasn't deliberate, it was impossible to avoid it anymore. As Delneri said, "What is Felipe supposed to do, take his arm off?"
Marchisio: 5.5- An okay performance. He failed to track Gomez for Catania's first goal, although he was a bit left in the lurch by Grosso's decision to pull centrally. Otherwise, I've said time and time again, I don't like Marchisio being played in the mezz'ala role as it is forcing a square peg in a round hole, all for the sake of "playing it safe." Marchisio deserves better. Juventus deserves better.

Italy Soccer Serie A

Matri: 5.5- Drifted out wide, supplied crosses, but didn't attack the net enough. Had a good opportunity here and there, but wasn't playing as a prima punta as he should. Maybe he was confused going from a 4-4-2 with him wide (February with Toni) to a 4-5-1 as the sole prima punta, to a traditional 2-man partnership up top.
Del Piero: 7.5- A magical performance from the captain, the two goals being his personal "lowlights" of the match. People who didn't watch the game might see his penalty and chested-goal-he-knew-nothing-about, but Ale was inspirational tonight. Constantly dribbling through Catania defenders, setting up beautiful chances (his backheel to Matri was genius) it was clear the Etnei defense couldn't handle him, so they resorted to fouling him from behind in the 2nd half.

Delneri: 4.5- Quite disappointed with his management of the 2nd half. The subs were ones meant to preserve a 2-0 win, as Sorensen, Pepe, and Toni are like-for-like defensive replacements for Motta, Del Piero, and Matri. But as I said against Lech Poznan 6 months ago, it's far more than defensive subs, it's that there was a clear mentality of "okay, 2-0 is a good score, let's finish out that way." I said above that makes sense if your team can close out the match like that, Delneri should know after 10 months at Juventus that we are not psychologically at that level.
Sorensen: 4.5- Came on and made Motta look calm and competent. Enough said.
Toni: 5- Didn't really manage to do anything in his time on the pitch, one decent header aside. Didn't hold up the ball at all.
Pepe: 5- His non-goal aside, I cannot remember anything about Pepe in this match. I don't even have a clue where he was playing, was he supposedly a seconda punta? Anonymous.


Things I Think I Think:

#1- I owe my roommate a new plate and glass: Sorry man.

#2- Mauro Bergonzi, You Are a Worthless: First the Napoli debacle, then he harshly sends off Manuel Giandonato against Chievo, he's had a bad record against us, not to mention the Melo non-handball. While his record is definitely more negative than anything for Juve, there's ample evidence he's just a terrible referee in general. Against Cesena, he should have sent Buffon off. How do you not send him off, but you do Giandonato? Buffon had no one behind him, Giandonato had maybe two or three that could have covered. Today was further proof- the handball at the end was a non-call, and the penalty probably too. At first I thought it was for a push on Melo, was confused, saw the Catania players remonstrating and Bergonzi explaining it was a handball. I reviewed it several times. It does appear Capuano touches it with his hand, but I have watched it 2-3 and don't understand why you would call that a penalty- maybe by the book, but harsh as hell. At first, Juventus players had no idea why it was called, either.

#3- What was Catania's deal? Seriously. This is a team battling relegation, and after two rather fortunate goals for Juve, they just kind of gave up and their awful defense let our awful offense have all the awful attempts on goal we wanted. And then suddenly, they realized, "hey, we might be in Serie B soon" and snapped into motion. What the hell? Did Simeone tell them "hey preserve your energy for the last 15 minutes?" I don't think so, and I'm totally confused. I was also rather entertained by their celebration of the win draw that gives them 1 point. I guess you need to celebrate everything at that level, but seriously, you guys just got 1 point from 0. That doesn't help enormously, it's not like you won the Coppa Italia or something.

#4- Catania Classy in "Victory": All of the comments coming from the Catania players and coach were rather surprising in how they paid tribute to Del Piero. Gomez said "Certainly the match changed with Del Piero's exit, he is one of the best in the world and to not have to play against him is an advantage." Coach Simeone agreed, "Along with Baggio and Totti, he marks an epic era of Italian football, to play against him is an honor and he makes you realize that more than some others." The other goal scorer Francesco Lodi one-upped both of them, saying "I'm sorry for Juve, but this was an important point for us. Del Piero is a great man in all aspects, he scored two goals today, but even them aside, being on the pitch you see how great and humble he is at the same time. To score a free kick in Del Piero's stadium is truly something exceptional."

#5- I officially don't like the hybrid 4-3-3/4-4-2: Shifting Marchisio to the LM was originally something we did against Inter to counter Maicon's threat against the inexperienced Paolo De Ceglie. It worked well, but partially I'm sure because Maicon is garbage this year. Since then Marchisio has been deployed there as well ostensibly to help out Aquilani, who is too "defensively weak." Nonsense. Alberto's positioning and defensive ability has massively improved since coming in August, and no longer needs to be babied in a 2-man midfield. It makes our left flank a non-factor, assuming Fabio hasn't hit the tanning machines, and thrusts responsibility on Krasic. No more playing the safe angle, if we're playing a "4-4-2", it's time to do it with genuine wingers.

Angry Gigi is angry

#6- At least we're not "pleased" with this point: As you can see in the "highlights" Buffon was furious as he stomped off the pitch, repeatedly shaking his head. Marchisio destroyed one of the advertising boards that they bring out for post-game interviews as he marched off to the locker room, and Felipe Melo hounded Bergonzi, shouting "You always do these things against Juventus, ONLY against us!" After the match Andrea Agnelli had a "face-to-face" meeting with the players for nearly 40 minutes in the locker room before they were let go. This does make me say something about Felipe Melo- I don't like him, though that doesn't get in the way of stating he has been superb this season, and it seems like he feels like a real integral part of Juventus. One thing pissing me off- WHY HAVE WE NOT CALLED A SILENZIO STAMPA YET? I am sick of hearing everyone saying "Sorry about the result, we'll try better." Enough platitudes.

#7- Where the hell do we go from here? I strongly believe the coaching continuity is an underrated part of a club's success, and we have not had it since Calciopoli. I remember being one of the few who thought sacking Ranieri with 2 days to go (the first Juve coach to be sacked mid-season in 30 years or so) was absolutely ludicrous. Then we sacked Ferrara mid-season, of course I think we all know now that sacking Delneri with 4 games to go is pointless. He can do a better job next season with an improved team, but can he make 3rd? Sadly, that's our aim, and I'm not so sure. It depends on who'd replace him. Mancini, Spalletti, Gasperini, Mazzarri I don't think any of them can do much better, and so it'd be pointless to can him to go for another year of "this coach needs time to mould us." There's one man that we need to give an iron-clad 4 year contact- Andrea Agnelli and Beppe Marotta need to fly to Marseille and beg Didier to come to us. He just won his 3rd piece of silverware in his 2nd year at Marseille, and possibly could hit a domestic double two years running.

#8- As if selling us Jorge Martinez wasn't bad enough: The player that Catania replaced him with? Gomez. Yes, the tricky short little player who scored against us, the one who never stopped running and was constantly causing us problems. Where was Jorge Martinez? Injured. And Lo Monaco? Lighting fine Cuban cigars with €100 notes, by my count he has 120,000 left to burn. This isn't the first time we've signed a player, and their replacement at the club does better than them. Mauricio Isla is playing pretty damn good as a winger for Udinese.


This Week in Cassani Watch:
Negatives: Mattia caused a stupid penalty in the 2nd minute.
Positives: Mattia caused a stupid penalty in the 2nd minute. Driving down your market price? I approve.

- Andrea Agnelli: Two words, Andrea. SILENZIO STAMPA.
- Mauro Bergonzi: There was a reason you were sent to Serie B for two years- you're a godawful referee.
- Catania: (2 weeks) Not happy with you at all, Catania. You may end up on the list for the rest of the season.
- Vincenzo Iaquinta: (Seasonal)
- Milos Krasic: (2 weeks) A key reason we didn't win today.
- Marco Motta: (4 weeks) On-off, on-off. At least it's better than earlier this season when his form was off-off-off-off-off
- Jonathan Zebina: (Lifetime Award) Z3BINA handed Milan the Scudetto by shitting the bed on a simple offside trap. Alternatively, he denied Inter another Scudetto. Take it for what you'd like.


"Alla Juventus vincere non è importante, è la sola cosa che conta"