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So we reached the Christmas break, and I think this is an appropriate time to reflect on what we've achieved so far, what have been positive, what's been negative and what we shuld be looking forward to.

At seasons start- I had very low epectations from our team. Both because I thought the purchases made (and the sales) didn't assess our squad needs adequately, and because of the very poor pre-season results.
Conversely, we did bring in undisputed quality like Emerson, Cannavaro, Zlatan and first of all Capello whose presence virtually guarantee a competitive edge and a solid defence... something we were in a desperate need of after last seasons tragicomical displays.

Now- we're 4 points ahead of Milan in serieA, having failed to win only four serieA games so far, with just one defeat, conceeding just 7 goals from 16 games. To give perspective- we go into the holliday season assured that we'll be at least 15 points ahead of ever hopeful Inter...
Adding to this, we qualified from a CL group with Bayern and Ajax as the team with the highest point tally of all participants in the first stage, and can look forward to a mouthwatering double header against Real Madrid. A team that inspires everyone irrespective of their form, and a team that should suit us very well in terms of the way they play.

As such... we should be very, very happy with what we've accomplished so far.

The way we have gotten there has been mostly unspectacular and worksmanlike though. More and more as the season has gotten on.
We rely on the undisputed class of our keeper and central defence + gritty cover from midfield, making us extremely difficult to score against. Add that we've been bailed out by the ref., to various extents, in the last two games and it's even more difficult. At the other end- we're extremely cynical in taking advantage of the chances we do arrive at, and this pairing provides for regularly displeasing performances at an aestetical level ending up in solid/predictable one-goal wins.

We have precious little going for us in terms of creating plays and chances.
Nedved seems under the weather after a pretty strong start, and needs a little more pace to be the full throttle Nedved we so dearly need.
Del Piero.... the least said, the better, but I'll return to him later on.
Camo... the only attacking player who has done well regularly. Since we have no functioning game plan, it's essential to have players excel one on one, and through his speed and dribbling, Camo has been that player.
Zlatan has had an impressive debutseason so far- getting goals and numerous assists, but he is still a trickster more than he is an effective player. Loses too many posessions through attempting Maradonaesque moves.

The central midfield pairing sees Emerson as the immovable object, and Emo has been pretty stellar all things considered. He has been paired by Blasi or Appiah mostly who have had games ranging from dominant to awful in equal measure. Emerson adds class to our game, but we're uncoordinated and much too pedestrian in this sector. We frustrate opponents in central midfield, but I become frustrated too, when every play that isn't started as a fastbreak has to be horisontal passes from the two central midfielders, or hoofs for Zlatan from the back four. Aestetically it is almost a crime.

From the bench we've been blessed with Zalayeta frequently coming on to make a difference, adding strenght up front, and fitting in well with the "strategy" of bringing the ball into the area through long balls and "see where that takes us". So far that tactic has suited us well.
Olivera and Kapo have both done OK, even if they haven't had many chances to shine. It seems there's little trust in them.

Capello
Team selection: :star: :star: :star: (out of five)
It's hard to fault a man who's winning. At the same time I think our remarkable drop in form over the past few weeks are very much due to Capello never rotating our players. Nedved, Emerson, Zambrotta, Thuram and Cannavaro all play 90 minutes every single time they're available. There are too many games for this, and it's not sustainable in the end. At first it was understandable that the defence stayed identical to reach a point where it was confident and solid, but Capello has to tinker with the lineup in the new year if we want to win anything. Otherwise we will inevitably burn out.

Defensive organisation: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:
Look at last seasons defensive record. Look at this season. Look at us being more or less outplayed by Milan, in our own backyard, and ignolledge that despite a pitiful Juve performance, Milan had only two real chances at goal. We're rediculously difficult to score on, and that in itself takes us a long way.

Gameplay: :star: :star:
Hand on the heart.... we've been very boring lots of times, and there's not many matches that bring joy to the fans. Winning is the key, and I agree to that policy, but in the end winning is easier if you have a system of play that means you'll arrive at chances regularly, even against the strong teams. Currently we simply don't.

X-factors:

Alessandro Del Piero
Our captain has scored important goals, shown short bursts of plays igniting hope that he was on his way... and he then does that Milan game. It would be impossible to convey to those who did not see the match how poor DP was... if he hadn't had several such matches before already.
Timid, unbearably slow, lost the ball on every posession he tried to do something on his own, and on the moon in terms of how to make himself a factor in the game. He ran on the left wing, between the halfway line and the area (where he is still dangerous, but for some reason he thought it inpertinent to try and penetrate and give Ibra some much needed support..) and seemed hellbent on making himself a non-factor in the game. DP in that kind of form is a success stop gap. He contributes nothing, and should not play. If anything, he has looked better when coming on as a sub, when defenders are a bit tired, and he really has a point to prove. He should be a sub, but that comes naturally through...

Roí David's Return!
Zlatan has unreal skill at times, DP can do some magic still.... David Trezeguet is by far our best striker, and I've missed him SO much!
He is the only one out of four who has the movement to be an area striker. The others simply don't know how to position themselves compared to Trez.
I think, all else being equal, that Trezeguet and Zlatan can become a very effective partnership. Zlatan can drop back a bit, and his ability to control the ball in a crowd will be that much more effective when there's another player up there with him for the defenders to pay attention to. Zlatan is great when going outside to get the ball and run at opponents, but we need a scorer in the area. Trez, assuming he'll find form quickly, should add a reliable stream of goals, as he has always done, and we're clearly a MUCH better team when we're ahead.

January market
It's almost redundant by now, but the one part of our starting lineup where we can really improve is to get a central midfielder who can link the midfield to the attack. Blasi, Appiah and Tacchinardi are all good role players and they're good for squad rotation. But they're all defensive midfielders and so is Emerson. Emerson would be an ultra classy anchor, but now he's being played as if he was the attacking component in central midfield. He clearly shouldn't, and I'd be tremendously happy to see us get a playmaker. It's not like Capello cannot utilize one as we've seen with Totti. If not a genuine regista/fantasista, then at least one who has both steal and imagination like Emerson. Players like Gerrard, Juninho Pernambucano, Barraja, Stankovic, MARESCA etc. spring to mind.

Central defenders and defensive depth
Clearly, Thuram and Cannavaro are world class. After that... we're a big question mark. Legrottaglie apparently won't get a game, and looks dead set to leave in January. Tudor has played one game this season I think. Montero is the favoured option, and we all know how unreliable he can be... Iuliano is a big nono, the club is trying to sell him, and he's likely to leave in January and if nothing else he will be off in the Summer where his contract expires. Then there's the evergreen Ciro... Since we know nothing about the current level of our back ups, we could suffer alot when one of the top dogs are out for a sustained period of time. Big changes to be expected in the Summer.
Zambro is the best in the world, but playing him all the time has taken his attacking teeth out, and we dearly need a cover for him. Zambro on form is one of our most effective attacking weapons (like RC was for Madrid), and his delclining form has been one of the main reasons our performances have dropped off. Please act Moggi! Zebina has often been crucial for us on the right, but after his injury he has had two shocking displays against Bologna and Milan that proved he remains a Jekyll/Hyde defender. Very adequate as a first sub I think, but we'd really benefit from getting and upgrade here I think (but PLEASE don't take Panucci, Capello!). Zebina remains a positive this season though.


Summa summarum.... we have a very successful team with problems. Problems that will largely disappear in terms of results if we recharge the batteries, stay injuryfree and get Trezeguet back in shape, because we've been built with the workmanlike outset in mind.
In terms of performances and quality of our game, I fear it won't change for the better until we get another partner for Emerson. We simply need a player who can make the difference and control the game with great passing to improve much in this aspect. We might not need it to win titles, but I would REALLY like to see it just the same!
 

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Great post yes,but a depressing one too :( reminding me of all of our shortcomings.I'm afraid not even half of the changes you(and surely all Juventini) want will be dealt with.
 

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The Milan match reminded me a bit of the Euro2000 game between Holland and Italy. It was quite amusing how the opposition just couldn't score. A strange performance characterized by untidy, tight defending which surprisingly proved enough. I don't even know why Capello bothered fielding any attackers on a night which nobody could string 3 passes together. Did he retain the same coaching staff we had the seasons before this? Milan might have won and nobody would have complained. Do they deserve to win because they looked prettier? The onus was on them to crack a very bad Juve which rode its luck to the extreme - they didn't. They couldn't. That's not to be taken as a compliment but in the end, they still had to rely on moaning and diving for a win. This point can be better appreciated if one has the time to trawl through the usual trash that's available in several other threads.

The day Capello was appointed over say, Deschamps, this is to be expected. The coach should be assessed on the criterion he was hired for. In this case, it was for results. The match against Milan summed this up perfectly albeit in the worst possible manner, an exaggerated manner but not a surprising one.

Anyway, I agree with your criticism of people like DP as it is warranted. However, he was only as bad as the people who surrounded him and those available to substitute him. There is no need for anything excessive and surely no grounds for the kind of derogatory nonsense that piss-takers are having field days with. It is sad to see increasing agreement with such malice in the name of 'harmless jibes' the same clowns always cling onto.
 

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What did you expect? The combination of the world's most cynical and result oriented club and coach resulted in very good results and very little entertainment.
I still predict that Capello won't ever rotate the squad and give rest to the key players and you will be burnt out at the end. That's what he always do. That's why his teams always have a much better autumn than spring.
 

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Spring should be nowhere near as busy as fall - CL is only knockouts, and we will be out of the Coppa after the return leg.

Let's see what Trez and Ibra can do together. Then we'll know ...
 

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Superb read Glen! :shades:

I feel that the tiredness came into play towards the latter part of the season but it is not all tiredness alone. It is a static approach that went from excellent execution (start season) to decent execution (now).

What I mean by the static approach is redundancy by picking up the same players time and again (due to non-availability of others or weak bench) and this can work well for a couple of months or so but after that the teams starts to lose out on ideas and fresh approaches. It becomes repetitive which gives the opponents a good opportunity to devise a game plan as it is easier to read Juve.

Plus, one has to consider that a good run doesnot carry on forever and in every season there are ups and downs for teams. All the teams have that and this is a dry patch for Juve and yet they got out of it unscathed so to speak.

Juve has downshifted gears now and the break is here to revitalize energies. But after a couple of months (till Feb) the ship could well start stumbling yet again. The worrying point IMO for you guys will arrive once again in March. Juve or any other team simply cannot play the whole season with 12-14 players. There are way too many games nowadays for that to happen.

The Christmas break will only help just a little. As half the season is already gone the tiredness will return after two months instead of five months this time. Juve can't survive this season with this same set of players (playing 12-13 guys)

The players who get tired most are the midfielders and fullbacks. Juve needs to rotate them or else it will be troubled waters. That is why there are big squads nowadays.
 

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Spring should be nowhere near as busy as fall - CL is only knockouts, and we will be out of the Coppa after the return leg.
There's still 22 games to be played in the league, and many of the Juve players already look tired. And it's not like you eevr play the starters in the Coppa, so that doesn't matter. About CL - it may be knockout only, but 4 or more extremely important and physically and mentally demanding games may well be on the cards for Juve in the competition.
 

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top post, Glen.

I agree on all fronts, and cant think of anything to add! We DO need to add some more ideas into the attack. Be it players, or a reorganization of some sort.

Glen's post :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: (out of five)

:D
 

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that's the best post in Glen's life ;)

that's going to a word document pal :)
 

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Well summarised, Glen and Chinq.

Capello's rigid selection has been a big worry for me too.

In short, I don't expect Capello to rotate any players to fit our wishes, and I very much doubt that we'll see any new signings in the Jan transfer window.
 
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