The first time we checked on these youngsters was back in December, and we didn’t check out Boakye last time. Some players have been on fire lately, like Gabbiadini, while others have seen their form cool off.
Despite a few brief glimpses of talent, Immobile has not displayed the same attacking ability that he displayed in his legendary Serie B season last year. Immobile has dipped off since we last checked on him, although he did score one important goal. One interesting note about Immobile is that he played one match in December (against Torino) as a right winger of sorts, and if Juve are to take him back at some point it’s interesting to see if he will ever be utilized in that role.
Now, that goal. It came in a 1-1 draw with Inter, and it was no small feat for a provincial side’s striker. Despite that, Immobile has seen his playing time tail off a bit in recent weeks, having not played a full 90 since the Inter match. He did not play at all against Lazio on the weekend. He also failed to find the net in two appearances over the international break with the Italy U-21 side.
Genoa have recently replaced their “new” coach Luigi Delneri with a newer one, Davide Ballardini. We’ll have to keep a watch out for how Ballardini’s judgement of Immobile evolves over time.
While Immobile’s form has dipped, Gabbiadini has seen his form skyrocket lately. Right after our first progress report, he scored the opening goal in a 3-2 Bologna victory over Napoli. Weeks later he scored against Chievo Verona.
Like Immobile, Gabbiadini scored against Inter. This goal came in a Coppa Italia match, and while Bologna would lose 3-2, it was still an nice feather in Gabbiadini’s cap. I mean, is that any better team to score against for a loaned out Juventus striker?
Gabbiadini has continued his scoring with an additional goal in Bologna’s match against Roma. Interestingly, he played in a winger role like Immobile flirted with at Genoa. He filled this role against both Roma and Chievo, games where he scored.
Gabbiadini slowly broke his way into Bologna’s starting line up, and he looks to be on the rise in terms of his importance to the team. Here’s hoping for more goals through the rest of the season.
I did not cover Boakye in the first progress report. I will admit now that I was remiss in doing so, as Boakye is one of Juve’s top striking prospects. He’s with the Ghanian national side (and Asamoah) at the African Cup of Nations at the moment, but he hasn’t played in the tournament after injuring himself in a pre-match friendly.
Boakye was loaned out to Serie B side Sassuolo at the end of the Summer transfer window. Sassuolo have been the surprise side of Serie B this year, and are currently in first place. Boakye has been an integral part of this run, with nine goals in 18 appearances.
He also has four assists in Serie B, with half of those four (that’s two, for you mathematicians) coming against Bari. He did not score in this match, but the two assists are reassuring for those who wanted to see that Boakye could create too.
Boakye was in fine form the Ghanian national team in the pre-AFCON friendlies, scoring a goal against Egypt. He unfortunately injured himself, twisting his ankle, and has missed and will continue to miss Ghana’s official competition matches.
Hopefully Boakye recovers in time to contribute to Sassuolo’s promotion efforts.
Marrone has seen a lot of time recently due to Juve’s heavy fixture and injury list. He started all three of Juve’s January Coppa matches, and played a full ninety in Bonucci’s role against Chievo Verona.
Marrone was very impressive against Chievo, and it’s becoming more and more likely that he will end up as a CB in the future, and not the vice-Pirlo we thought he would be. He also played a full ninety as a CB against Lazio in the first leg of the Coppa semi-final, and his overall performance was not shabby.
Marrone’s time as a regista against Milan and Lazio (the second time around) was not so impressive. Frankly it was bizarre going from Pirlo, who almost never loses possession or makes a bad pass, to Marrone, who was having a number of passes intercepted. It was not a good audition for the vice-Pirlo role, and coupled with his good play as a CB, his destiny seems forged as the next Bonucci.
Pogba, like Marrone, has seen a ton of playing time this year due to Juve’s injury “crisis.” He’s not only been appearing, but often starting and playing the full ninety minutes. Even better, he’s had turns in the roles of Marchisio, Vidal, and Pirlo. He’s a perfect back up and can be utilized in each role, although with different degrees of success in each role.
He started the year off slowly, but after scoring two beautiful long-range goals against Udinese his form has really perked up. He put in consecutive solid midfield efforts in the Genoa and Chievo matches, and while he was disappointing against Lazio, he was far from the worst player on the pitch.
Pogba will continue to grow and gain experience as the season goes on, and if Marchisio cannot recover from his latest injury in time for the Celtic match we may find Pogba starting in a Champions League knock out match. I’m sure he would be up to the task.
I guess that’s it until part three, which will be sometime in the spring.