It's a good thing I have a little self restraint, otherwise I would have thrown about half a dozen laptops out through the window as this season has gone on. Yet again, I am disgusted and utterly frustrated with this squad, after the 3rd consecutive home game in which we failed to put away a 2-0 lead. We let Genoa back in the game, we let Catania back in the game, and now we took a flying donkey punch right to the coglioni.
You can read my review of the Catania game, and it rings exactly true. We meet a crappy squad at the Stadio Olimpico, one that has little left to play for. We dominate the first half, score two goals. One goal conceded- and we fly into a mad panic, showing no tactical shape or defending capability whatsoever. And sure enough, we take a sucker punch. Thank God that Uribe sucks and Marchisio was as always, in the right place at the right time, otherwise I'd be even more bitter than I am.
There is something seriously wrong with this team, and I blame most of it on Delneri. As a coach, he has miserably failed to make the Stadio Olimpico a home fortress. We are by far worse at home than on our travels, unable to keep a clean sheet or maintain a goddamn lead. We might talk about our garbage fullbacks, and that is a valid concern, but for God's sakes, Ranieri managed to grind out games with Molinaro and Grygera on the flanks.
That's what is greatly disappointing to me about Delneri. When I wrote about Gigi Delneri's prototype "plan" for Juve you'll note I spoke about his defense, particularly the ability to hold out leads. His teams are usually stingy. They grind out wins, much in the way Claudio Ranieri did, and while I expected more drawing than normal like we did with dear Claudio, not in the way we have been. Today's game might have been endlessly entertaining to a neutral, but there is no doubt I'd take a boring 0-0 Ranieri draw over a Delneri draw. At least when Ranieri is up, he finishes out the game, and moreso, when he makes a defensive sub even at 0-0....it stays that way. Delneri makes defensive subs against Catania and we concede 2 more. We may play with grit on occasion, but we lack the steel reserve that the old Juve had.
Speaking of comparisons between Delneri and Ranieri, what the hell was with substitutions today? He made one, and while it worked out alright, I didn't agree with putting on a slow attacker when the game is blazing end-to-end stuff. Ranieri made late subs if he made them at all, and Delneri took a page from his book today. When your team is suffering badly out there, one of the easiest ways to turn things around is to jive things up with a few substitutions, it shows you're unsatisfied with the way things are going, and can lead to a tactical shift. It is incredibly clear that this Juventus cannot hold a lead. Chievo was absolutely assaulting our goal, the team was in complete disarray, no one was performing on a tactical or individual level, it was chaos. That is the time you need to throw on two players, if only to pause the game and scream at the players to mentally press reset and get back into position. Instead, we just watched Chievo score two.
Another strange similarity between Ranieri and Delneri's sides at Juventus is the complete failure to achieve a difficult objective. We can get fired up for the big teams, sure, but we can't beat the little sides, and whenever we come close to reaching "the dream" be it the Scudetto under Ranieri, or the CL under Delneri, we fail, miserably. The squad deserves some tongue-lashing for this, but ultimately it may speak to the limitations of these two managers- they cannot inspire a team to break through that final barrier to achieve a tremendous objective with a great team. It's probably why neither will ever win a league title.
Disappointed Gigi is disappointed
Buffon: 6- Didn't have much to do, but could have been sent off again with a reckless exit against Pelissier.
Motta: 5.5- An okay display from Motta, at least he got one side of the pitch right today. Nearly permanently missing from his defensive duties, but helped out a lot up top and a key reason why Milos looked good today. Still- this was an improvement for Motta, still not good enough by any means.
Barzagli: 6.5- Andrea has been surprisingly consistent ever since arriving in January, and as I've said a few times, I think he makes a better pairing with Giorgio or Bonucci because he's more like Legrottaglie- the two are rather similar and it can work, but not as naturally. Not responsible for the team entirely giving up any defensive performance.
Chiellini: 5- Alright, so he nearly scored a goal, but Keyser Giorgio was otherwise terrible today. Bad clearances, bad touches, bad giveaways, poor manmarking, it was a real disappointing performance. He was all over the place, and not in a good way.
Grosso: 5.5- Did okay. Grosso has actually been somewhat reliable in the last few months, but at his age and salary, he's not the way forward. I'm still all for selling him this summer if we can get Ziegler in.
Krasic: 6- A much improved display from the last few months, particularly with his decision making. Previously Milos would sprint up the wing and deliver a terrible ball or worse, just simply lose it, but he delivered some decent ones today. Rightfully booked for diving- his reputation precedes him, but it's probably just because he never rolls around agony. Look- everytime he dives, he just kind of looks around. You've gotta act better if you're going to convince the ref.
Marchisio: 6- I thought he was better than a lot of sites are giving him- he didn't see too much of the ball, but a few of his through passes opened up Chievo, and he was battling hard defensively. Still doesn't look totally comfortable switching back to central mid after over a year pushed out of position, but you can't knock his tactical intelligence.
Aquilani: 6.5- Really should have scored in the first half, when an excellent cross ball to Milos was headed down to Motta. A few misplaced passes aside, Alberto did well to spread play. Unfortunately, as a team, we surrendered the midfield around the 60th minute.
Pepe: 6- A hardworking, efficient performance. Glad to see some natural width on the left.
Del Piero: 7- Another excellent performance from Il Capitano, a perfect penalty, a lovely assist, and a few good plays here and there to open up the game. Came close on a set piece. Great individual performance to celebrate his contract renewal.
Matri: 6.5- Worked real hard up top and was largely starved of service during the first half, but turned on his Trezeguet mode to finish past Sorrentino beautifully for Juve's 2nd. Drifted out wide as the game progressed, which hurt the team's attack.
Delneri: 4- What can I say more? Poor subs, and he does not have this team drilled on set pieces or defending. The team was without any kind of tactical identity for about 15 minutes, and he did nothing other than throw Toni on.
Toni: 6.5- Thought he did real well with the brief time he saw. Hit the post with a header, knocked down several balls to teammates, and generally made a nuisance of himself up top.
Things I Think I Think:
#1- I hate Pelissier. I hate Sardo. I hate Chievo: Before the match, I was chatting with Papai about Pelissier, and I mentioned that he's the #1 player I would like to buy for the explicit reason of never having to face him. Julio Cruz used to be "that guy" but has since completely disappeared. I think I said the same thing back in November when he scored the last equalizer against us. I hate that sonofabitch. I dislike Sardo too, who marked his 2nd goal against Juventus, the culmination of one of the most average careers in the league. And I hate Chievo- nevermind their affiliation with Inter, they are a godawful team, one content to play 10 men behind the ball for an entire season to stay in Serie A. They aren't the real team from Verona.
#2- Delneri could choose his words better: Before the match, he said he'd give himself 100% chance of being on Juve's bench next season. After the match, he merely said "the club will decide." Also, worst reaction ever to the match. He was arguing with the referee Gervasoni as the game ended, for what, I have no idea. Then he follows that up with the stupidest comment during the post-match interview he could have possibly said. For a man who's had doubts all season about whether he is merely a good "provincial" coach, he suggested maybe Juve weren't that big of a club. The fans are scared we're turning into that, with the powers that be currently residing in Milan and Rome. Don't confirm it. Also- if we are a "small" side, shouldn't you be doing well?
#3- Beppe Marotta had some interesting words: "The statistics are clear, we're ubneaten in 8 matches, but with 4 draws, 3 of which we let a 2-0 lead slip to a lower table team, this shows a lack of personality and balance in the team, we need to work on goals conceded- unfortunately we were unable to in this year, but now we will do it. [Fuck you, Motta. Does this mean we get real fullbacks?] We have very clear ideas, soon we will have a general meeting to discuss the situation for the good of Juve, there are two games and we will take a final decision after Parma. [Before Napoli?? Strange] Delneri has a two year contract and has the necessary basics to be our coach next year, but we need to evaluate everything, and it's not right to say yet what we will decide. This week the CdA will meet, and there is determination from John Elkann and Andrea Agnelli to support Juve, but it's wrong now to name figures, since we're a publicly traded company. The team and everything will be evaluated, Juve at 1-0 should manage far better, in the case you're ahead, you cannot let the other team back in like a team with such an inferior character. We will find players who do not succumb to this, so it does not occur again."
#4- Like I said v Catania, I don't like the hybrid 4-4-2/4-3-3: I think we play immensely better when we have two natural wingers, and I don't buy the idea that Marchisio needs to play there to accomodate Aquilani and/or Grosso/DeCeglie. Grosso is doing "alright" back there, and Aquilani has improved his defensive game. Where does that leave space for Marchisio, I don't know, but playing him at left-mid (or any CM for that matter) just bogs us down immensely. Maybe play it against big teams, big away matches, whatever, but when we're playing a "small" team at home, we need to unlock them. Our width caused Chievo a lot of trouble today.
#5- Pazza Juve- How Juve became Inter and Vice Versa: I wrote this over a year ago. Is it just me, or is it eerily accurate?
#6- The coaching situation: I'm very disappointed with Delneri, but I said this a few weeks ago after Catania and I still stand by it. 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.
THE JUVENTUS OFFSIDE SHITLIST
- Andrea Agnelli: (2 weeks) Two words, Andrea. SILENZIO STAMPA.
- Mauro Bergonzi: (Lifetime Award)
- Gigi Delneri: (3 Weeks) A shambolic game v Catania followed up by a disgusting display v Lazio followed with a shambolic display against Chievo. Great.
- Catania: (Seasonal)
- Vincenzo Iaquinta: (Seasonal)
- Milos Krasic: Looked good today, particularly the final balls.
- Marco Motta: Good enough improvement.
- Jonathan Zebina: (Lifetime Award) The new Roby Baggio finishes his Brescia career on the bench?
"Alla Juventus vincere non è importante, è la sola cosa che conta"