First trophy without our eternal Capitano, in 18 years. Let’s just hope there are many more to follow. Forza Juventus.
It was the 5th of May, 2011, when Alessandro Del Piero sat down next to Andrea Agnelli to put pen to paper, in what would be “Ale’s last year in a Juventus jersey”. We were all relaxed but obviously not aware of what that would actually mean a year later.
Transferred to Juventus in 1993, nicknamed by the Old Lady’s late president Gianni Agnelli as “Il Pinturicchio”, Del Piero made his debut with Juventus against Foggia, who went on to score his first goal for the team the next fixture against Reggiana. It was, only a brief window of opportunity for Del Piero when he could start going above and beyond his duty, and it seemed he fully benefited from it, as some weeks later he scored his first hat-trick with Juventus against Parma. His success in his debut season with Juventus continued as he scored 5 goals in 11 official matches.
Everything was obvious as the newly signed teenager, quite young but of a lot of promise, was determined to fight his way to the top of the heap and he meant to stay there.
In what was supposed to be an entertaining encounter between two clubs with a combined total of 38 Scudetti at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, these giants of Calcio failed to get the ball in the net during 90 minutes of action. A solid performance by Genoa who did well to defend deep and a predictable Juventus, who once again lacked the creativity and the final third to make their opponent pay.
Suspended and sitting in one of the Marassi’s commentary boxes, Antonio Conte didn’t seem to be missed him much, proving to once again that the team knows how to react well despite missing three of their regular defensive starters.
With Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci unavailable due to injury and suspension, the Bianconeri lined up with the South American duo, Caceres and Vidal, instead, and both did an excellent job of keeping Genoa’s strike force at bay.
However, the attack is the main problem of this unbeaten Juventus side. Led by Alessandro Matri, Mirko Vucinic and Simone Pepe, together this “MVP” has produced 19 from a total of 39 goals scored this season and one would immediately argue about how much of an impact the midfielders have had during the course of this season so far. To make matters worse, the three men up front have been disappointing when it comes to converting opportunities on goal and the lethal touch seems to be all but forgotten at times. Against Genoa, the Bianconeri had a staggering amount of shots – 30 in total, from which only an implausible five ended on target, a fact which deserves zero excuses.
Just four points behind the leaders AC Milan, lady luck was not smiling on the Old Lady as in the last six matches they have won only one and drawn the other five. With the exception of the performance against Chievo last week, which was arguably the worst of the season, the Bianconeri have been dominating especially in possession in almost every game so far, though the creativity and finishing in front of the goal remains an issue which today sees the club in trouble.
Add to this, the harsh refereeing calls against them during the course of the season, such as the scenes in Genoa on Sunday which saw the club call a media silence in protest at the refereeing decisions against the Bianconeri. For example the penalty appeal not given on Matri when he looked to be clearly pulled back by Carvalho, and the very evident goal by Pepe which was called wrongly offside.
You could get down to the nitty-gritty of refereeing decisions but as a fan, (while not completely ignoring the “discrimination by the officials” so to say), I would rather worry more about the performance of my own team and stop playing the blame game with the officials. It is rather painful to see such a determined team on the pitch that is all but incompetent in terms of finishing their chances, they spend so much effort against the minnows yet still only manage to secure a single point, which is a situation much more worrying compared to that of a denied penalty or a valid goal called off.
On the bright side of things, we should never forget the fact that Scudetto was never one of the objectives at the very start of this campaign, whereas today we stand here staring at the high probability of exceeding expectations and are only four points away from the current Serie A leaders. Practice what you preach, have faith, trust your coach, the espirit de corps is well in the team and sooner rather than later, the goals will hopefully appear. This, however, is a crucial year which will see the Bianconeri rest between pain and the hope of another tricolore in the name of Juventus.
Sigh. Its over, finally. First we were impatiently waiting for it to start, now we just cant wait for it to get over. Over, as in the sense of - too much whining and bitching around after the real game has been whisteled off by Tagliavento.
This match, however, has proved me right for all the years I have been lobbying to make everyone believe that the clash between these two teams, Milan and Juventus, is the “REAL DERBY d’ITALIA” and besides many positives that have to come out of last night, the fact that I am finally proven right about my stance towards this derby, makes me happier.
In what has been a month of many controversial comments by both Juventus’ and Milan’s society, the clash between these very same sides took their comments and acts up to another level, unfortunately. And, it is reasonable to their own view for each side to have their own critiques and have an alibi against the opponent to defend their team but we could all come down to an agreement that the derby last night was totally decided by the bad or good (add your own Calciopoli line) officiating decisions.
The most anticipated match of the fantastic league of Serie A has approached, it’s that time again, when the giants of Calcio step on Giuseppe Meazza for the third time this season, to face each other in what is considered by many as the encounter that will decide the Scudetto of 2011/2012.
Though the Derby d’Italia coined by the famous sports journalist Gianni Brera involves Inter and Juventus as one of the most intense matches in Italy, ACMilan and Juventus this time around, should be named to “The Real Derby d’Italia” for all their fierce but “fair” rivalry, for being one of the most famous derby the world of football has ever experienced and for the spectacle given in the league which makes Serie A even more interesting as years pass by.
Juventus a much rejuvenated side under their Mister Antonio Conte, visit San Siro as self proclaimed underdogs, but at Via Turati/Milanello the environment seems to be just about the same. Both teams are cast in the same mold – equally favorites in the derby, and for all we know, a spectacle is a guarantee.
Forza Italian Football, toiled over the “the real derby d’Italia” with five key instructions both teams need to do to beat each other. As a matter of fact, Juventus have beaten AC Milan twice this season, once in the league and once in the Coppa Italia and they would definitely like to go one better by reaching a new record of wins against the Rossoneri.
The common line written by Romanisti weeks ago saying - “it is only a Coppa match” - after their 3-0 loss to the Bianconeri, has become a trend for the Rossoneri now as well, as their side succumbed to a tireless Juventus team, united and never looked like they were going to lose the anticipated Coppa Italia clash in San Siro last night.
Mister Conte, with a very odd starting line-up introduced two new faces that were brought in during the winter mercato, Simone Padoin and Martin Caceres, though the latter is well known to the Bianconeri.
Antonio Conte deployed a 3-5-2 with Barzagli, Bonucci and Chiellini in the center of defense, while Caceres and Estigarribia covered the wings, leaving space for Padoin, Pirlo and the versatile Gaiccherini to take care of the middle. Obviously, so far, only Marco Storari has a guarantee in the starting line-up when on Coppa Italia duties, and rightly so.
An away 2-1 win against AC Milan in San Siro, gives Juventus a high advantage for the return leg at Juventus Stadium on 21st of March, and most importantly the club set a new record of an unbeaten run of 25 official matches in all competitions. Ladies and gentlemen - the Bianconeri are back better than ever.
… and ….
MAAAAAAAAAAARTINNNNNNNNNNN !!! CACEREEEEEEEESSSS!!!! There’s a new hero in Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. RE-INTRODUCE THE PERSON YOU’VE BEEN INTRODUCED TO.