New Coach Alberto Zaccheroni saw his first game in charge end in an unflattering 1-1 draw with Lazio. Just like in previous games, the Bianconeri conceded late in the match. Against Roma (in Serie A) and Inter (in Coppa Italia), the Old Lady lost both games after taking a 1-0 lead. It is clear the club cannot hold on to a slender leader while also struggling to keep opponents at bay.
It is too early to judge Zaccheroni and whether he will be able to guide the Bianconeri to a top four finish to make the Champions League. In two days no man can make drastic changes to a team’s formation and tactics, but Zaccheroni will gradually try to stamp his authority and perhaps in 10 games he can be better judged in terms of what he has done or failed to do. Even the firing of Coach Ciro Ferrara will not suffice to lift the gloom at Vinovo as shown by the players during the match against Lazio and as confirmed by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who admitted the squad must perform to achieve positive results.
Buffon is one of the very few players not at fault for Juve’s dismal season. The whole defensive line (with the exception of Giorgio Chiellini who has often saved Juve from heavier defeats) needs to be replaced with new, younger and more capable players. As mentioned on several occasions, Fabio Grosso has not been the solution to the team’s problems at left-back while the club did not bring in a solid right-back as Martin Caceres (who is on loan from Barcelona) is quite inconsistent.
The match against Lazio showed Zdenek Grygera is not much better than Caceres while Paolo De Ceglie (at left-back) brought in much enthusiasm and fight on the left flank but not much in terms of efficiency and threat to the Lazio defense. He is probably not the answer to the full-back dilemma unless his performances improve dramatically. Moving to the midfield area, Mohamed Sissoko provided the muscle with his running and tackling, but he cannot string a few passes together. His midfield partner Felipe Melo was not awful during this match but he appears to be like a primitive version of Sissoko. Melo cannot tackle as well nor can he cover the pitch as much as Sissoko does. Clearly one of the two players must be sacrificed because having both players on the pitch will cost Juve dearly in terms of points as stray passes will likely be converted to goals by opponents while some of the Bianconeri’s attacks will come to a sudden halt as a result of the midfield duo’s poor passing. In this case, Sissoko ought to get the nod and Melo should act as cover or perhaps as a substitute to strengthen the midfield when the Bianconeri are trying to keep a lead. This is another proof of how flawed the Bianconeri transfer market has been the past couple of season as Juve did not need Melo.
As for the loan signing Antonio Candreva, it must be noted he provided decent contribution and performed better than Melo with his pass leading to the penalty which was converted by Alessandro Del Piero. Candreva can pass, run, dribble but he definitely needs to work on his shooting. The loan signing is a work-in-progress but is showing he has potential to deliver once he gets accustomed to his new teammates. Juve definitely need Mauro Camoranesi and Claudio Marchisio to return and start performing at their best. The Bianconeri have sorely missed both players who bring a lot to the table in terms of passing, shooting and scoring.