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Posted by Sumeet Paul on 01/30/2012

'Snow and Udinese were not enough to put the brakes on this flying Juve side. Now Milan must try to keep pace with the Old Lady, as she continues her charge and gathers momentum'

Taken from Sunday's edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, the quote above seemingly echoes the general consensus that the Scudetto race is rapidly becoming a two-sided affair. Having now broken free of Saturday night's opponents, opening up a six-point gap over third-placed Udinese, the Bianconeri's next task appears to be plotting an escape from the tireless hunt of Massimiliano Allegri's side.

Following a great tactical display and a much improved all-round performance, not even the Turin snow halted Antonio Conte’s men in their quest to temporarily open up a four-point lead over their closest rival. Despite the 300-esque appearance of the eleven Juve warriors doing battle under heavy snowfall (plus General Conte in his little woolly hat), the combination of the Juventus Stadium itself and the tifosi acting as the proverbial 12th man were enough to help inspire Juve to a hard-fought victory. Fresh from the Coppa Italia win over Roma in mid-week, the fans inside the stadium created an atmosphere befitting of the finest from around Europe.

The game itself was in stark contrast to the reverse fixture against Francesco Guidolin’s side in December. That goalless draw was almost a distant memory within 120 seconds of the kick-off as Marcelo Estigarribia could have opened up the scoring with a glorious chance. However, two goals from Alessandro Matri, his eighth and ninth of the season, either side of an Antonio Floro Flores strike, were enough to warm up the Old Lady and give Conte all three points. While some may still question the title credentials of Juve, waiting each week for a sign of weakness and slip-up, their relentless charge continues as they recorded back-to-back victories for the first time since November.

Conte’s next challenge comes at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, taking on Roberto Donadoni’s Parma. The one lingering criticism of this Juventus continues to be the question marks over their clinical edge. The prime guilty party for this had been top-scorer Matri, but with a brace on Saturday, you can hardly lay fault at his feet? However, Conte also had other reasons to be displeased with his side’s display;

“We’ve got to improve the way we control the result. We lost the ball too many times in the middle of the park, allowing counter-attacks to Udinese.

“I got very angry at our sterile possession, which was just playing into Udinese’s hands”

Milan’s win against Cagliari on Sunday night cut the gap to a solitary point, however the Rossoneri now face a daunting fixture list in February, including Champions League commitments and a two-legged Coppa Italia semi-final with Juve to look forward to, the first leg of which is on February 8.

Juventus

31/01 – Parma (A)
05/02 – Siena (H)
12/02 – Bologna (A)

Milan

01/02 – Lazio (A)
05/02 – Napoli (H)
12/02 – Udinese (A)

The general line from those within the club will undoubtedly be that we must concentrate on our games and not worry about those around us. However, should Juve maintain their current form, the next few weeks could finally see some daylight break in between themselves and Milan while the likes of Lazio and Inter remain further back.

Juve Extra!

With just a few days separating us from the transfer deadline, it’s possible there will be some movement in and out of Turin.

Confirmed is the departure of Amauri, desperately sad news for most Juventus fans who no doubt will need time to recover from the despair of seeing him leave. Luca Toni will follow him through the exit door with a move to Al Na$r. Meanwhile, Martin Caceres returned to the club from Sevilla, an excellent signing, one which will without question improve the squad.

Rumours suggested Cagliari midfielder Radja Nainggolan was the primary target, but President Massimo Cellino declared he would not join Juventus during a furious outburst following the loss at Milan. Elsewhere the merry-go-round involving where Milos Krasic will end-up continues, Zenit the latest to be linked. Rumours also intimate that Eljero Elia is wanted by Newcastle United.

Think Juve can widen the gap at the top in the forthcoming weeks or will their wastefulness in front of goal eventually haunt them? Does Conte really need Nainggolan with likes of Giaccherini and Marrone stepping-in when needed? Post your thoughts below.

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Comments

Posted by Shrims on 01/30/2012

we don't need Nainggolan.. all we need to do is keep krasic and elia.. these two are gems an i am so frustrated to see them not getting any playing time... estigaribias and giacherinis wont win us the scudetto..!!

Posted by Firro on 01/30/2012

I dont know if signing Nainggolan would strength the squad, But what I know is Marrone and Giaccherini are doing good job alongside Pazienza so why do we need more midfielders? However, if Pazi decided to leave then the team would need a midfielder but dont you think 15M on Nianggolan is a fair price??

Posted by stephen on 01/30/2012

I have to agree with Shrims 54 here. I think we already have great mid fielders on the pitch and on the bench. As such there is no need to invest in any other (especially average) mid fielders. In my opinion we have a formidable team and if we have to invest, we should invest in a single 'above average' or world class striker.
Krasic and Elia are still good assets to Juventus.

FORZA JUVE!!!

Posted by Roberto B on 01/30/2012

With all do respect to Shirms, have you been watching the same Krasic for the past two years and have you actually seen Elia play. Krasic was a bust from the moment go. In 90 minutes on the field, we were lucky if he contributed 15 of play. He drifts in and out of the game so often and all he has is speed which the defenses have learned to shut down. He can't shoot and can barely cross the ball.

Elia could be a great player but he does not want to be at Juve. See his remarks when he was still in Germany. "Juve are not big enough for me" or something to that effect.

Firro makes a good point that Nainggolan does not necessarilty strengthen the team as his qualities are not really any better than what we have. I would like to see Pazienza play more and Vidal play far less. Although even I have to admit he had a good 2nd half against Udinese.

Posted by Matt on 01/30/2012

I must disagree with Shrims' assesment. Although I was excited when Elia joined at the end of the summer, and though Krasic had a good first half of last season (who could forget the winner vs Lazio?), I'm not frustrated at their lack of playing time. If I've learned one thing from this season thus far, it is to trust Conte. The 20 match unbeaten run to start the season is a new club record, and he's shown excellent judgement in who to play, when, and at what position. If Krasic/Elia were practicing well and working hard, Conte would play them. Clearly he feels that he has better options available, so he does not play them. I suspect that attitude is the main problem for both; if either wants to see the pitch, all they need to do is improve the attitude and work harder and they'll play.

Posted by Sicilian Juve on 01/30/2012

I agree with Matt. In Conte we trust
Forza Juve!

Posted by Tim on 01/31/2012

@stephen we really need a world class CB to pair with Chiellini: maybe Hummels from Borussia Dortmund; also,@roberto Elia skipped town when Hamburg were in last to join Juve: so he definitely
is happier here than in Juve; he probably wanted to go to RM or Barca.

Posted by Roberto B on 01/31/2012

@tim why would you want to invest in another CB? Barzagli has been excellent all year. Has played every min of every game and is the current first choice for the national team. We need to find the future replacement for Pirlo not Barzagli. Also Bonucci looked solid against Udinese. Perhaps it is a sign of him beginning to rediscover his form. Lets hope so.

Posted by JamJuventino on 01/31/2012

Krasic and Elia no doubt look excellent on youtube but what matters is the action when they play. Krasic hasn't played to the level when he 1st came and we saw Elia against Catania, he was deservedly taken off at halftime. Giac and Esti have played well and scored, they deserve to be in the team. Krasic and Elia need to take a page out of their book and work hard to get in the starting XI.

Posted by Daniel Duncan on 02/01/2012

I think the players we currently have are all great prospects with one or two needing to raise their level, the only thing we need really currently is for a extraordinary striker. I like Matri but i think he needs some competition for him to move to the next level.

Posted by Simon on 02/02/2012

I like that "In Conte we trust"...20 match unbeaten and on top of the table....yes, In Conte we trust...

Posted by Nick Dalba on 02/03/2012

I think the addition of another defensive midfielder would be a welcome addition. They play a lot of games and legs get tired. Having depth prepares Juve for league and Euro (Champions league hopefully) competition next season. I like the rumour that we will pursue Higuain in the summer. I stated at the beginning of the season that I thought Juve were building a team with the right role players for Conte's system, and I think they are continuing to build a strong club. Getting Caceras is another coup. He is a strong left back, put Chiellini back in the middle with Barzagli and you have one of Europe's best back 4. I am very excited to see how Juve fare the rest of the season, the team attitude has changed, there is a swagger now, a confidence. Go Juve!

Posted by Jim on 02/03/2012

I think another midfielder is unessacary. Remeber, Vidal is a natural CDM and Elia is a natural LM. When Pirlo need a break, they can fill in those spots nicely. The midfeild and defense are strong. Juve is missing a finishing touch, Someone to play next to Matri. Rumor is Chealsea want to part with Drogba. He is an instant upgrade over Vučinić and will retire in three or so years, making room and money for us to sign a young striker.

Posted by Tim on 02/03/2012

It's amazing we're talking about Drogba and Higuain in the same sentence as Juve. This year is going to put us back on the map.

Posted by Daniel Duncan on 02/03/2012

I fell so Happy and proud to see how well Juve are doing now. I hope we win the title this season but I hope to see the likes of Ekdal, Daud, Pasquato, Giovinco, Bonperti, Immoble,Giandonato and all the rest of young talent back in Juve. Although I thing they need to pick up a player to take Pirlo place sooner rather than later and top finisher, Higuain is a good prospect he's young and talented. Can't wait for summer to see what happens. Fonza Juve!

Posted by Chris on 02/05/2012

Matt nailed it on the Krasic/Elia issue. Conte rewards hard work. @Daniel Duncan--> I would like to see some of the young talent come back to Juve also, especially Immoble. Although I have been surprised that Pasquato and Giandonato haven't been able to get any playing time at Lecce this season. Does anybody have a report on the new kid from Ajax Ouasim Bouy?

Posted by Adam on 02/07/2012

I can only imagine what we could accomplish if Elia or Krasic showed the same passion and determination as a Giaccherini or a Estagarribia. I agree we are in desperately need of a top class finisher now. Higuain would be great alongside Vucinic. I wish we could have lured Giuseppe Rossi, he and Matri I feel would have been good together up top. I've heard interesting rumors of Luis Suarez as a replacement of Del Piero. What do you guys think? He has come into his own lately and can be a good creative force up top lacking with Ale on the bench. @Chris Ouasim Bouy appeared in the Juve B match last week and scored. I'm hopeful he will ascend to the first team in a year or so.

Posted by Daniel Duncan on 02/07/2012

All round the side looks stable, near perfect and i think Krasic&Elia need to find their form, but they still lack the potency of ah killer striker, don't really understand the Borellio buy cuz i think if we're building a team i think youth is vital & a better so i would of like to of seen the likes of Immoble&Daud or even the return of Giovinco don't really see Borrellio&Padoin as a future prospect. When i read the Juve page they claim to be involving youth but where is it so many talents come through the youth system and yet no one gets the opportunity I am fascinated they retained Marrone though. Tell me something guys don't u fell the purchases the made this Jan could of been supplemented by the youth players who are doing so well, especially the likes of Borrellio&Padoin we dont need them. Conte should just give Elia&Krasic playing time for them to regain their confidence.Quads&Borrellio out; Rossi&Balotelli in, thats if u gonna buy players rather than use youth. Fonza Juve!

Posted by diego on 02/09/2012

Daud is no longer a juventus player. Immobile,padovan,appelt,bouy. These are the hot Juve prospects

Posted by don michel on 02/09/2012

Caceres hits a double which includes a phenomenal strike from outside the area! What a game... what a win... thanks Bianconeri!!!
Grande Cáceres, grande Conte, grande Juve!!!
great juve !! forza la vechia signora !! by:www.starfootball.com

Posted by Mercedes on 06/17/2012

Actually, Mourinho spent most of his Inter career pailyng 4-3-1-2. He joined with the intention of pailyng a 4-3-3, that didn't work, he switched to 4-3-1-2 and played that for about a year, and it wasn't until Inter eliminated Chelsea that he decided on a 4-2-3-1.As for Inter having the players for a 4-2-3-1, that either involves Pandev getting his form back (at the moment he can barely control a ball), or one of Eto'o or Coutinho pailyng on their less preferred sides (both are much more effective cutting in from the left, Coutinho is useless on the right and Eto'o is too lethal a goalscorer to compromise his best position).Leonardo has found the system that best suits his current squad, which is loaded with fantastic central players and has little impact on the wings. Even under Mourinho, Inter used the wings to shut down opposition full-backs rather than to stretch play, most of Inter's attacks went down the middle (if not, then Maicon-not Eto'o or Pandev-was responsible for stretching play).So far, no team has really threatened to dismantle Inter's 4-3-1-2 yet, so we've yet to see what Leonardo is willing to do to adapt his team. The games against Bayern will be a good indicator, since Bayern play a 4-2-3-1 and like attacking the wings, something Leonardo's Inter have yet to really encounter.

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About
David Young After watching his first Serie A game as a youngster, Sumeet Paul has been an avid fan of Italian football ever since. Offering in-depth and opinionated views, coupled with a humourous element, he has a strong desire to become involved in sports writing. Pairing up his life's two greatest loves; football and talking, he would appreciate any feedback and general football conversation, you can email him at sumeetpaul7@googlemail.com or you can follow him on twitter @italiafooty

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