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Saturday October 13 2012
Armenian issues

Italy got the victory in Armenia, but there were again more questions than answers for Cesare Prandelli, argues Susy Campanale.

There is probably no such thing as a comfortable Italy win in qualifying, or indeed anywhere else, so it was no great surprise that there were moments of heart-in-mouth nerves during the 3-1 victory over Armenia. At least we saw improvements in midfield, ever so slightly in attack, but the defence is really beginning to cause concern. When Christian Maggio is the most impressive member of a back four, something is probably wrong.

Domenico Criscito made a great return to international duty after he was so cruelly and unfairly denied his time in the Euro 2012 spotlight by over-zealous investigators. Maggio was surprisingly good down the right after his previous disasters, though that might have more to do with Armenia’s approach than anything he has done. Andrea Barzagli struggled with the pace of the zippy forwards in Yerevan and on the goal was expecting the referee to stop play for Maggio’s head injury. Leonardo Bonucci, well...

Let’s be honest: Bonucci had an absolute nightmare. He didn’t get a single decision right, not a movement correct and not a run timed well. The Juventus man was dreadful and it’s not for the first time this season either. He is slow and does not have the tactical nous to use positioning as a way of making up for it.

Considering Giorgio Chiellini was dropped to the bench in order to make way for Criscito at left-back, would it not be wise for Cesare Prandelli to reshuffle the Juventusish defence? For example, leave out Bonucci and re-route Chiellini to his old centre-back role. I’d rather have the Tuscan hard man in the middle than Bonucci and he’s just as strong in the air as his Bianconeri teammate, if not more.

It would also do Prandelli good to watch the Under-21 side’s performance against Sweden. Their European Championship play-off may have only ended 1-0, but there were more glittering moves and one-touch football in that game than all of the post-Euro 2012 senior Italy outings put together. Lorenzo Insigne’s progress to the Azzurri can only be a matter of time, especially if Sebastian Giovinco continues to disappoint so very regularly at international level. The Azzurrini’s 4-4-2 approach could also inspire Prandelli to stop trying to invent a trequartista.

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Have your say...
@ Onofrio Sanfilippo

I agree with the other formations you have listed. I like the 4-3-3 but 3-5-2 is better. I also think that the 3-5-2 suits Italian teams at club and international level. Most teams are starting to apply it and it's better for the wide players.
on the 16th October, 2012 at 9:28am
when a team like italy loses its the coaches fault not the players . the talent is there . make the right choices and you will see results . prandelli did not . especially in the final and if he plays chiellini who is the best cb in the world as a left back then that says allot about him .
on the 15th October, 2012 at 3:23pm
thank you juventini at least you are not blind .
on the 15th October, 2012 at 3:20pm
prandelli is not that good . should have played the 3 5 2 against spain in the final . italy almost won their first game and were the only team to score against them for the entire tournament . he switched to 4 4 2 and played a injured chiellini on the left and left crappy bonucci in the centre . bonucci who is juve and italys biggest liability was left alone . oh well at least bonucci is better than ranocchia . prandelli is a problem not the players .
on the 15th October, 2012 at 3:18pm
Vito Doria

Of course you're right about the U21 players, I let my frustrations get the better of me with that comment, but I still think 4-4-2 is worth experimenting with.

We're too Jekyll & Hyde with the 4-3-1-2, it worked against England and Germany in the Euros but we have been exposed using it most times. We play better in a 4-3-3 but still exposed in midfield. We look more solid with a 3-5-2 where Pirlo gets more licence to do his thing but I like us to add another string to our bow.
on the 15th October, 2012 at 7:55am
@ Onofrio Sanfilippo

I still don't agree with the usage of the 4-4-2. The U-21 players you have listed are talented players but we will wait and see if they are consistent enough in the Serie A and live up to expectations. I don't think Florenzi and De luca are good enough for the senior squad yet.

I also think that Marchisio and Nocerino should be kept in central roles. If Prandelli uses a 4-4-2, Schelotto would be the only quality option on the right-wing. Santon is better off as an RB.
on the 15th October, 2012 at 2:47am
Fool, shame on you all. You all so arogan and always said about your personal interest and fave club. The fact is you always want to see Italy like Spain right? Wake up bro, believe me Prandelli doing the right Job after all.
on the 15th October, 2012 at 12:47am
as a juve fan, I am disappointed by bonucci and barzagli. Prandelli wanted to use chiellini on left back, but his best position is center back. I don't understand that. that's why spain trash italy in the final. chiellini always play badly in left, he needs to play on the center. I also surprised by barzagli performance. so bad at the back, but unsurprisingly bonucci play bad again, he try to play the ball when the opponent close and in best position to steal the ball. he is very arrogant
on the 14th October, 2012 at 1:56pm
In response to Daniel, just heard about Buffon maybe not been fit. It worries me greatly, how the hell De Sanctis is selected in the squad never mind play is beyond me. Looking at the goalkeepers picked I would play Viviano who has been fairly good this season so far. Praying Gigi is fit also hoping Mario makes it. Hoping Giovinco wont be able to play any part in teh game. Call Consigli Prandelli. If De Sanctis plays we are in big trouble.
on the 14th October, 2012 at 1:14pm
@ Happy Camper

I'm surprised she didn't write an article that would be titled " A Scandal in Milano " after Inter won the Derby della Madonnina
on the 14th October, 2012 at 12:10pm
Vito Doria

Italy do have the players to play a free flowing 4-4-2, just call up the U21s, they've gotta be better options than Giaccherini!

Florenzi, Immobile, De Sciglio, Schelotto, De Luca, Marrone and Insigne would add real quality & versatility & hunger to the seniors.

Marchisio, Nocerino, Balzaretti, Santon could be used wide in midfield for a more solid formation and Insigne & Giovinco could be used to add more flair.

Rossi's return & a Cassano resurgence could also do well in a 4-4-2
on the 14th October, 2012 at 10:14am
Stories are starting to circulate that Buffon will miss the Denmark game, and that De Sanctis will step in. Does this terrify any of you? De Sanctis is a fine shot stopper, but is abysmal when it comes to dealing with crosses, (remember the game at Stamford bridge last season?!), which happens to be one of Denmarks strengths. I really hope that this doesn't happen.
on the 14th October, 2012 at 9:29am
It would seem that most of us agree on:-
-Doubts over Prandelli's tactical intelligence
-Doubts over his player selections
-We want Bonucci to be dropped
-That Giovinco floats like a butterfly & stings like a butterfly. He lacks consistency & conviction. He has his moments, but it is never sustained.
-We would like Prandelli to give Ogbonna or Roncaglia,(he has Italian blood so that is fine with me), an opportunity.
Prandelli must open his eyes, & stop being so blinkered!
on the 14th October, 2012 at 9:05am
typical scenario, when one or more players do not perform well, most put the blame on him/them whether or not Azzurri material?! I ask, is Prandelli an Azzurri material?! it is not about the players, it is all about his formation which does not use the utmost of the players. and he has no alternatives, it is Juve players or nothing! I am not against Juve, but the truth of the matter Juve defence is not the answer to Azzurri problems in defence. Prandelli must have solutions, he does not!
on the 14th October, 2012 at 5:38am
The reason why is because Prandelli 30% of his selection needs to be reviewed; and his tactics is scary. I hear people talking about Giovinco, it is not the matter the player is talented or not, it is that he does not fit well with this rather stupid 4-3-1-2. Try him with 4-4-2/4-3-3. and some other players as well. yes it is troubling with Prandelli right now, part of his selection & tactics; alright we can qualify but what after ????????!!! Does anyone in here want to see 4-0 defeat?!
on the 14th October, 2012 at 5:32am
I still can't believe he put Giacherini on in midfield instead of Veratti. I mean, admire
Giach work ethic but he's not good enough for la nazionale. I am really starting to wonder about Prandelli. Honestly we are playing 2 center backs who don't cut it. I'd rather see Ogbonna/Rocanglia given a shot. There is no way they could be much worse than B/B. I also agree with the 4-4-2 and have a player like Insigne play as a false mid and join the attack. Osvaldo actually is doing great.
on the 14th October, 2012 at 2:08am
I want to see Ogbonna starting once he comes back from injury. He's a very good defender (look at how well torino is doing). Also, I agree with George. People are being too hard on Giovinco (mostly because they expect more from a player who has soo much skill). But most people aren't accustomed to his style. He is the kind of player who wastes some chances because he is always trying to do something brilliant. And once Giovinco pulls off something brilliant he can change a game.
on the 14th October, 2012 at 12:54am
The 4-4-2 formation only works for the Azzurrini because Mangia has the right players for it and he implements it properly.

The Juve defenders can function well if they play together in a 3-5-2 but only Chiellini can play well regardless of who's around him.

Prandelli needs to stop doing what Sacchi and Lippi did by calling-up "his boys". Giaccherini isn't a regular at Juve. At least Thiago Motta didn't play. I don't want to see him play for Italy again, especially as a trequartista.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 11:51pm
Its all about personnel for me. Prandelli picks the wrong players, call Consigli, Roncaglia, Cassani, Motta, Nocerino, Insigne, Cassano, Quagliarella and possible Di Natale and get rid of De Sanctis, Bonucci, Maggio (despite decent performance), Candreva, Giaccherini, Gilardino and Giovinco. I want to see us beating teams like Armenia by 4 or 5 goals. Why cant we ever do this?. Lets go out and play like we can and put the Danes to the sword. Its an average group Prandelli for goodness sake.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 7:32pm
If Prandelli had any sense he would get on with it and call Roncaglia up, dropping Chiellini was a mistake. Roncaglia and Chiellini at the back would be great. Barzagli wasnt great but Bonucci was terrible. A complete liability. Prandelli needs to sort things out. He seems surprised by the criticism from the press. We gave Armenia who are average at best too many chances due to inept defending from Bonucci and Barzagli.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 7:16pm
Im really not convinced about the 4-3-1-2! It leaves us too exposed in midfield & as a knock on affect it puts the defence under pressure constantly!

I watched the U21s last night play aggressive flamboyant football using a 4-4-2 with the wingers often joining the attack to form a trident frontline & it worked to great affect. Can the seniors not benefit from such formation too? They have the players to implement it. Remember 2006 & the switch from 4-3-3 to 4-4-1-1? It proved crucial. Thoughts?
on the 13th October, 2012 at 6:03pm
Totally with Giambrone on this. Susy is spot on with her criticism of senior players who have just not performed well since the game against spain. we almost seem to be suffering some sort of a hangover from the euro or still licking our wounds after an unfortunate final that just never went our way. As a proud footballing nation, our standards are high. against bulgaria and last night vs armenia, we just simply were not good enough. Selection of certain players are leaving me more than baffled.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 5:15pm
Stop moaning about the defenders, Juve have the best back 3 in Italy,if they are up to it or not,they are the only defenders available, ARENT THEY ?? Barzagli - Chiellini must start..Yes, as a juve fan, I dont trust Bonucci! As for Giovinco,fed up with him,not talented as he seemed with U-21, lost his magic and doesnt score at all!
It's not Prandelli's fault afterall, Juve players arent performing on both levels, club and national team. Give Conte some time to bring the best out of these players
on the 13th October, 2012 at 4:57pm
Those of you criticizing Suzy are either over-sensitive Juve' fans, blind, or obtuse!

If you are satisfied with the performances of Bonucci, and, to a lesser extent Giovinco, Barzagli, then you have very low standards! Bonucci cannot be trusted in a back four.

If Italy continue to defend, like they have against Spain, Bulgaria, & now Armenia, then this team will have no chance at the WC. Suzy is merely saying what she sees! Admittedly, Prandelli's tactics do not help.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 3:12pm
after a bright first 10 minutes, we just crumbled. bonucci and barzagli were slow, lackluster and seemed well off their game. why is maggio playing ahead of abate? also, why does he keep using giovinco? when will prandelli and the footballing fraternity realize that giovinco is not and never was an international player. armenia had quite a few of their first eleven injured / suspended. if they had played, we really might have been left embarrassed. very disappointed with us lately.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 3:04pm
Maggio the best member of the back 4? Are you sure about that? Maggio may have made some good runs but his delivery and distribution were woeful. We need Santon back!

Montilivo is a waste of space as a trequartista, he needs to play deeper or not at all.

Barzagli shouldn't be in the starting line-up, he is far too slow but gets away with it when there are 3 at the back instead of 4.

We are too predictable with pirlo, when will he give verratti a try?
on the 13th October, 2012 at 1:10pm
90% of Italy's problem is the formation, lets not kid our self's with individual issues, this team is not suited or good enough to play any other formation than 4-3-3 or 3-5-2. Speed will always be an issue with our back players Bonucci was horrible last night no excuses to be left looking like an amateur Maggio is not good enough for the Azzurri & when it comes to Giovinco he is a great player that can turn things around but certainly not a fantastic player worth a starting position.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 1:07pm
433 team for Denmark if all fit and selected
Buffon
Abate
Ogbonna
Chiellini
Criscito
De Rossi
Pirlo/Verrati
Marchisio
Giovinco
Balotelli
Insigne

Destro/Nocerino/Balzaretti/Ranochia/Cassano
on the 13th October, 2012 at 12:48pm
.....
Insigne - not called
Verratti - not tested
Balotelli - not trusted to play with a sniffle
Ranochia - not used
Cassano - not called
on the 13th October, 2012 at 12:40pm
Starting to lose patience with team selection;
Maggio - cannot defend
Giacherini - not good enough
Montolivo - cannot play football
Osvaldo - ponderous
Barzagli - slow
Bonnucci - liability without Chielini
Marchisio - not fulfilling potential

...........
on the 13th October, 2012 at 12:32pm

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