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Juventus FC
Posted by Sumeet Paul on 03/12/2012

'Sometimes in football you have to score goals'. Those are indeed the wise (comedic) words once uttered by Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, almost as obvious a statement as that which describes the current situation at Juventus. Four consecutive league draws, six in their last seven games, and just six goals scored since the start of February, all of which has seen the Bianconeri surrender their lead and allow Milan to open up a four point gap at the top of Serie A. Surrounded by cries of injustice and media blackouts, bad luck is one thing, having an impotent strike-force is another.


Pirlo and Juve struggle to break deadlock at Genoa ©Getty Images

Watching both Genoa-Juventus and Milan-Lecce simultaneously on Sunday afternoon, it became apparent the clear difference between the two sides. While both dominated their respective matches for large periods, it was clinical finishing in the final third of the pitch that separates them. Midfielder Antonio Nocerino registered his 9th goal of the season, albeit via a favourable deflection, while ‘Zlatan’ ruthlessly smashed home his 19th, more than Matri, Borriello, Quagliarella, Vucinic and Del Piero combined (16). Simone Pepe will have fair reason to feel aggrieved his goal was ruled out for offside, thus sparking the ban on speaking to the media, with a simple ‘Footage speaks for itself’ comment from the club on Twitter. The Bianconeri had 64 per cent possession, seventeen corners, roughly around 98 shots at goal and conspired to hit the woodwork three times. It just doesn’t seem to be happening for them at the moment.

Gone are the goals from midfield of Claudio Marchisio and Simone Pepe, their last efforts coming on December 4 and December 18 respectively. Alessandro Matri continues to be the most consistent goalscorer, with his fellow strike partners lacking any sort of clinical edge to aid him. Fortunately, Lazio’s loss at home to Bologna curtailed any talk of second-place being in danger for now, but with games against Fiorentina (A), Inter (H), Napoli (H), Palermo (A) and Lazio (H) to come, it would be preferable to see shots turned into goals sooner rather than later.

Despite the criticism levelled at those at one end of the pitch, there was reason to be positive at the other. With Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli both injured, and Leonardo Bonucci suspended, in stepped Martin Caceres and Arturo Vidal to steady the ship. Along with several fine saves from Gigi Buffon, the makeshift defensive duo did well in shutting out a usually potent Genoa attack, with the clean sheet a respectable achievement in itself. It was also refreshing to see ADP and especially Eljero Elia to be given a reminder of how it feels to step onto a football pitch, albeit just for the final quarter of the game.

As is expected, expectations are being lowered as the Scudetto begins to slip away. Yet in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge, 2nd place in Serie A with eleven games remaining and a semi-final Coppa Italia 2nd leg clash with Milan holding a 2-1 advantage isn’t such a bad return, is it? Looking ahead to the summer, a prolific striker might top the shopping list. Rather than a Marco Borriello 2.0, perhaps a proven goalscorer in the same mould of Gonzalo Higuain would help Juve make that step-up in quality?

What do you make of the reaction by the club to implement a media blackout? Is there an answer to the current woes in front of goal, something to be addressed in the summer? With a make-or-break fixture list approaching, can Juve still challenge for the Scudetto?

As always, leave your comments below and you can follow me on Twitter for more Juve and Serie A news @italiafooty and check out Football Curva

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Comments

Posted by Bob on 03/12/2012

Top sides need top goal scorers. It's becoming almost farcical. No losses the entire season and we are second. Top sides need top goal scorers. Matri is 11th equal. Just not good enough to win trophies. The Genoa game - 31 shots at goal with only 4 on target. Are you kidding me!! That's embarrassing. Lets just hope the brass in Turnin have a star quality strike weapon in mind come transfer time.

Posted by Decina on 03/12/2012

It really is embarassing to see a side with so much promise at the start of the season give away points like this. Even if we were to win that game against genoa 1-0 on pepe's goal it still wouldn't be the same as the large and convincing wins milan has been displaying. Their dominance in front of net is why they are so successful. Yes, our def. keeps us in every game (even our make shift vidal inspired defense) but that doesnt turn to goals and wins, only draws.
It has been said from every juve commentator and fan out there, but I hope we see new scorers next season. I feel as though the scudetto this year is lost. Give ADP a final horrah and let him play alongside Matri the rest of the season. We will find new strikers to bring in over the summer but let ADP show his worth and class one more time to the old lady.
I think we put all of our eggs in the coppa italia semi and shoot for a Coppa title. We need a trophy badly. But the scudetto is now a one team race.
Forza Juve!!

Posted by Sam on 03/12/2012

I'm smelling either Giuseppe Rossi or Gonzalo Higuain coming over the summer. And also, for the love of all things holy, why is Quags not getting on the field? Eighteen months ago he was one of the most dangerous strikers in Italy. He's fully healthy and showing flashes, he needs time on the field to get back into the swing of things and really thrive.

Posted by Tim on 03/12/2012

Juve are still alive and kicking in the Scudetto race. Milan will lose some games. However, Juve do need strikers over the summer. I hope Parma get relegated so they can sell back Giovinco for a reduced fee. Also, Juve need to pick up Higuain. Finally, Juve need a successor to Pirlo: Gotze.

Posted by Jack on 03/12/2012

Why in the world would Higuain want to come join the likes of Juve? He's playing so well for Madrid. I just don't see it happening. Rossi might be the better choice. Hopefully management can see just how desperately we need a superstar striker and splash out for one in the summer.

Posted by Roberto B on 03/12/2012

If the media blackout is intended to rally the team and infuse some sort of "us vs them" mentality then I have no problem with it. If it truly because we get no calls (and let's face i, we really don't) then I would be against it. The media blackout will not influence the ref's to finally call fouls. It will only serve to turn the ref's against us.

We are in need of a deeper squad for next year. We need cover for Pirlo and obviously a proven goal scorer would help. There is no doubt. I was not against the Borriello gamble since it was only a short term loan deal and not overly expensive; however, buying him at the reported 8M would be a huge mistake.

I agree with Sam. Why not give Quagliarella and Matri time together. Quagliarella's work rate in the two games he started cannot be questioned. He looked good in the first game and tried to do too much the second. Somewhere between those two performances couldn't hurt. We are not scoring now so why not give it a real try.

Posted by Lou S on 03/13/2012

Juventus played well against Genoa, far better than they did against Bologna on Wednesday. The team is struggling to score, and ADP sits on the bench, or is put in too late to have a fair chance of helping us win. This is a mystery I do not comprehend. I agree with others - start Del Piero with Matri and substitute them as needed. I still have hope that we can start winning instead of drawing.

Posted by Daniel Duncan on 03/13/2012

I beleive that the Juventus management never wanted or intended to win the Scudetto, why, because the January transfer window came and pass & they knew the needs of the team(a striker, a playmaker)but brought in Borellio&Pandoin seeing they had a chance to return the Scudetto to Turin. I do beleive that if u making an addition to the squad and the player is bringing a dynamic to the team or making it better then u should give a youth player the chance to shine instead. Since after the first game of the season I could of seen the weaknesses of the squad all i can say is rather than bring in a player who isn't going to make a difference then rethink that option cause it solves nothing. I do wait in patience to see what is done in the summer. Oh by the way we have a youth player in Immobile who has scored 18 goal in seria B and we sell him, lol, really, why do we even have a yuth sector that were not using? I feel so disapointed in this club rite now. the summer better bring some changes

Posted by Simon on 03/13/2012

Uff..Dropped point to a bottom of the table side again....Just what we never wanted...

Striker has been a problem for Juve since the begenning of the season...Since we had goals from midfilders like Pepe & Marchisio the 1st half of the seson looked good....

But to win scudetto we need good strikers, Quagliarella and Matri are good but we need definately 1 great striker...not Boriello & Vucnic types

The difference between Milan and Juve in the last 2-3 games is ofcourse a great striker "IBRA"...

In the begenning of the season we heard talk about Aguero & Rossi...but unfortunately didnt materialize...

Hope this is a lesson learnt by management and they will spend money next season (& ofcourse we will be playing UCL too) to get someone like Higuain..

Posted by Victor Bidarian on 03/14/2012

Juve not getting calls? Ibra should have been available to play against Juventus and his appeal getting turned down was unfair. Then The Muntari header which was a yard inside the goal...Milan has overall played better despite the massive injuries they have had, and Ibra dominates defenses in Italy in a beautiful way. Last but not least, ADP deserves to get 30 minutes a game based on his skill level and their inept offense both.

Posted by ezfulus on 03/14/2012

funny you should quote henry, when guy did exactly the opposite in his Juve time..lol.

Posted by banksey on 03/14/2012

best thing that could happen for juve would be for vucinic to break a leg

Posted by Ruddigar on 03/15/2012

As a Liverpool fan, I can definitely empathise with the inability to score goals, and a need for a great striker. When looking at the Juventus team sheet, the midfield does not ooze talent of previous generations to provide sercvice to hit men (marchisio and pirlo excluded), and the office is desperate to think Borriello is a solution. Juventus were always held in the same stratosphere as European royalty, to get back to the glory days needs big players, and should look at the successful playing styles in Serie A and abroad (Barcelona, Milan, Napoli, Real Madrid), are using 3 quality front men. Juventus need a Llorente / Falcao / Soldado in the middle, then Vucinic and Matri can add width.

Posted by Jose P on 03/15/2012

Wasnt able to see the match. Once I saw the highlights and elia on the pitch I was kicking myself. Damn foxsoccer favoring the milan clubs.
Dont see a scudetto this season and the media blackout is the result of our hot-tempered and fed up boardroom, let alone our fiery mister. This is expected. At least we dont go the way of those pissant spanish giants with their media frenzied antics.

Posted by Tim on 03/19/2012

@Sumeet can you do me a quick favor and read a comment war between me (shizzle787) and Forza-Trequarista (a retarded, delusional Milan fan) on the article titled Five-Star Juve keep pace with Milan (found on the Serie A homepage under more headlines on the first page) and tell me who won because my arguments are solid and this guy has been tormenting some of the Serie A threads with his prideful stupidity and mudslinging.

Posted by Sumeet on 03/20/2012

@Tim, I read the comments on that article. You made some good points and backed them up, I'd definitely agree with you. Whether a poor Fiorentina side had 10 or 11 men on the pitch, think it was always going to be a Juve win. Also like to congratulate you on staying respectful in the heat of debate! We all have opinions, good to see it doesn't always have to result in personal insults unlike your 'friend'! Cheers.

Posted by Tim on 03/20/2012

@Sumeet Thanks for the favor. I hope you didn't agree with me just because I'm a fellow Juve fan, but thanks again.

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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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