Another week, another two important games for Coach Ciro Ferrara and the team. Last week saw Juventus break out of their mini-slump with a tough draw against Fiorentina and a vital Champions League win over Maccabi Haifa.
This week, Juventus visited Siena, then hosted surprise team Sampdoria, everyone connected with the Bianconeri was hoping the revival continued.
The Siena game was one Juventus have traditionally done well in, earning maximum points here was expected. Sandwiched in between a Champions League game and the visit of Sampdoria meant the team would include a number of squad players, rotation essential to protect players from the effects of a long season.
As such, Grosso, Cannavaro, Iaquinta, and Sissoko were given a breather, as Ferrara returned to his preferred 4-3-1-2 formation. This has been heavily criticised as being too dependent on Diego performing, while demonstrating both Juve's lack of pace and width in attack and defence.
The Bianconeri were in fine form, however, and completely dominated the game. Siena barely had an attack of note. The disappointing aspects were yet another abject display from Molinaro and that the game ended just one goal to nil. The fact Amauri scored the only goal, his second in two Serie A games, did wonders for his confidence, and the rest of his play has drastically improved as a result.
Juventus needed this boost in form from the Brazilian as later in the week another meniscus injury was revealed. Following tears in the same muscle of Buffon and Marchisio came the news Vincenzo Iaquinta needed similar surgery, meaning the in form striker will miss around forty days as he recovers.
Rotation was a theme at Juventus this week, as outgoing President Giovanni Coboli-Gigli was replaced by former General Manager Jean-Claude Blanc.
Since Calciopoli in 2006 Juventus, led by Coboli-Gigli have projected a nice, wholesome, repentant image. They accepted demotion with grace, appointed the well-liked Ranieri as manger and generally played the part of honourable, quiet contenders.
While this was essential in the immediate aftermath of the scandal, Juve fans felt the punishment had been served and it was time for the Old Lady to become ruthless once more in her pursuit of silverware.
In his first interview as President, Blanc went out of his way to point out that he wanted to win lo Scudetto this season, not only to complete the journey back from Serie B, but so they can add a third star to the shirt, representing 30 titles won.
Blanc is of the same opinion as every Juve fan, and player, they have won 29, with two asterisks for those taken away. This was highly controversial, but made Blanc an instant hero, a President free to speak his mind and heart.
Not to be outdone by a man in a suit, the team took the field against early pace-setters Sampdoria on Wednesday night. The game was expected to be a closely fought battle between the teams in second and third place.
Ciro Ferrara and the team showed it would be no such thing. Setting up in the 4-2-3-1 fans have called for, Juve attacked from the first whistle. Diego, Giovinco and Camoranesi tore into the Doria defence, Melo and Sissoko provided an impenetrable shield behind them.
A two-nil halftime lead was merely the start, as two more goals quickly followed the restart. Two of the first four goals came from the reborn Amauri, who seems a different player now he is back on the score sheet, and the team benefits from his great all-round play.
Doria did score eventually, a brief lapse in concentration from Cannavaro allowing Pazzini to head home. The game then lulled as Juventus killed off any hope of a come back, but Trezeguet still managed to add a fifth.
A huge win, giving players and fans the belief that this Juventus can give Inter a serious challenge this term. Ferrara made all the right choices, nullifying a potent Sampdoria attack while showcasing an attacking prowess that many believed was there, if they could break out and play. Ferrara allowed them that freedom, and reaped huge reward.
With the Presidents rallying cry in their ears, and a 5-1 win over Sampdoria, Juventus await Napoli's visit on Saturday evening, before the away game with Haifa. Playing like this few would back against two wins. The Napoli game will be an emotional test for the coach, and Cannavaro, as both hold Naples close in their hearts.
Also close is the return of il Captaino, Alessandro Del Piero, another player to add to the weapons at Ferrara's disposal. It maybe too early to talk of a third star, but the Bianconeri are certainly headed in the right direction.
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