Juventus: This Week In Black and White
This week began with players returning from International duty to a club in desperate need of a win. With the last three fixtures only yielding two points change was needed to get the season back on track. By the end of the week Adam Digby believes he has seen the start of something positive, giving Bianconeri fans reasons to remain hopeful of silverware come May.
First up was the Week Eight visit of old rivals Fiorentina to Turin. Ciro Ferrara once again stuck with the 4-3-1-2 formation that is ill-fitting to the current squad. This got off to a bad start when the returning Momo Sissoko was booked in the first minute for a dive!
Worse was yet to come when Grygera allowed Fiorentina a clear path to goal, the right back way out of position. Vargas punished this mistake, giving the Viola a fifth minute lead. It set a pattern that has been all too evident this season, and one which carried on throughout this game.
The formation leaves Juve exposed out wide, and particularly on the right. All too often they are dragged out of position too easily, leaving huge holes that the other defenders simply cannot keep covering. Jovetic and Vargas proved this time after time, doubling up on Grygera.
The Czech deserves some sympathy as the formation is leaving him exposed, but like Zebina he just isn't of the required standard. Surely the on-loan Martin Caceres deserves a run of games as he cannot be any worse.
Juventus eventually found an equaliser through Amauri, ending a goal drought that has lasted longer than his citizenship application! He was given a tap in to an empty net after a selfless pass from Vincenzo Iaquinta. Any hopes of the floodgates opening were soon dashed as Amauri wasted countless headed opportunities in the second half.
Another draw then left us with yet more pressure for the visit of Israeli champs Maccabi Haifa. With only two points so far it was vital Juve collected a win in this game in order to progress from Group A.
Ferrara finally seemed to admit the failure of his formation, opting for a new 4-2-3-1 strategy, giving Camoranesi and Giovinco the advanced roles but also expecting them to provide cover on the flanks. The team adapted slowly to the alteration, allowing Haifa much possession and chances in the first half.
As has become the norm this season, only Gigi Buffon prevented disaster. One save in the first minute that was truly breathtaking. Superman truly is back in the building. In this game however the team rallied round him, rising to the occasion and truly playing well for the first time in over a month.
Caceres was a first half sub for the injured Zebina, and looked solid. The new formation brought out the best from Camo and Giovinco, the youngster being particular showing some exquisite touches that left Haifa resorting to fouling him. Four of their players were booked for challenges on the Atomic Ant in the first half alone.
Grosso, Diego, and Cannavaro looked much more comfortable than in recent weeks too, but it was ultimately Chiellini who made the difference. His header just after the restart settled the tie, and some Bianconeri nerves. He also was fouled heavily, one challenge resulting in a red card for Dutra, who was lucky not to walk for a similar foul on Melo.
Buffon was clearly Man of the Match after yet more saves kept Haifa at bay, but the signs of change were definitely there. Early days for the new formation but it has already seen three points won, which were so vital this week. Another good performance this weekend at Siena and maybe Sampdoria will have reason to fear the Old Lady in midweek.
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