Does Antonio Conte Need to Rethink Formation for Juventus to Progress?

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIIMarch 18, 2014

Juventus midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah, center of Ghana, celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Fiorentina at the Juventus stadium, in Turin, Italy, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Massimo Pinca)
Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

Antonio Conte is approaching a crossroads in his Juventus career. With the Bianconeri faithful growing greedy from their domestic dominance, more is demanded.

Whether that be breaking through in the European competitions or just improving the style of play, that has become rather turgid for large parts of this season.

That latter accusation can instantly be attributed to the lack of competition in Serie A, thus forcing Juve to become complacent, knowing that their exhilarating best is not necessary to dispatch the vast majority of sides in the league.

Victims of their own success, maybe, but Conte must find a way to evolve this side, a trait that all great managers hold.

At any one point, the balance of the side has never been quite right during his tenure in Turin.

Unfortunately, Kwadwo Asamoah's sudden prominence on the left flank has coincided with Stephan Lichtsteiner suffering a lull in his performances, creating a predictability to their play.

To me in past few weeks Asamoah has been Juve's best player, he has become an excellent winger now- LWB no longer a need

— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) March 14, 2014

The Ghanaian had tended to be very casual in possession and moves would often break down when focused down his flank, but the same can now also be leveled toward the Swiss international on the opposite flank.

Perhaps it is due to the formation growing stale, opponents catching up to Juve or simply down to a necessity for stronger or more varied options in these positions.

The problem with only one of the wide players enjoying a fine spell of form is that when the play is concentrated down one flank, the opposition can concentrate their efforts on blocking this channel.

With Juve's gifted centre-midfield options, all of whom are capable of moving the ball at great pace, the Old Lady can easily counter this problem by spreading the ball to the opposite side of the pitch.

But with Lichtsteiner's lack of pace and penetration, Juve often find themselves shuffling the ball from side to the other without much purpose.

Of course, it is not all doom and gloom, as Asamoah has transformed himself into a reliable outlet down the left, capable of taking care of the ball, as well as using his dynamism to ghost past his opponents.

Conte answered that Juve have problems using the flanks when their formation is mirrored (3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-3), because of no space.

— Jacopo Piotto (@jacopopiotto) March 16, 2014

Yes, these are the ideal characteristics for a wide player in Conte's preferred system.

Lichtsteiner, then, may need to up his game quickly, or face the consequences of the Bianconeri searching for a new right-sided player to complement Asamoah's full package.

It has become all too predictable in patches this season, as teams who are capable of shadowing Juve's system can frustrate them for large spells.

Without a player of Asamoah's ilk to provide that dual threat from the wings, Conte may feel it is necessary to change up the system.

While the league is more than likely secured for another season, Fiorentina have proven to be a tough nut to crack in Europe.

If Juve can squeeze past the Viola into the next round, greater tactical versatility will be required if Juve are to triumph on the European stage, even if it is at the secondary level.

Asamoah could certainly be accommodated in a switch to a 4-3-3 system that has been utilised on the odd occasion over the three seasons that Conte has been in charge.

Sebastian Giovinco's trickery and close control make him a viable option on the opposition side; both Formica Atomica and Asamoah could flank one of Juve's stellar centre-forwards, in all probability Tevez.

Happy for Giovinco, I still believe in him. If Conte is serious about switching formation there is a future at Juve for him IMO

— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) February 27, 2014

Conte is no fool; he will know he must be proactive now to ensure Juve keep riding this sensational period of success.

While the competition domestically may not be sufficient to drive Juve to the next level, Conte's burning desire to achieve success is.