BLOG ITALIA
Wednesday August 21 2013
Juve’s Swiss dynamo

Following his stunning Italian Super Cup display, Luca Cetta praises Juve’s marauding wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Lazio were trying to regroup from the shock of seeing unlikely figure Giorgio Chiellini finish a clinical counter-attack as play developed on the right hand side. This was just 120 seconds later, with the Bianconeri showing no sign of resting on their advantage. A burst through the centre and exchange of passes with Mirko Vucinic, then a deftly placed shot with the outside of the foot. A fantastic goal. But it wasn’t a piece of magic conjured by Carlos Tevez. Nor Arturo Vidal. Instead, it was a dazzling run and finish by Stephan Lichtsteiner, the man who put Lazio to the sword in the 4-0 Super Cup demolition on Sunday.

On a night when Juve dominated the Biancocelesti to win a record-equalling sixth Super Cup, the Swiss international shone brightest. Whistles from former supporters in Curva Nord upon his substitution were tinged with acknowledgment. Lichtsteiner replied in kind by offering a bow. A move typical of the cheeky and antagonising Lichtsteiner. A move which makes him the sort of player popular only to his club's fans and one which riles the opposition. He is not an official’s best friend either. But it’s all part of the Lichtsteiner package.

The other side was his influence on the pitch. Nobody was better. Lichtsteiner played a role in all four goals. His deflected cross from Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick found Paul Pogba, while he tore away and centred for Chiellini on that lethal counter. In the midst of the six minute second half blitz Lichtsteiner scored. Finally, his initial shot was saved before Tevez netted.

It’s a display which bodes well for the upcoming campaign. Now in his third season with the Bianconeri, the 29-year-old is a vital cog in Antonio Conte’s XI, even if not spoken of in the same breath as some teammates. Lichtsteiner’s ability to power up and down the right flank not only augurs the ‘Forrest Gump’ nickname, but suits Conte perfectly. Even if it takes some shouting to get it done: “Antonio Conte has always screamed at me! I need a Coach who shouts and always demands more, as it brings the best out of me.” This helps especially towards the end of a campaign, where in a role such as his, energy levels can drop.

The Swiss player was a regular throughout his three terms in the capital. When Juve’s 2011 right-back search narrowed to two names – Lichtsteiner and Mattia Cassani, who had excelled at Palermo – they chose the former. While Cassani has stagnated in recent years, Lichtsteiner put paid to Juve’s ongoing full-back concerns. Hindsight says it was the right decision. Lichtsteiner commenced brightly in the 4-3-3 formation, his athleticism allowing for a highly-attacking, but defensively conscientious style.

He was one of those to initially struggle with the nuances of the wing-back introduction. It didn’t appear to suit his game as much. But Lichtsteiner did not throw in the towel. Just as he doesn’t when chasing a ball or opponent. His personality is to excel. It’s to show desire and have a high work ethic. He embodies his Coach in that respect. It’s why Lichtsteiner is now at home on Juve’s right flank and why he remains first choice in what is a physically and tactically demanding position. Lichtsteiner netted four times in Serie A last season thanks to his running and ability to be an extra body in attack. He gives an outlet for teammates inboard.

Given Simone Pepe is just returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines and with rumours continually swirling above Mauricio Isla’s head, Lichtsteiner is a steady and capable wing-back choice. He may be a hothead, but with Conte driving him forward, Lichtsteiner will continue to be a force for the Bianconeri.

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Have your say...
Viktor is clearly never follow calciopoli issue from the bottom, including the incident of "speech behind the locked door with official" in front of journalist. Yes of course, mediaset rule all the news, he can lightly pick any news he want. Learn some fact dude...
on the 24th August, 2013 at 5:48pm
Viktoria, I'm glad to see you didnt attempt to argue that the Milan glory days are over for the foreseeable future.

Just shows even u, a devout Milan fan, don't have much confidence in your team. Cant say i blame you.
on the 24th August, 2013 at 1:05am
@viktoria's secret

Yes they cheated. They were found to have committed porting fraud along with juve ET al.

If you recall, there was then discussion about Milan being ejected from the cl that season. They, for some bizarre reason, were not ejected and instead went on to win the trophy. Didn't we just recently see some Turkish teams ejected for dodgy dealings yet Milan were allowed to remain?

Yes trashed by Man U, destroyed by barca who lost to Chelsea and bayern. Now respond idiot
on the 24th August, 2013 at 1:00am
Ya! Tell me about the consistency and do the talk once milan squeeze thru PSV lol. Abate is just as good as lahm and Alves! The best RB in Serie A!!!!!!
on the 23rd August, 2013 at 5:46pm
@Mustafitta

"@ Viktoria

"Abate is just as good"

Your stupidity has no bounce and boundary. Zip it."

My stupidity has no bounce? What the heck does that even mean. Stick to football
if you wanna trash talk someone at least learn how to make sense.
on the 23rd August, 2013 at 3:24pm
@BOSS

ROFL, milan cheated their way to CL win?? Please enlighten me. You really know little about football don't you.

Trashed by english teams? Not really. We won against barca and lost away. We played them 4 times in 2 years. They are a great team and clearly its hard to play away at nou camp.

Now let the grown up talk.
on the 23rd August, 2013 at 3:21pm
@Mustpuffa

FootballItalia, how come you allow cretins like the aforementioned to comment?

This idiot only ever criticises peoples comments,makes no valid contribution himself, im not even sure he watches football.

Take my advice, watch serie A this season them come back and post once the season concludes in 2015, that way maybe your stupiditiy will decrease and some sense may come from your comments...although i am not hopeful

Good boy
on the 23rd August, 2013 at 1:21pm
"They cheated that year "

Can anybody clarify what this jerk is saying ?
on the 22nd August, 2013 at 10:26pm
@ viktoria

Stop living in the long distant past.

Milan won the cl 6 years ago. They cheated that year and should have been ejected from the cl if you can remember.

What have Milan done since aside from being thrashed by English teams and barca. Milan are has beens. They WERE a good team. Those days r long gone and to be honest, from what I see of Milan, most recently with Chelsea and PSV, those days r not coming back for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time
on the 22nd August, 2013 at 7:21pm
@ Viktoria

"Abate is just as good"

Your stupidity has no bounce and boundary. Zip it.
on the 22nd August, 2013 at 5:32pm
Viktor;

Abate is just as good? Get off it. Abate hasn't just been overrated. He's playing for Italy when he is, quite literally, an average player.
on the 22nd August, 2013 at 3:29pm
@kevin

Milan haven't played a competitive game in 2 month 5 psv already 5 games in there season (do your research) Milan won CL 5 years ago and lost the final few years ago too.. We've gone through every year, consistency. Can you say that about juve? No. Who's the clown now.
on the 22nd August, 2013 at 2:33pm
After seeing him play against Celtic, I would say he was one of the world's best running backs.
on the 22nd August, 2013 at 5:27am
@Viktor

That was a decade ago when you with KaKa Inzaghi Pirlo Nesta & co. Don't live in the past please they struggled in breaking down PSV last night. I do respect Milan but don't make yourself a clown.
on the 22nd August, 2013 at 4:47am
Lichtsteiner is one of the fittest players around. The Super Cup on Sunday was the prime example. After running the length of the field to set up Chiellini, 60 seconds later he did it again and scored a phenomenal goal. He is one of those players you hate if he isn't playing for your team, but we Juventus supporters love him for his quality and work ethic. In my opinion he is on a par with Lahm, but a far better all-round player than Dani Alves. As important a signing as Vidal and Pirlo were.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 8:51pm
@davide

Are you serious? You really think Stephan lich is the best one out there?!!? Abate is just as good

Lham, Alves, etc etc.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 6:22pm
@dominator

Lololol, every aerie a fan should thank juve!?? How bout you go further then quarter finals in CL for once then we can talk. I find it beyond amusing reading all post about how great juve are. Lets break it down. Yes they are superior in serie a (not by miles) but abroad unlike milan they are lagging. This is a fact.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 6:18pm
He was a vital cog in sealing up the leaky sieve that was the Juve defense before he arrived.

Gets better each season.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 6:16pm
This guy is terrific, tho I do think Juventus have a more tactically sensible solution (with an even higher ceiling) in Isla. A guy like Maggio is also a great example.

I say this because, as someone who used to love Arsene Wenger, a part of me really wants him to follow thru on some random interest that I had a few months ago.

I've read some reports where Lichtsteiner was talked up as a possible buy for Wenger. He's so ideal for them I know he won't get bought. Terrific player.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 6:05pm
Probably one of the most underestimated players in the SerieA. With Pogba, Vidal, Lich and hopefully a healthy return by Pepe Juve's midfield is going to be solid for years to come! CL this season here come the bianconerri!
on the 21st August, 2013 at 4:55pm
@DOMINATOR, "messi for free?" that was never even remotely close to happening, but lichtsteiner to arsenal WAS. your statement is just plain idiotic. Do you even think?
And @Anonymous; "After Camoranesi on juve's right flank, it's great pleasure to look at Lichtsteiner." Maybe I'm reading/interpreting this wrong but i hope it isnt a dig at mauro. he's was a jet and a great servant to juve and italy.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 3:20pm
When I heard all the transfer rumours about litch it truly bothered as displayed against lazio this man is a machine and warrior for juve ...they should think long and hard about any payment for this man as few can play this role better than the Swiss international
on the 21st August, 2013 at 2:46pm
@Peter Grint, the most stupid transfer ever, at the moment, is to give Lionel Messi away for free, not 15 mill for lich.

That being said, am glad players don't seem to be using juve so much as a stepping stone now and juve are able to fight off bigger clubs.

Im so proud of juve for the way they have come back to serie a and have single handedly saved serie from a steep decline. Every Serie a supporter and every serie a team should be thanking juve so much, in fact give us your best players
on the 21st August, 2013 at 1:39pm
Too true Luca! I have loved Litchstiner since day one!!
Carlo you couldn't be more correct
on the 21st August, 2013 at 1:33pm
Spot on, this was a problem position for Juve for years and Lichtsteiner, along with only Lahm for me, is the best full back in the world. Isla should be kept as a useful alternative who we've yet to see the best of, Pepe is nothing more than a squad man in my view.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 1:04pm
In 3-1-4-2 formation we are playing great only when everyone in the team is perfectly fit. The formation requires a lot of energy and running + covering Pirlo. Pepe is a perfect winger for us because he has the energy and desire of Licht but also is a far better winger then him. I hope that later in the season Conte will use Pepe on the left flank(he can play on the left or on the right) and Licht on the right. Asamoah's original position is in the center and he is really good there.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 12:55pm
He is fantastic when he is full of energy and when we play against a team who doesn't play on a counter-attack. Remember the matches against Bayern last season - our wide players were terrible! Neither Lichtsteiner, nor Asamoah can play 1-on-1! In matches like these we should change to 4-3-3 because in this way Licht and Asamoah will do their defensive work perfectly and could join in attack as a cover of the wingers, who usually have better technic, play better 1-on-1 and have a very good cross
on the 21st August, 2013 at 12:50pm
I don't totally agree with the article. Lichtsteiner is a fantastic RB, full of energy and desire to play, his influence to the squad with his desire to fight for the ball are visible to everyone. But! He is not a winger! He is far away from the good wingers! He is maybe the best RB in the world but in 3-5-2 his wide role is almost making us playing 5-3-2. He is a defender, he can't play 1-on-1, he has a mediocre technic, his crossing is good only when he has space around him.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 12:44pm
Let's not carried away - I find him hit and miss actually! On his day (as in the Super Cup) he's great but he is also infuriating at times as his delivery and decision making can be shocking! Personally I want to see another Right Back brought in to keep him on his toes and have healthy competition for places.
on the 21st August, 2013 at 12:40pm
Finally Lichtsteiner gets the recognition he deserves.What an upgrade Juve experienced.From lost cases like Grygera and Motta to a no nonsense,agile,smart and capable right back.Lichtsteiner gives so much and is the type of player whose attitude cannot be bought.Buying him was the most important step in ensuring Juve returned to the top because our main problem was the right back position.I think Lichtsteiner could easily reach Zanetti's level because he's got the same attitude towards the game.He possesses Nedved's grinta,Thuram's composure and Zanetti's work rate.We love you Stephan.Thank you for everything
on the 21st August, 2013 at 12:15pm

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