“Juventus are over reliant on Andrea Pirlo. It is Pirlo who dictates the game. If you take him out, the others become like ants” scoffed Catania general manager Pietro Lo Monaco after his side held the Bianconeri to a draw on Sunday. Creator-in-chief, ‘L'architetto’ was prevented from being at his fluent best on Sunday, with those struggles permeating through to the rest of the team in Sicily. Despite producing a decent performance considering the lack of time and space he was afforded, does Lo Monaco have a point? Can Juve find a Plan B to win games when the hub of their creativity is shut down?
The Old Lady sits pretty at the top of the table after four games, thus there should be no reason to gripe. Pirlo welcomes some familiar faces to Turin on Sunday, a game which will undoubtedly provide further indications of how far Juve have come, and how far they can go. Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri stated this week that he believes both Inter and Juve will challenge his side for the Scudetto this season, a statement those in Turin are keen to play down. With Claudio Ranieri breathing life back into the Nerazzurri, while Allegri begins to welcome back some key individuals, Antonio Conte will hope to continue what has been a solid start to the season.
As the week progressed, events on the field became overshadowed once more by those off it. As the Calciopoli trial continues to rage on, Luciano Moggi’s lawyer revealed new evidence containing a call between former referee designator Paolo Bergamo and ex-referee Paolo Rodomonti. At the time of the call, Juve were 15 points ahead of Inter in Serie A, below is the transcript released by Tuttosport;
Bergamo told Rodomonti: "There is a 15 point gap between the teams, make sure you are well prepared psychologically.
"Play your game and if I am to be honest, if you have any doubts then think about the team behind, not the one in front, do you understand me?
"This is between me and you. You know how hard it is to reach the top and if you fall down then it will be silly for you. Be intelligent."
Moggi, banned for life by the Italian football authorities following the 2006 scandal, promised it would ‘change everything’. His lawyer, Maurillo Prioreschi, told the current trial in Naples that ‘the whole process is a fix’ and that ‘someone has a joke on the phone and then instantly stands accused’ as he argued the whole case should be quashed.
As the trial rumbles on, Conte will be busy organising his troops for the game ahead. While Milan entertain Plzen in the Champions League on Wednesday night, the Bianconeri have the week to rest, observe and prepare. With Eljero Elia failing to impress in Sicily, and Giorgio Chiellini picking up defensive tips from Fabio Grosso, Conte has plenty to work on ahead of what will undoubtedly be his biggest test since taking charge. Can Juve grab all three points against the defending champions? We shall find out on Sunday night.
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