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...
I mean giovinco ur a joke yea you didnt score! that what you are, a striker and thats your job little idiot thats y prandelli has you. your weak on the ball and just so overated it makes me sick. good job you played another bad game against another bad opponent. nice free kick to in the first half hahah that was a joke y didnt pirlo take it prob would have been dont help this team at all. you had your chance and failed to prove cant waste no more time with you.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 12:31pm
The three juve defenders are not playing well anywhere to be honest. i dont know what the problem is. my guess is that the juventus midfield (vidal, marchisio) but also asa and licht keep bailing them out.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 12:24pm
@Daniel Giambrone: agreed that prandelli should think about 4-3-3.. giovinco-sharaawy-insigne, all have ability to play wide and create havoc in the opponent's area.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 12:21pm
Totally agree. We are used to having the likes of Nesta, Baresi and Maldini in defence. Bonucci just doesn't cut it. I'd like to see Chiellin back in the middle and maybe getting Ogbonna/Astori some more playing time. And Giovinco is a poor man's Messi, not amazingly skillful enough to justify that little frame. There's no reason to struggle against Armenia!
on the 13th October, 2012 at 11:59am
Bonucci needs to stop starting when we play a back four because he not that good, even in a three man defence hes not brilliant and he cant carry the ball, he is a liability and Chiellini is the best CB in Italy. Our best back four is Abate, Barzagli, Chiellini and Criscito but when we are struggling in defence put on Ogbonna because is a great player. I think people are being a bit harsh on Giovinco he just needs time and he wasnt that bad, and against smaller nations we need to start our Youth
on the 13th October, 2012 at 11:51am

The Azzurri has always struggled because of the full-backs when they play 4 in the back.

Maggio has always proved his not good enough for the La Nazionale despite great shows with Napoli. And yet, yesterday there come Crisito, that for some reasons I can't understand still chosen by Prandelli.

And, what a surprise, Susy manage to praise the weak links and went on to hit on Bonucci and Barzagli who were barely tested and fairly good.

Susy, why don't you call it quit !
on the 13th October, 2012 at 11:32am
Has Campanale ever written a positive article? She revels in this sniping and with about as much insight as a Sunday blogger. It's easy to write this type of article but it offers nothing. Every time something negative happens in Italy you know this leech will have an article up inside the hour. Pathetic.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 11:24am
Why didn't Prandelli give 433 a try? With players like SES, Giovinco, Insigne, we now have the players that can make this system work. Having players on the flanks gives Pirlo more options on the ball. It will give us width,(we are too narrow at times), and will occupy the oppositions wide players, which should ease the pressure on our full backs-who are too exposed in 4312.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 11:23am
Like Vieri 32 said, there were echoes of the defeats to Spain & Russia from last nights showing. Has Prandelli learned nothing? He may be a good man-manager, and have an attacking approach, but I am starting to have serious doubts over his tactical acumen & player selections. Bonucci has always been a liability in a back 4; he is nowhere near as good at defending as Chiellini! Also, Verratti not used again?! Away from home, you need players that can hold onto & look after the ball.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 11:18am
Where's the meritocracy... best Italian defenders so far in Serie A have been Ogbonna, Ranocchia and the guy with a bump on his nose.

Did Prandelli see Juve-Shakhtar and Mkhitaryan turning some of the Juve defenders inside out also then.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 10:49am
Giovinco isnt a striker, the team is best suited to a 4-3-3. El Shaarawy, Balotelli and Giovinco up front.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 10:44am
Everyone seems to be giving Giovinco a hard time, and I honestly don't get why.

Italy's biggest problem is that their forwards don't create their own space and need the midfield to support a lot more than an average side (kinda like Juve). Giovinco, in my opinion did a pretty good job at trying to create space and destabilize the back line, something Osvaldo failed at. Let's not forget he was the one who played the overhead ball to Criscito down the left flank in the build up to the penalty.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 10:43am
against armenia I saw little of what spain did to our diffence in the euros , I only beleive that bonucci and barzagli can only perform in 3 man diffence if not chiellini also , they r so slow and leave a lot of space behind them in 4 man diffence, I think with those players available prindelli should stick on 3-5-2 and stop changing systems , if we had played with 3-5-2 against spain at the final surely the score would have not ended 4-0 , we have no more nesta and cannavarro for 4 man diffence
on the 13th October, 2012 at 10:02am
What Italy needs to be solid at the back again is a right foot Ogbonna to be paired with Ogbonna.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 9:42am
Whether it is a four man defense or a three man defense the Juventus trio at the back are not playing well for Italy. We only have Ogbonna who is the best CB in Italy right now. Besides Prandelli should start giving Verati some minutes when he wants to rest Pirlo.
on the 13th October, 2012 at 9:39am

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