Saturday February 17 2018
Mazzarri can break Juventus

If Walter Mazzarri manages to beat Juventus, he’ll become a Torino and Napoli hero in one fell swoop, writes Richard Hall.

Walter Mazzarri arrived in Turin, by his own admission, emotional yet motivated. He indicated that he felt the essence of what it is to be Granata and that for him this was the perfect fit.

The 56-year-old Coach has divided opinion, from Livorno to Watford and probably even before, but when it works for him, it can produce impressive and expansive football. Since his arrival, results would argue that this could be a meeting of minds, but with the Derby Della Mole on the horizon he now has the chance to cement himself into the hearts of the Toro faithful.

Torino President Urbano Cairo was quite clear about why he had appointed his new Coach. He had invested significantly in the squad over the summer and yet Sinisa Mihajlovic had let him down. In early January, they were four points worse off than the season before and he cited poor football and a lost dressing room that eventually forced his hand.

Mazzarri, he went on to say, had been a target since 2007 when the pair met in Milan and had a very late night talking. He pointed out that his times at Reggina (where he kept them up on numerous occasions) and of course his time at Napoli, for where he is perhaps best remembered, made the choice easy for him.

So far, Cairo has been proved right. In the five games since the new ‘Mister’ took charge, he remains unbeaten. Bologna were thrashed 3-0, followed by a 1-1 away draw with Sassuolo, a 3-0 win against Benevento, 1-1 versus Sampdoria and a 2-0 victory over a resurgent Udinese.

It is evident that the players seem uplifted by the appointment, confirmed when a number of them visited him in the hotel he was staying at straight after he was hired. Mazzarri was firmly in the mindset that he had inherited a strong group of players and that now, he could set about coaching them and trying to find the best way to make them productive on the field.

In the opening games Mazzarri’s fluid version of 4-3-3 seemed to work well with the parts that he had been given. Straight away against Bologna, his team created a lot more chances than they had been doing under Mihajlovic, spent less time on the ball and would release shots sooner from in and outside the box. They moved the ball around quickly, even more impressively they stole the ball off Bologna time and time again and had an emphasis on getting the ball out wide and looking to cross.

This has been a continued theme throughout the early games, but like any team and certainly any Mazzarri team, they are not without fault. Playing in this expansive way (like his early days at Napoli) they have seen themselves caught offside too much. Individual errors are something that he must focus on, as Juventus offer little in sympathy in most games, but especially in the Derby della Mole.

Tactically the Derby will be fascinating, as it is unlikely that Mazzarri will temper his approach. Toro are at home and under a new Coach who has three straight wins at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino under his belt, suggesting they will not sit back. Juventus will certainly be able to handle this and will look to profit on the individual errors. The game could be enthralling, especially as there is an argument to say that – as confirmed by Tottenham midweek – The Old Lady are not without mistakes themselves.

Mazzarri has been at times accused of trying to force round pegs into square holes, just ask any Nerazzurri fan, but if you give him the right toys to play with, then all can be well for a time. At the moment he is riding a wave and they are a force to be reckoned with, so there is certainly a chance he could soon be a cult figure if he guides them to a derby victory.

Not many after all get to take Torino into this fixture, still unbeaten and knowing that a victory could prevent the Old Lady from retaining the Scudetto. In one fell swoop, he could be legend in Turin and Naples.

Have your say...
Oops! Oops!

What really happened is that JUVENTUS broke Mazzarri !!!

on the 21st February, 2018 at 9:53am
Beppe - Obviously I have plenty of good ideas of my own, but as Juventus seems to come out of probs always smelling of roses, I wouldn't dream to go against any of their decisions.


And until they keep on winning, there's no point in even suggest the obvious if for them it's wrong.

If the toy works, why break it?
Just go with the flow if we keep on winning, regardless of any iffy decisions.
on the 20th February, 2018 at 10:36pm
Carpe- His agent didnt want him to go, and nether did the player. Allegri forced their hand because of his ego. Kid was playing in the primavera for 3 weeks and Cuadrado was already injured.
on the 19th February, 2018 at 6:09pm
Let's be fair and sensible.
If Pjaca hadn't asked to go out on loan, he'd still be part of the squad.
No point holding on to an unhappy player, it sours the mood of the dressing room.
Our CEO, Mr Marotta, unfortunately, hasn't got a crystal ball either......
on the 19th February, 2018 at 8:17am
Juventus's absolutely bone headed decision to let Pjaca leave on loan is coming back to bite them. All our forwards are out injured. Now Berna hurt again, Big mouth hurt in the first half. Bravo Marotta.
on the 18th February, 2018 at 7:14pm
This could be the slip Naples need.
on the 18th February, 2018 at 6:59am
Richard Hall is a self-confessed Inter Milan fan, so don't be surprised if he keeps writing those Anti-Juve articles on Football Italia, I just hope he enjoyed Inter's match last night vs. Genoa :)
on the 18th February, 2018 at 6:23am
Mazzari doesn't get enough credit. I thought he was great with Napoli.

I have a feeling this will be a fiery and entertaining match. Too bad it will be played in the afternoon.

Dybala should be back as well so that's a plus.
on the 17th February, 2018 at 9:14pm
Usually a close cagey affair when they play at the Olimpico.
on the 17th February, 2018 at 8:06pm
Mazzarri is still coaching? Wow, crazy. Torino is still in Serie A? Huh, nuts.
on the 17th February, 2018 at 7:14pm
@Rocco, very true, been noticing this over the past week.
on the 17th February, 2018 at 5:29pm
Torino beating Juve? Other than these two being in the same city, this fixture (every year) has zero significance outside of the city because Torino are a joke beyond jokes. Juve only like being dominated by foreign teams. They don’t like being dominated by Italian teams. So Torino will be put in their place.
on the 17th February, 2018 at 4:54pm
Football-italia's anti-Juve sentiment is loud and clear.
on the 17th February, 2018 at 1:16pm
Stop posting your wet dreams Football Italia...
on the 17th February, 2018 at 7:57am
But we all know how it goes, teams have longs streaks only until they face Juventus
on the 17th February, 2018 at 6:39am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.