Friday, 12 October 2012

Armenia vs Italy Thoughts

De Rossi and Osvaldo scored for Italy along with
Andrea Pirlo in a 3-1 victory at Armenia today.
The trip to Armenia was another one of those games for Italy that you just knew seemed easier than it was going to be. Armenia thought to be a minnow among the general soccer population was not at all an easy victory for the Italians. As usual the Azzurri played down to their opponents, for whatever reason they cannot get up for these games. The difference between Italy vs Germany in the Euro tournament and Italy now is about the size of the Grand Canyon it would seem. However we must try to stay calm and cheer on the Azzurri no matter what.

This is still an experimental period for Cesare Prandelli and as we have seen he continues to test out many different players. Its a luxury Italy has that many other nations do not, which is they can test out a lot of different things and still come away with victories without the 'A' team of the moment. Prandelli is looking at the bigger picture and who might be his 'A' squad in 2014.

I hate to say it but the more I watch Sebastian Giovinco the more I lose faith in him. He is an incredibly talented player but he just can't get the job done on the big stage, whether it be with Juventus or the Nazionale. He started out well today vs Armenia, but they adjusted to him and he became a non-factor along with fellow striking partner Pablo Osvaldo for much of the match. One thing the Atomic Ant does extremely well though, is win fouls.

Domenico Criscito made his return to the squad and the masked man was one of the better players on the pitch, attacking the down the left flank and somehow getting back in defense as well. He may not have made a difference against Spain in the final of the Euro, but he would have made the team better overall, will be an integral part of the 2014 squad.

Chiellini was left out of Italy's starting XI
vs Armenia.
Italy however showed many holes in defense, they bent but didn't break .. although Gigi Buffon made an incredible stop on a Davit Manoyan volley which was set up by the man who was the best player on the pitch Henrikh Mkhirtanyan. The midfielder who plays with Ukrainian club Shakhtar took the game to Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci for the second time in as many weeks, the first being in the Juventus-Shakhtar Champions League match a week ago. But back to the Azzurri defense, the first question I ask is why Bonucci and Barzagli? Has Bonucci overtaken Giorgio Chiellini in the eyes of Prandelli? In my eyes the best central defense Italy can offer right now is Barzagli and Chiellini in a four man defense. Bonucci still has a lot of questions to answer as a young defender. Even if Prandelli is looking to the future, the most likely to be left out of the 2014 squad would be Barzagli as he will be 33 by then. However I still believe Italy's central defense is in good shape for the future as it usually is.

I still question Francesco Lodi not being given a chance at the Azzurri squad, dude can flat out play, is the best set-piece taker in Italy aside from Andrea Pirlo and has led Catania to successful Serie A seasons (by their standards) for quite some time now. So what gives? If your going to give Alberto Gilardino a call-up because he is in form, then Lodi deserves one also.

Riccardo Montolivo does nothing for me.

Tuesday will be a much more difficult match-up against Denmark, and hopefully the Azzurri will get some extra motivation from the home fans because they are going to need it. Hopefully Mario Balotelli is ready and able to play, and I'm willing to give Giovinco one more chance, mainly because I think the best complement for him is Super Mario. We shall see but expect another exploratory attack from the Azzurri.

Czech Republic2110314

Keep Calm and Forza Azzurri

With another set of World Cup Qualifiers on the horizon for Cesare Prandelli's re-vamped Azzurri squad, we as fans of the Nazionale, need to keep calm and trust in the project. As good as the run through the Euro 2012 was, one thing was very evident in the squad, the need for youth.

The first excuse used for the 4-0 drubbing in the final of the Euro was fatigue. Not for anything but Spain had to play the same amount of games, so why were the Azzurri so much more tired than 'La Roja'?

One thing is forsure Cesare Prandelli has recognized the need for a new influx of youth and is giving many youngsters a fair chance at making a name for themselves. Marco Verratti, Angelo Ogbonna, Mattia Destro just to name a few. If Italy is to be successful they will need these guys to be integral parts of the squad.

As great as Andrea Pirlo is, and how he has been able to continue playing at such a high level despite his age, he struggles when playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. Moving to Juventus last season was the best thing that could have happened for the midfield maestro. They had only the Serie A to worry about, it was their lone goal for the season, to return as Italian champions. Pirlo was able to stay fresh and was one of the main reasons, if not the reason Juventus was able to win the Scudetto. But in the Euro, and now in Juventus' Champions League campaign, he struggles when having to play a lot of games in a short amount of time. It's not that he becomes a horrible player, he is just not as good. This is where Marco Verratti comes in, at least for the Azzurri, Prandelli knows that it is time to start grooming the 19 year old to be the 'Regista' of the Azzurri midfield with Pirlo on the decline. We won't know how much Pirlo will be able to give the Azzurri come 2014, and with a talent as bright as Verratti it is a no-brainer that Prandelli should start to expedite the process of replacing Andrea Pirlo as the midfield maestro of the Azzurri.

Marco Verratti is not the only Italian youngster on the rise. Mattia Destro, Angelo Ogbonna, Lorenzo Insigne, Ciro Immobile, Luca Marrone, Stephen El Shaarawy, are just some of the names that have been getting Calcio fans excited over the last year or so and are all names that could and maybe should be on the 2014 World Cup Squad if they continue at their current rate of progression. That means a lot of the casual Azzurri fans won't know who the heck these guys are, and might be all up in arms when the time comes. Well I'm here to say Keep Calm and Forza Azzurri. We must trust in the project and trust in Prandelli building this squad.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Conte vs Zeman Round 2

After we move past the debate on the formation; 3-5-2 (Conte) vs 4-3-3 (Zeman) that I blogged and debated in my last post, this battle becomes a little more personal.

This really is a feud between Zdnek Zeman and Juventus, but since Antonio Conte, who spent 13 of his 19 years as a player at Juventus, is now the head coach of Juventus and last season led the Zebras back to its winning ways, he is the person who represents the Bianconeri at the moment, therefore is the object of Zeman's verbal attacks.

Antonio was the Captain of Juventus in the early 2000s

Zdnek Zeman in recent years has been a lot more vocal about his displeasures with the Bianconeri organization, like when he recently said that Juve should really only celebrate 22 or 23 scudetti because 5 or 6 of them were stolen. He also spoke on Conte's current 10-month touchline ban, "I can sleep well at night, Juve can't", Zeman addded that Conte got off easy because he believes Conte should not even be allowed to train the team.

top: Zeman you say that Juve should not claim to have won more than 20 scudetti?
bottom: Please tell me all about your scudetti!

Conte who was in the midst of his appeal process to the controversial ban, reacted to Zeman's comments with a "we will respond on the field", but a few days after Juventus' supercup win Conte added that current Juve BENCH Boss and rookie Head Coach Massimo Carrera has already won more than Zeman ever has in his career only after one game.

Marotta always has his coaches back.

Juventus General Manager Beppe Marotta really took the fight back to Zeman. He first said that since Zeman himself had admitted to not reading all the details on the Conte-FIGC battle, he should not even concern or comment on things he does not know. Beppe then asked what Zeman knew or was hiding since he was the coach of the team the FIGC penalized the most; Lecce. Marotta specifically called into question a controversial game from 2005 between Lecce and Parma that ended 3-3, in which Zeman was on the Lecce bench as head coach, but left for no apparent reason in the 80th minute.

The feud ironically began in 98, when Juventus was in the mid stage of its late 90s dynasty that involved 4 consecutive Champions League finals appearances, & many Italian titles and Zdenek Zeman was for the first time the Head Coach of Roma. Juventus was linked to a doctor who had been indicted by the International Sports Commitee, although nothing was ever proven. Zeman from the beginning voiced his opinion that all the Juventus players at the time (including soccer Legends like Zidane, Inzaghi, Vieri, Vialli, Conte and Del Piero) were on drugs because they were not that good of a team.....let that sink in for a little. 

Del Piero, Peruzzi, Deschamps, Zidane, Inzaghi...surely without drugs they could never have won anything in their careers
(said in my sarcastic voice)

He later would make many accusations towards Juventus implying that they were corrupt and were the reason he never coached a "big club" .......not because his 4-3-3 tactic is very stale. He also claimed to feel vindicated when Juventus was sent down to Serie B during the Calciopoli scandal......makes me wonder if Zeman suffers from a god-complex.

Zeman should really quit that bad habit at his age...

Former Juventus Legend and 1982 Azzuri Hero Paolo Rossi said it best, Zeman talks too much, and always has. 
Zeman has never ever won a top flight trophy, and this season is more than likely his last chance to do so. Every excuse he has ever used to why he has never been able to do so in his over 20 years of coaching in Italy is irrelevant. Roma spent a lot of money this summer and has a team that many experts considered the only competition to Juventus for the scudetto. Its now or never for the Czech. Meanwhile Antonio Conte has already won the scudetto and is predicted to win a few more titles with Juve in the next few years.

Round 1 in my opinion was won by Conte, seeing that many teams are beginning to prefer the 3-5-2 to Zeman's 4-3-3 because it defends better. Also using the 3-5-2 Juventus has remain undefeated in 45 league competition games, while Roma using Zeman's 4-3-3 has already suffered defeat in the new season.

Round 2 will be disputed today at 245 as the two teams meet for the first time this season. All the talk means nothing, both Juventus and Roma will really want to win todays game. Although Conte will not be on the bench, we know he will be in the stands. If Zeman can finally beat his self proclaimed nemesis on the field then it will create a very interesting title run for the remainder of the season. If Conte's men get the better of the Volpe, Zeman may be inquiring about an early retirement.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Analyzing Perfection

Yes we are only three games into the Serie A season, but I do find it quite interesting which teams have started their season win three consecutive wins. Juventus, Napoli, Lazio, and Sampdoria  have yet to leave any points on the table through the first three match days of the Serie A. 

Juventus is not really a surprise here, Parma, Udinese, and Genoa have been their first three opponents thus far, so they were all very winnable games for the reigning Italian Champs. But we are seeing more of the same from last year with Juventus, which is a team effort on offense and defense. Goals continue to come from everywhere, and so far the Bianconeri have been able to quiet the critics who said they needed a top striker. The criticism I do have though is from this past weekend, the squad struggled with some of the starters being given a chance to rest up for the upcoming Champions League match this weekend against Chelsea. Until coach Massimo Carrera decided to bring in Asamoah and Vucinic the squad was showing no signs of picking up the three points. This will be one thing to watch as the season goes on and the games start to pile up. 

Marek Hamsik: The key to Napoli
Napoli are another team that are not much of a surprise, at least not for me. This team improved with the sale of Ezequiel Lavezzi. A more balanced, and deeper squad than last year, this Napoli team in my eyes poses the biggest challenge for Juventus. They have dominated all three of their games thus far, and look like a far more mature team than the one we saw in the Supercoppa Italiana. Their biggest test thus far was Fiorentina but even in that game they led by two goals for most of the ninety minutes. I really do not have much to criticize of the team to this point as they have not had much trouble with their first three games. It will be interesting to see how they handle Europa League as the season goes on, because as we saw last year they were not deep enough to compete in both Champions League and Serie A. Right now it feels as though Marek Hamsik is the man who runs this offense an injury to him would be devastating for the Patrenopei. They will most likely keep their focus on the Serie A, especially in the early going.

Hernanes and Klose have Lazio looking like title contenders
Unlike Juventus and Napoli, I am very surprised at what Lazio has been able to do. Maybe it is because they fell so hard last year after losing Miroslav Klose to injury, but they look stronger than ever right now. Winning each of their first three games with ease, Lazio looks like they can really challenge for a title let alone a top three position. While Roma has had a rollercoaster ride to start their season, Lazio have overshadowed their biggest rivals with goals aplenty and strength in defense. Hernanes has been incredible thus far, and if he can keep this up throughout the season, he may wind up being tagged as the best midfielder in Serie A, and what more can you say about Klose? He's just incredible in front of goal, and does not miss too many chances when they are given to him, one of the best Prima Punta's of this generation, he is a pleasure to watch. It's hard to find criticism's in a team where they have won each of their first three games by at least two goals. Again its early in the season, when the games start to pile up we will learn a lot more about these teams, but right now I do not see Lazio going away. 

Maxi Lopez 3 Games - 3 Goals can he keep it up for Sampdoria?
The biggest surprise of all is newly promoted Sampdoria. How can you not be impressed with these guys? I think anyone who follows the Serie A wanted to see Sampdoria come back up from Serie B and succeed, but no one was expecting this level of success. The team has had an incredible transfer season bringing in affordable veterans to go along with a nice young core of players. Enzo Maresca is a nice addition to this squad, he is a hard worker and will be a great veteran presence for youngsters Poli, and Obiang. Maxi Lopez is an awesome finisher, and if he keeps up his early season success, he will contend for Capocannoniere. Sampdoria are most likely to struggle at some point this season, but Ciro Ferrara has this team paying strong defense and that alone will keep them in a lot of games, and allow them to steal points against the big teams. With Milan, and Roma struggling to start their season, and struggling to keep the ball out of their own net, Sampdoria could sneak in a Europa League position when this season is all set and done. 

Comments, and tweets are always welcome @SerieACanada 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Serie A Canada Watch List

This is a list I have compiled of a few players that should be on the watch list for all Calcio fans. They are either players on the brink of super stardom, or players whose performances will dictate whether or not their particular teams are able to achieve their goals this season.

Ciro Immobile
Lets get the obvious out of the way first. Ciro Immobile comes off his loan deal with Pescara which saw them promoted last year with a lot of hype. The Serie B's capocannoniere had 28 goals a year ago, and started his Serie A season on the right foot, no pun intended, with a goal in a 2-0 win for Genoa over Cagliari. Genoa believe in the 22 year old so much so that they have been looking to offload out of favour striker Alberto Gilardino.

Alberto Aquilani

Many questions have surrounded Alberto Aquilani upon joining Fiorentina this off season from Liverpool. Brought in to fill the hole left in the midfield by the departed Riccardo Montolivo, Aquilani answered those questions in his first Serie A match by providing a beautiful diagonal ball from the centre of the pitch all the way to the edge of the 18 yard box. Jovetic would finish the wonderful assist giving the Viola a much needed first win of the season.

Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley is on a quest to prove himself in the Serie A, and is being given the opportunity in the nation's capital. A successful season with Chievo caught the eye of the Romans, and he will be given every opportunity to continue making a name for himself. The American international has been given the role of holding the midfield alongside Daniele De Rossi. Bradley is a physical force in the centre of the pitch, but does not get enough credit for his creative abilities which he showed off on his assist of Nicolas Lopez' tying goal against Catania over the past weekend.


We all know of the departures at Udinese this summer, but who did they bring in? Well the player whom I think will play the biggest role in trying to replace all the departed is Brazilian attacking midfielder, Maicousel. Not much is known about him, but we didn't know much about Asamoah, Isla and Armero before they broke onto the scene with Udinese either. Maicousel made a beautiful run, and was sent in for his first Serie A goal in his first match against Fiorentina on Saturday, but the hope is he will be more of a creator than a scorer. He only had six goals in 56 appearances for Botafago in Brazil over the last two seasons, but Udinese are hoping his creative abilities will be able to keep them in the upper echelon of the Serie A.

Angelo Ogbonna

Torino have made some interesting moves this summer as they attempt to stay afloat in the Serie A. But the one player that is going to be integral to their season is their heart and soul on defense, Angelo Ogbonna. He is a product of the Torino youth system and has already made well over 100 appearances for the club on his way to becoming captain, and is the future of the Azzurri central defence. His performance this season will go a long way in keeping Torino in the Serie A, and also cementing his place in the national team.

Abel Hernandez

This next selection had a horrendous start to his Serie A season, but I believe it is about time Abel Hernandez starts to live up to the hype. Still only 22 years old, this will be Abel's fifth season with Palermo. He was virtually invisible for the men in pink in their 3-0 loss to Napoli, but he will be important to Palermo if they are to have any kind of success in the Serie A this season. I have opined that they could be a team fighting to stay in the top flight, and one of the keys to their season will be Abel Hernandez having a breakout season and doing what so many of us think he can accomplish. All the talent in the world yet he has only been able to show it in flashes to this point in his career.

Dorlan Pabon
Parma will have a difficult time fulfilling the void left by Sebastien Giovinco. But they have tried to fill that hole with young pacey forwards like Jonathan Biabiany and Dorlan Pabon. Although both of them were phased out by Juventus in the first match of the Serie A season, their pace still got them both into scoring positions a few times during the match, and it was certainly evident that these two have the pace to make some things on the counter attack this season for the Gialloblu.

Giampaolo Pazzini

Milan have had a roller coaster ride of an off season, and after a 1-0 loss to Sampdoria in their first match many questions surround the Rossoneri. Newly signed Giampaolo Pazzini is coming off the worst season of his career, but was overshadowed by Diego Milito at Inter. With Pato and now Robinho injured to start the season, Milan will be counting on Pazzini to poach some goals while the Brazilians watch from the stands.

Lorenzo Insigne
 Lorenzo Insigne has probably been the most hyped Italian youngster of them all. Marco Verratti would have given him competition for that title had he not left for Paris Saint-Germain, but that's another story for another day. Insigne will be given every opportunity to make Napoli fans forget about the departed Ezequiel Lavezzi. Lorenzo enjoyed an incredible preseason that only fuelled the hype machine surrounding the 21 year old. He started for Napoli in their 3-0 victory, but was unable to record any goals or assists. The expectations are very high for this young man, and it is rare to see an Italian at his age get a chance to start with one of the bigger teams. We will have to wait and see if he can live up to the lofty expectations set for him.

Alessandro Matri

Lastly, I am expecting to take some heat from all of you on this and I hope you do, because I truly believe in Alessandro Matri to be the man to score plenty of goals for Juventus. Your classic 'poacher' striker Matri is physical, strong, and has a knack for getting into the right places. Giovinco will be hurt for the next couple of weeks so I expect Matri to start alongside Vucinic, and make it hard for Massimo Carrera to keep him out of the first team once Giovinco is back healthy. Matri can win the Serie A golden boot, if given the chance...

These are my watch list players. Whose yours? Lets discuss....comment here or find me on twitter @DanRiccio23.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Dan The Man

Daniele De Rossi Remains Loyal to his Hometown Club
Daniele De Rossi has rejected a move to English giants Manchester City. Yeah this is old news, but I have yet to offer my opinion on it. 

Daniele is one of the premier talents in the Italian Serie A, and to see him reject a move to one of the biggest clubs in the world is admirable. It's not like any Italian football fans hated De Rossi in the first place, I just feel like he gets forgotten about at times. Maybe last year more than ever, just because Roma was such a mediocre team. But when the Euro came around, De Rossi was arguably the Azzurri's best player, and was noticeable at all times on the field. Whether it was creating an offensive opportunity, or if it was making a last ditch effort on the defensive end he was absolutely sublime. Or maybe, just maybe, it was showing that he could even play in central defense if need be, to me he is one of the most valuable talents on the planet.
The Roman Boys Celebrate the 2006 World Cup Win
Putting a price on him would be difficult, but Roma was put in a very tough place following the £31 million offer Man City threw at them. There a comes a time when an offer is just too good to reject, and maybe this was it, however selling De Rossi at this point would be extremely detrimental to the team's prospects for this year. If there was one player on any team in the Serie A, that you could say is irreplaceable, who would it be? I'd say Daniele De Rossi. 

Roma's Future Captain
Daniele is the reason I think Roma can challenge for the Scudetto in 2012/13, we know that Zeman's all out attack tactics will be in full effect, but without De Rossi Roma don't have that rock in the midfield that can save goals from going in on their own net. I may be Serie A biassed, but Daniele is the best box to box midfielder in the world. I challenge you to name me a better one. 

But really I just wanted to applaud Daniele, I have all the respect in the world for this guy, he knows Roma have a chance at a title this year, and he wants to stick it out and win some trophies with his hometown club. It's hard to find a guy like him in football these days. 

Grazie Daniele You Have Earned the Respect of Many Around the Globe

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Conte vs Zeman Round 1

Antonio Conte vs Zednek Zeman 
also known as 
3-5-2 vs 4-3-3

Looking over the probable line-ups for the upcoming season I'm seeing a common theme. With the exception being Atalanta, with a simple 4-4-2 and Torino with an exciting 4-2-4 formation that got them back into the Serie A, every other team is either using a 3-5-2 or a 4-3-3, with some teams having slightly modified it with either a 3-5-1-1 (Napoli, Bologna, & Udinese) or a 4-3-1-2 like Milan & Chievo or finally a 4-3-2-1 like Inter.

Some say 'Parody is Flattery', but I think Conte and Zeman would both feel less than flattered by this. Either way the influence of these two men and their formations will be very evident this season.

Those of you who followed the Azzurri's run in the Euro Cup should know that this was a struggle for Head Coach Cesare Prandelli, who used the 3-5-2 for the first game against Spain, when Italy drew 1-1, but then used a modified 4-3-3 for the remainder of the tourney. Some (mainly myself) have argued how in the Final game he should of reverted back to the 3-5-2, and how it would of been a much closer game. But thats in the past, and after many cold showers it is to be forgotten.

i'm sure a lot of people wanted to be the Batman to my Robin 
in the weeks after the final

  Zdenek Zeman may be best known for using the 4-3-3, but when you actually see a Zeman squad using it effectively how he preaches it, it looks a lot more like a 2-5-3, which creates a lot of goals. Pescara scored the most goals in the Serie B last season, and with all the fire-power Roma have at their disposal I suspect they should be considered favourites to score the most goals in the Serie A this season.

Roma in a pre-season friendly already effectively using the 4-3-3 
(looks like just 2 at the back though) 

Zeman is not the only one who has used the 4-3-3 in the Serie A before. Massimo Allegri (Milans current Head Coach) used that same formation in the 2010/11 SERIE A season and won more than just Most Goals by a club that season, as Milan were crowned Scudetto Champions, which can be credited to the 4-3-3 formation that allowed them to score so many goals.

Antonio Conte last season preferred a more pass-heavy formation in the 3-5-2. (It will definetly still be used by new Juve bench boss Massimo Carrera while Conte serves his 10-month touchline ban). This formation keeps 3 central defenders back at all times, and is not as susceptible to a counter attack as the 4-3-3. The formation finally got its recognition by the Italian Soccer community only after Juventus finished the 2011/12 season as UNDEFEATED Scudetto Champions. 

During last season, Mr.Conte was constantly called out by 'analysts' and 'experts' about how it does not produce enough goals. Antonio answered this at the end of the season  himself: "While the 3-5-2 may not score a lot of goals, it rarely gives them up" and that is all that matters.

This season there will be a lot of talk on what formation will be better to use Zeman's 4-3-3 or Conte's 3-5-2. My vote will always be with my coach, but the main thing is that they both create very exciting, attractive Calcio, and while you try to decide which side you are on, I'll be enjoying all the action from the most competitive soccer league on the planet.

The Milan Swap

Those were the glory years for these two.
The swap has been talked about for a week now, and it is finially official as of this morning. At this point no Italian football fan seems to know why AC Milan had to pay €7 million + Antonio Cassano to Inter Milan for Giampaolo Pazzini. The former dynamic Sampdoria duo have had mixed results since leaving the Blucerchiati in the 2011 winter transfer window.
We know Cassano had the heart issue, so its hard to blame him, but his whole career he has been a player who comes with more hype than what he produces justifies. A talented player forsure, but one that has never lived up to expectations. With the departures of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, Cassano realized he did not want to be part of the rebuilding program at San Siro. He asked to transferred. Giampaolo Pazzini was destined to underachieve at Inter, despite his great form upon arrival at Inter (11 goals in 17 appearances) he was always going to play second fiddle to Diego Milito. Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni made it clear that Pazzini would not be in his plans this season, so he should look elsewhere for first team football.
Cassano wanted out, and Pazzini was being forced out; still the Rossoneri somehow had to pay extra on top of Cassano for Pazzini. It should be mentioned that although Cassano had his health issue last season he was still able to make the Euro 2012 Azzurri squad, this speaks to how highly regarded a talent he is. Pazzini however, had an injury free season but only found the back of the net 5 times in 33 appearances. Inter have seemingly come out of this deal on top, but it remains to be seen how they will use Cassano. One would have to assume at this point that Cassano will not be a part of the nerazzurri starting eleven. Milito is assured to be the lone striker while Coutinho, Sneijder, and Palacio are in support. In this type of a formation, Pazzini could have thrived, and would be a good replacement in my opinion if anything were to happen to Diego Milito. Pazzini with the Rossoneri though is a different story. He is a player with limited abilites who has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. With Milan counting on Pato to have a big season Pazzini will struggle to find playing time, and will struggle to find himself in the formation Milan uses. I can't see the future or anything, but I really don't see Pazzini working out with them. I have always liked the player, I am a big fan of 'poaching' strikers, but from the outside looking in, Pazzini does not fit in at the San Siro.

So what have we been talking about for the last week then? A deal of two strikers that probably have their best days behind them? The more I think about it, the more I find ways to think about why this doesn't make sense for either team. For Inter it makes sense financially, but I believe there will come a time when they will miss Giampaolo Pazzini at some point this year, especially if Milito gets hurt.
But for the life of me I can't understand what Milan is doing here, they are trying to nickel and dime for any player they seem to be interested in, and then throw away €7 million on a player they don't need. Milan are in need of defense more than anything. In their last two games they have given up 8 goals yet they continue to be on the search for attacking players. Pazzini will not help them, and if they get Kaka he will not solve their issues at the back end either. They have bodies in defense but they do not have much quality, this is where they should be spending what little money they have. I can understand that they wanted to get rid of Cassano as soon as he asked to be transferred but the added money is just baffling.
The only thing that makes would maybe make sense is that Inter needed the extra money as insurance for Cassano's health. Either way though, this deal will probably not make much effect to either team on the pitch this season, but it is just another reason for Milan fans to upset with their transfer season.

Friday, 17 August 2012

What's Wrong With What Juventus Has?

RobinVan Persie Signs for Manchester United
Many a Juventus fan wanted to see Robin Van Persie in the Bianconeri. Although it was known for a few days it has now become official that the Dutch talisman is on his way to Old Trafford. He has signed for Manchester United. The deal is reported to be around €30 million, and to that I say congratulations Arsenal!

But this post is not about Robin Van Persie, or Arsenal still being able to get a truckload of money despite the fact that RVP's contract is about to expire. This post is about Juve and their search for a 'top player'. Since the beginning of the transfer window Director General Giuseppe Marrotta has been in search of a top of the line striker. I do believe he has been looking, but as I have said in the past he won't empty out the pocketbooks for one, nor should he

If we take a look at the targets that Juventus have been after, they all have one thing in common, and that one thing is value, or at least the perception of it.

Robin Van Persie - Out of contract after this season

Luis Suarez - Apparent turmoil between him and Liverpool

Edin Dzeko - In search of first team football

Fernando Llorente - Out of contract after this season

Javier Hernandez to Juventus? Rubbish
Immediately following Robin Van Persie's signing to Man U, rumours spread that Juve would be after Javier Hernandez now that he may have been pushed out of the first team at Old Trafford. Trust me those are just rumours. The thing is Marrotta has done when any good transfer director should do, and that is be in search of value all over the globe. He thought he may have had a chance to get a big name at a discount price in Van Persie, but quickly learned that was not going to happen and then just talked up the transfer just to drive the price up. He did this knowing that if Manchester City were to get their hands on RVP then Dzeko would immediately become more expendable, and cheaper than the €30 m Man City is currently demanding.

Beppe Marotta
That's what it's all about; value. Marrotta knows that we aren't that bad up front, but a big name at a discount price is never a bad idea. He thought he might be able to get one of those guys at a price he would be happy with, however that was not the case. It was partially his fault because he announced to the world how much he wanted a top of the line front man for the upcoming season. Anywhere he has gone looking, he has gotten an inflated price since he was so adamant in telling everybody what he wanted.

The Vucinic Mustache kisses Supercoppa
Which is why I am beginning to come around to the idea that it's all just been smoke in mirrors by Marrotta. Maybe he thinks like me, that this is strikeforce isn't as bad as everyone seems to make it out to be. He spent €11m to get back Sebastian Giovinco from Parma, he has Matri back at full health for the first time since January, and Vucinic is a stud especially with that mustache. Fabio Quagliarella could be on his way out in exchange for Giampaolo Pazzini at Inter, which I think would be a great move. Pazzini flourished at Sampdoria under Marrotta, and a move to the Old Lady could be exactly what is needed to rejuvenate him, and hes right in the prime of his career at 28 years old. The best thing is he would cost next to nothing given that Inter coach Andrea Strammaccioni has already ruled Pazzini to be out of the squad's plans for the season. VALUE!

It's just like the Marco Borriello move in the January transfer season that Juventus made this past season. Yeah it did not work out so well, but it cost them nothing, and he was needed due to Matri's knee injury.

Alessandro Matri is Ready To Go
I don't see a problem with what Juventus has, I like Matri a lot as a poacher type of striker, he's big, he's strong, times his runs well, and has that knack for being in the right place at the right time. He scored 20 goals in 2010-11 and was on his way to another twenty goal season last year before battling through injury. Also, Alessandro Sampogna made a great point when talking about this the other day, he doesn't take penalties so he will have a tough time beating the Di Natale's of the world when it comes to overall goals. Vucinic and Giovinco are both guys who will finish but also create plenty at the same time. Juventus will get goals from everywhere, and that is something that can be very valuable to a squad.

Also while Marrotta has been talking up the need for a top of the line finisher, he has quietly signed quite a few players to the youth ranks. Leo Bonatini is young Brazilian whose come over and had a great pre-season for the Juventus Primavera squad(his first goal in a Juventus jersey is below). Also, just today Manolo Gabbiadini was bought from Atalanta. Although he will be sent to Bologna on loan where he should start immediately, and hopefully form a nice partnership with Alessandro Diamanti. Lest we forget that Juventus also own half of Serie B Capocannoniere Ciro Immobile, he will be playing for Genoa this season.

Marrotta is really growing into his Director General position, and after a few less than impressive transfer season's I really can't argue with what he is done lately, and he seems to have Juventus on the right path. The top of the line striker he has been talking about may already be part of the team, and all that talk has allowed him to make some other very quiet smart moves. Now he just needs to learn how to sell players.

So to answer the question originally posed in the title... What's Wrong With What Juventus Has? The answer is nothing, but Juventus fans expect the best, and while there is nothing wrong with that, they are reluctant to give what Juventus have the chance to succeed. After going undefeated last season I think they deserve that at the very least.

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