Club News

The boss has weathered the storm superbly…

December 21, 2015 - 5:21 pm

I had planned on conjuring my analysis of the chaotic Carpi match from many pages of notes I made during the game. Yet all I find is the rabid rantings of a lunatic. Passages of writing which have no place on your screen which must be cast aside as some form of accident. I was drinking. Of Course. Still, the action remains fresh enough in my synapses to offer an outline for those who missed the game and points of discussion for those who witnessed the haphazard performance.

The match settled instantly into the hosts bedded into their own half, offering very little going forward, soaking up wave after wave of Juve possession. As is always the case when Cuadrado plays, we looked more 4-4-1-1 than 3-5-2 for he offers nothing defensively, and rarely tracks back to produce anything substantial in our back line. Carpi appeared awful. Bereft of creativity, technique and belief. Still…they were playing catenaccio, waiting to pounce.

Despite the early ascendency, it was the home side who took the lead. Cuadrado played a brilliant pass to the opponents when we had committed men forward in great numbers, which left us wide open for a swift counter-attack. In an split second, Carpi showed they could play. Bonucci was left with what seemed a simple blocking job against Borriello, who turned him and scored with a solid strike past Buffon.

The goal caused Juve to instantly move up the gears and within 3 minutes we were level. A rare piece of forward pressure from the largely absent Khedira releasing Cuadrado, whose ball in found the German, then Dybala and finally Mandzukic who turned brilliantly in the box before despatching the equaliser.

As we approached the half time whistle, Chellini found Evra on the left wing, who waited for support to appear centrally then chipped in a beautiful cross which Mandzukic attacked and powered an unstoppable header into the net for a deserved 1-2 lead.

marchisio, juventus, carpi, 2015

Il Principino is back to his best.

Five minutes into the second half Marchisio spotted the run of Pogba and found the Frenchman in the box with a marvellous long ball from inside his own half which was slotted past the onrushing keeper for 1-3. And it looked like we had found our fourth on 62’ when Rugani stuck out a boot to poke a Cuadrado cross past over the line, yet it was rightly ruled out for offside.

Substitutions were made, the game was under our complete control with Carpi rarely trespassing into our rear-guard. And then…on 92’ Bonucci, under no real pressure, redirected a cross past Buffon for 2-3. Which led to a worrying final few minutes and Allegri rightly going berserk on the touchline.

Reasons to be bothered

Big Sami Khedira was virtually invisible throughout, other than his efforts for the equaliser. He is nowhere near match fitness, laboured with his running, barely showing in the final third, made few tackles and was carried by the team. This is not good enough for a central midfielder. He has to impose himself on the game, and if not fit, then don’t play. I was screaming for Sturaro to replace him, or Asamoah, anyone with some bite and tenacity, who loves to get involved. There is so much more to come from Big Sami, but this was his worst performance thus far in our colours.

Cuadrado is a right winger who can cross but do little else. He showed little flair, his dribbling was lame and as is always the case, he offered nothing defensively. Whilst he appeared a bright light in the dark days of earlier this season, I suspect that was more a case of others failing than wonderful  play from the Colombian. He is a decent option as a right winger, yet has not at all done anywhere near enough to justify the reported 20m+ required to make his presence at the club permanent.

MIA – Where is the real Bonucci?

It has been a poor season for Leo Bonucci. His mind does not seem as focused, the passion in his belly less fearsome. As I have noted in recent times, the responsibility to bring the ball out of defence has moved to Chiellini, who is doing a fine job of that duty. Whereas Bonucci was an decent libero in recent seasons, so far this term, he has lost that ball playing focus, in fact his focus in general seems wayward. No surprise to see him score the own goal, which was poor and could of cost us more dearly than it proved.

As was our problem until the tide turned in November, we gave away cheap goals due solely to individual errors. These need to be addressed for we will be punished by stronger sides who will also offer more resistance to our attacking verve. As to how? The obvious suggestion is to drop from the side any players guilty of such errors. Give another player a chance to prosper and offer a rest, an opportunity to refocus for the error prone. This isn’t punishment, its simply a meritocracy. Those who perform well play more, those who don’t…play less. Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to rotate the CBs in this manner, for other than Rugani we have no seniors capable of stepping into the breach. I am assuming Caceres is to be moved on in January, and hope that in his place we bring in a CB. Or we could promote Romagna from the primavera…

Reasons to be cheerful

Mandzukic is improving game by game, showing now consistently why he was purchased. Not only  his physicality and hard running but his touch and positioning in this game were both excellent. The Croatian is much more than merely a battering ram, although his brute strength is a major asset for the side. Pulling several defenders out of position whenever he strode forward and indomitable in the air. At this rate its going to be very tricky indeed for Morata to replace him in the starting line-up.

Pogba is slowly but surely returning to the heights he reached last year. His responsibilities are once again less cumbersome, which is in no small part due to the upsurge in form of Marchisio. His forward movement, link up play and goal all dripped with class. As for Il Principino…he was imperious, from start to finish, the fulcrum of the team. Close to the fabulous consistency of top drawer performances which made him by far, my player of the season for the last campaign. We missed him more than we could miss any other player during his injury bothers and its no surprise to see our fortunes dramatically improve soon after his return to the side.

Worth mentioning Rugani, who appeared in place of Barzagli, suffered a few nervy moments, but otherwise seemed solid. His second game in a week is surely great for his development and eagerness to find sharpness. I must add that Barzagli – especially when Cuadrado plays – is an odd CB/RB hybrid, covering both positions, which made Rugani’s job more tricky in this match. I’d like to see the youngster in the middle with Chellini and Barzagli either side. Where I feel he will be at his most comfortable.

This was our 7th league victory on the trot. A magnificent feat at any level for which Allegri and the players deserve praise. We are playing now like a side who expects to win, pounding opponents, applying constant pressure and finishing our chances. Many players are hitting full stride with more to catch up in the New Year. Whilst Dybala was tired and ineffective in this game, we must expect this at times given his age and his efforts during this most encouraging of runs have been phenomenal. We look a team to be feared, respected and ear-marked for glory.

Only the home game against Roma of our next 7 suggests any semblance of a worthy rival, which leads up perfectly to the Valentines Day massacre against Napoli…

Allegri reacts to Bonucci’s wonder strike…quite reasonably. Great to see such passion.

Given the horrid start we had to the season, I believe that Allegri should be celebrated and applauded. Many others could have capitulated under the pressure. Yet the boss weathered the storm superbly, showed no signs of anything but belief that we would climb the table, encouraged and calmed the players and the results have come alongside improving performances. He is a very under-rated coach, even by our own fans, some of whom were calling for his head as recently as October! When you look around Europe at the top clubs, the top managers, Allegri is never mentioned. Yet he should be. We are fortunate to have him. And I have full faith in him to continue to drive this blossoming new Juve side onto bigger and better things.

The New year will bring more than a chance to recover energies and find nourishment in the festive cheer. It will also deliver a gift wrapped Pereyra, who could still prove a huge player for us this season. His ability in the final third to connect the midfield and attack is a mouth watering prospect to find at our disposal in January.

Before closing the 2015 book, I must add that our primavera, still marshalled by Fabio Grosso, confirmed themselves as Winter champions in the league yesterday, with a dominant 2-0 victory over Genoa.

Its onwards and upwards, on all counts…

Buon Natale and forza juve.

TGP

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  • Avatar
    ho Hi December 21, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Youre the BEST

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet December 24, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Many thanks, my friend! Yet what of your thoughts…I would like to know how you feel we are faring? What are our prospects? Where can we improve?

      • Avatar
        ho Hi December 24, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        Howdy tgp,
        There is nothing to improve.
        Well one thing:
        I would love to know how Juve can be like the end of the nineties?

        Why are so many fans afraid of b and b?

        For me Juve means team.
        No one fights alone.

        2nd:
        Im disappointed with Morata.
        On Sunday he was nothing.
        I loved him back then against City.

        3rd:
        I think Allegri is top. Worldclass. Passion pure!!

        All of you

        Frohe Weihnachten

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet December 25, 2015 at 10:03 am

          I am planning that piece for the near future, comrade…a peek into the Juve of old when I first found their colours flowing through my crimson rivers.

          Not so sure on the Morata situation. He has suffered injury niggles which have disrupted his season and still seems far from match sharp, yet that will only come with games, which will be hard to come by with Mandzukic and Dybala in such fine form. Perhaps the contract situation is getting to him in some way, time travelling to Madrid and who can say what discussions have taken place. Although he has recently signed a new contract, which is a sign of the club’s investment in his services.

          He has too much talent to be poor all season, so leg us hope he finds his shooting boots in the New Year. The sooner the better!

  • Avatar
    Papilaya(John)™★★★ December 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Principino getting some mad cred :p i think it will finally be the era of Marchisio. Marchisio is someone who doesnt do more that is required of him. Whilst the presence of Pirlo, Marchisio knew he wasnt required much in the creative aspect of the game. Then with Vidals work rate, he also was aware that he could work in the “shadows” and cover all others “weakness”. Now that both are gone, hes filling in the gaps with ease. Marchisio is the absolute essence of a “team player”. He goes beyond respecting his teammates by allowing them to do what they do best even if it means lowering his self so others can shine. Hes a true idol. And my own personal game has gone down because i havent been able to study how the former prince, now king, goes about in his game.

    Regarding Bonucci. If i remember correctly, he had a motivational coach and last i checked, they parted ways last season. Perhaps that could be the reason for his poor showings? The answers could lie within his own facial expressions. During Del Neris tenure, more times than not he seemed unsure of his self and perhaps even second guessed his self. Possibly a talk with the former Mister, Conte, could do well for him?

    And a thank you is due to The Gutter Poet. Reading your articles have helped me with the rebirth of my own writing. Prior to your writing on this beauty of a forum, my writing had begun to plummet, but due to your exceptional reviews, my writing could very well return to its more “diverse” former self 🙂

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet December 22, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Glad to have gained your readership and your discussions, John yet far more pleased to have inspired your own penmanship to once more blossom.

      You are spot-in in regards to Claudio. Never a player to seek the limelight, he is the epitome of a juventino; hard working, ultra determined, quiet with his voice for his wonderful feet speak so dam well. One of the finest players to ever come through the ranks, his story is a rare one in today’s shop and shuffle routine. AT 29 years of age he has developed into a world class player. His game is complete, with no obvious weaknesses, only strengths.

      The only player who I could liken him to is Guti, yet he had arrogance to dance with his technique.

      In the past I have criticised Marchisio for his tendency to become ghost like during games, yet that changed after his injury allowed Pogba the chance to prove himself which he did with aplomb. Since that period, many moons ago, the italian has improved season upon season. Despite the excitement of our success and wonderful champions league journey last term, as mentioned, nobody came close to Marchisio for me. He was simply always exceptional. Since pace is not such a necessity in his role his footballing intelligence and fairly solid physical constitution could well see his present level maintained for at least another 2-3 years, maybe more.

      Big Leo is clearly not right in the head. I am unsure as to the roots of his confidence issues, yet something must be done to help him recover. For he can be a world class brute at the back for us. It will be interesting to see what happens in the Winter mercato, for we must surely be pondering adding a CB to the squad. If that is, we are to continue with the 3 CBs formation. Which at worst will still be used often, even if we move to incorporate Pereyra as a trequartista. Also…as everything is improving game by game, why change?

      Thanks for the encouragement and comments.

      Cheers,

      TGP

      • Avatar
        #adp1974 December 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm

        Glad you’re posting on this site ….

        I’ve read your posts before, keep it up.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet December 23, 2015 at 10:23 am

          Thanks adp!…Any thoughts on the game and our improvement and our potential for this season?

          • Avatar
            #adp1974 December 23, 2015 at 10:41 pm

            I think we need to see more of AlexSandro .. A way must be found to have him play as many minutes as possible the rest of the way. I think this guy could be the best in the world at his position soon, he’s phenomenal and is just as important to our future as Pogba and Dybala.

            In terms of bringing in new players, not sure. I think we are one of the best teams in the world both on paper and on the pitch so the talent is definitely there. I can safely say that only Barca, Madrid and Bayern Munich have more talent than us at their disposal.

            Potential for the rest of the year largely depends on the team continuing to gel and get better and the clash with Bayern in February. If they can get through this tie, then a run to the final might be very possible … If they lose, they’ll focus on the league and the Coppa Italia. I think another Scudetto is in the cards, wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we win #5.

          • thegutterpoet
            thegutterpoet December 24, 2015 at 10:38 am

            Great to find your words comrade!

            Agreed on the Sandro suggestion. He offers so much more, but must be played with Lichsteiner on the opposite flank. Clearly Allegri has settled into two distinct settings for the wingbacks, and whilst it makes sense to alternate, it also makes more sense to give one more time to find momentum. Evra was quality last weekend, and is an extremely experienced and still valuable player. However, if we are to play him at the expense of Sandro and the new blossoming best XI’s development then it is a mistake.

            I’d say that (other than who you mentioned )Chelsea have more talent at their disposal, and perhaps PSG. Still, we are not that far behind.

            Good outline of the champions league potential exit and where it would lead. For it might be a blessing in disguise!

            Also…the scudetto seems in our grasp. We have the strongest squad in the league, are improving game on game, have still some players, key players potentially, to recover, and more than half the season still to play. Logic alone suggests that places us, at just 3 points off top, still to play many of the leading pack at home, in a fine position.

            buon natale, amico

            TGP

  • Avatar
    LMJuveDK December 22, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Great article. Keep that pen sharp and keep writing 🙂

  • Avatar
    fiQ December 23, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Great article Gutter, one of the few who felt Cuadrado played rather poorly, and have been playing poorly. Most reports rated him highly against Carpi, but I couldn’t deal with his lack of decision-making, the constant slips, and the overall lack of tenacity as he goes down regularly to look for the fouls.

    I hope his purchase option isn’t exercised, for he is not worth the money. I felt even Pepe offered more on all fronts despite a lack of finesse and technic. Litch has been excellent as a defender, not so much in shipping in them crosses. With the likely departure of Caceres and Evra, our wings would lack depth pretty soon (although people are quick to forget Asa’s contribution on the left). I for one want a new Camorenasi, who will be managing Tigre! I’ve given up on a new Nedved, but am more than excited at the prospect of the impeccable and excellent Sandro.

    Cheers and have a good holiday everyone!

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet December 23, 2015 at 10:22 am

      Cheers fiQ. Glad you found some value in the piece, which was written with a heavy heart after crunching a mouse mauled by my hound, first with a heavy can, then with my motorcycle boot. Left me rather uneasy and brimming with self recrimination. My mood has been dreary ever since…

      I’ve not been at all impressed with Cuadrado. As you gathered…He seems ever more one dimensional, lacks bite and grit and seems far too light weight in more than mentality to be considered a true juventino.
      Our wingers always have grit. From Di Livio and Zambrotta to the Argie rat Camoranesi.

      Give him his credit where its due. He can produce decent crosses, but given the responsibilities of a RWB in our system, he fails on many counts. Very rarely seems to be capable of driving into the box to create goal scoring chances. He has quick feet, but his decision making is rather poor. Indeed, I am no fan.

      I don’t see any reason for Evra to leave until at the earliest next Summer, even then, he seems fit enough for another season at the top level. He was superb on Sunday. The competition with Sandro alongside the rest he is finding in between performances (again due to Sandro) is bringing out the best in his old, very wise indeed legs and mind.

      Pepe made more happen. In a similar way to the little goblin, Giaccherini. Neither are the most technically gifted of players but they have heart and warrior zeal.

      Keep posting, comrade!

      • Avatar
        fiQ December 23, 2015 at 1:45 pm

        Hello Gutter, with respect to Evra and Caceres, I meant Summer. I firmly believe our team won’t be bold this winter, unless of course the Old Lady has a couple of tricks left in her bag. I could see Caceres leaving due to the drunk driving incident in Winter, but that’s about it. I still feel upset about Giaka leaving; I felt that he had a lot more to offer as compared to Pepe. I’m surprised as to Conte not believing in Giaka’s skill set to slot into the positions Pepe did. Pepe allowed us to play the zona mista, of which I feel Giaka could have done the same.

        Who can you see us obtaining on the RWB/RB/RM front? I feel like we have a lack of Italians, and a name like Darmian could be one best left to Fantasy leagues.

        • thegutterpoet
          thegutterpoet December 24, 2015 at 10:26 am

          Please, fiQ, call me Daniel!

          I am far from upset about the little goblin leaving, yet feel it was the wrong move for both the player and the club, yet I feel that was down to Conte more than anything else. In that, he likely told Giaccherini that he was to remain a bit part player if not worse so wished him well on a new adventure. Why else would he go from Juve to Sunderland???

          Still, I can claim the fame of spreading his little goblin nickname!!!

          Evra may well move on in the Summer. I suspect that he will soon be usurped by Sandro and still have enough fire in his belly to wish to play every game. Caceres, for the reason you mentioned alongside his injury bothers, may be released in January. Which will mean someone comes IN. But who???

          Agreed that Giaccherini could have done a job as a RWB. I reckon he could of done a job anywhere other than CM and CB and CF! Such was his mighty heart and zeal…

          I do not think we will replace Caceres with a wide defender. Lichsteiner and Cuadrado will be our choices there, failing which, the perennial Padoin.

          There seems a huge amount of focus in the press of a trequartista. No chance on Gundogan, and Lavezzi, is better in positions we have covered. Moutinho seems an option, but then what of Pereyra and Hernanes? Banega would be more interesting, and the move for free of Llorente is suddenly moving around the jock shock papers…yet, I mainly like his name, not his talent.

          More of improvement, in terms of depth, if we are to persevere with a 3 CB routine is an extra CB, which I have found very little mention of in the credible or tabloids…other than…Vrsaljiko, who is a RB, and will be tricky to bring into the fold in January as Sassuolo are enjoying a solid season, might even qualify for Europe! He seems a prime target, and also the brazilian whose name I have forgotten!

          Rav wil publish a south american focus of a shopping list I ranted last night, in due course…other than which, Beppe and Paratici are keeping their cards close to their chests, for all our overt intrigue appears focused on attacking midfielders and strikers.

      • Avatar
        #adp1974 December 23, 2015 at 10:34 pm

        Not a fan of Cuadrado at all … They’d better not buy him from Chelsea.

  • Avatar
    Juvren December 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Gutter!

    My first time to join in the discussion and break free from my silent reader habit.

    Very well-spoken thoughts you got here.
    And I couldn’t agree more to give much credit on Allegri, who has been superbly calm and confident to put us back among the scudetto front runners. Let me re-citing your word; Allegri (elegantly) weathered the storm.

    As for cuadrado, i guess Allegri had already talked to him after that carpi game about the responsibilities as our RWB. He really should have done that, since his -gone berserk- mode seems like the lads had another hour of his post game-speech.

    What i’m concerned is also about hernanes. I dont know but is it only me that canot see his style of play when he was playing for lazio for our juve now? Honestly I expected more from his arrival.

    Principino is trully our new commander. I’d like to see him wearing the armband, it’ll be really cool to be captained by an all time juventino (dont want to see gigi wore off his arm band as well, tough).

    Looking forward for another legit reading from you!

    • thegutterpoet
      thegutterpoet December 25, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Great to see you emerging from the shadows Juvren! Thank you for your input.

      Always been unsure on Marchisio as a capitano. Whilst he is a world class midfielder and juventino to his core I do not think he has the communication skill to be the leader. He leads quietly. I suppose DP did the same, yet I was not keen on his captaincy either!

      Yet we all have different ideas of what makes a good capitano. My own stance is a preference for a true warrior. A man whose zeal is bottomless, who fights fang and claw for every ball, whose mere presence raises the spirits of all around him. A never say die attitude and a fierce roar. I will write in more depth on such matters in the future.

      Wishing you splendid festive period.

      cheers. TGP

  • Avatar
    Kaushik10 December 26, 2015 at 6:01 am

    As always, brilliant TGP. But that’s hardly a surprise now, is it?

    I’m very happy to see some agreement regards Cuadrado. Everyone seems to be losing their mind about his supposed “form” at the start of the season when we were struggling, but as time has gone on, I am more and more sure that I would really not like him to join permanently. He’s a good player, but he has a very particular skill set, a list of strengths of and weaknesses, and at his age he’s hardly about to revolutionize his game. He has very quick feet, but is the exact opposite of a Juventus attacker, in that he has flair, but so SO little footballing intelligence. His decision making is horrendous. I find he slows the game far far too much just for the sake of being able to take his man on one on one and try to bamboozle him. I’m also not a fan at all of how easily he goes to ground and actively seeks freekicks no matter which part of the pitch he’s on. His crosses are mediocre, off the ball running poor. Release him behind the defense and he can make things happen, but its just as likely that he’ll make the wrong decision. No, I’d much rather invest the reported 20 million it would take to sign him into Berardi and some actual creative midfield cover for Marchisio and Pereyra.

    I’ve found Licht to be a far superior option on the right, even as a RWB. I’m truly excited to see this team perform with the 4-3-1-2 and Pereyra slotting in behind/next to Dybala. I think those two Argentinians, if they can get some momentum going, can really devastate the best teams of the world. Sturaro’s recent growth is very impressive and is helping us endure Sami’s niggling injury issues. I hope Lemina recovers soon, because I feel he could possibly learn a lot in playing regista from Marchisio who is by far, our most important player bar none, Dybala included. Asamoah can hopefully get some fitness and match sharpness momentum going, I feel his dynamism can be a difference maker for when we want to rest Pogba.

    Sandro is very close to being the signing of the season with Dybala. I hope we can persuade Evra to stay another year, as the competition between the two has elevated both into the elite levels of fullback playing. Our left flank is secure for years now with Sandro though, who is nothing short of imperious. I really hope Morata can regain some confidence and get a good run going. Right now the 3-5-2 with Sandro, Dybala and Mandzukic seems to be our best setup, but I’d love to see that alternate with the 4-3-1-2, and Morata, Dybala and Pereyra. It gives us many options and varieties in how the team plays.

    Really, we are in for some very very exciting times! I hope either Romagna is promoted from the primavera, or we can sign some short term CB cover, because 4 CB’s is too few to play the 3-5-2 regularly. I’d love for Caceres to stay, but it seems the drunk driving issue and his fitness concerns have nailed his coffin shut.

    As for future plans, I’d consider Berardi, Saponara (to give competition to Pereyra) and Vrsaljko as the ideal summer, not to mention not purchasing Cuadrado outright. I feel the team can easily set up long term in a 4-3-2-1 X’mas tree, with Dybala, Morata, Pereyra, Berardi and maybe Saponara all taking turns playing the “2”, behind Mandzukic-Zaza-Morata. We can also easily transition into the 3-5-2 or the 4-3-1-2, giving Max the options needed to fulfill his criteria of being tactically adaptable.

    What are your thoughts on Stefano Sensi GP? Might he be a good option to breed in as a long term replacement for Marchisio? What about Lemina or Vitale in that role? And this is something I’m keen to get your thoughts on, do you think Clemenza will be ready for a chance to train with the first team as an offensive option? I remember being mightily impressed by him in pre-season!

    As usual, hope all is well with you. Sorry for the long post! Here’s hoping you have an excellent holiday season. My warm regards. 🙂

    Cheers!