Friday November 2 2012
Juve striker rotation misses target

Antonio Conte’s rotation policy is one of the reasons why Juventus may lack a consistent goalscorer, writes Antonio Labbate.

“I don’t think there is a problem in attack,” stated match-day boss Angelo Alessio after Juventus’ 1-1 draw with Nordsjaelland in the Champions League. “We have five forwards in our squad and we firmly believe in their qualities. Sooner or later, these qualities will shine through.”

Not everyone is as convinced as the stand-in tactician. No matter what they say in Turin, there are those who are adamant that the Old Lady are missing an attacker who can net them 15-20 goals a season, a player who can resolve those complicated encounters with a single shot.

Indeed, the club’s much-publicised attempts to sign a big-name centre-forward which they constantly spoke about in the summer does little to strengthen Alessio’s claims. Especially when their search ultimately resulted in a desperate transfer deadline day loan swoop for Nicklas Bendtner.

Perceptions, however, do sometimes cloud reality. Look at the goals for column in the Serie A League table and Juventus have 22 in 10 games. Only Roma can match those strikes – and three of theirs were imaginary after being awarded victory for the postponed Cagliari encounter in Week 4.

Of course, only nine of Juventus’ aforementioned 22 have come from forward players, while midfielders Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo have netted just as many as Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella. Yet, when you deconstruct the statistics a little bit further you have to wonder how much of a problem there really is ‘up top’ in Turin.

If anything, boss Antonio Conte’s rotation policy when it comes to his attackers is giving the wrong impression. He’s over-rotating them, thus depriving any of his men in that department a consistently long enough run in the first team to find the kind of form that could deliver as many goals as the illusive ‘top player’ they didn’t sign would have.

In their 14 official games this season – including the Italian Super Cup Final – Conte has fielded the same striking combination in successive ties on only two occasions. Break that down further and Giovinco has been named in the starting XI in five straight matches, Mirko Vucinic three, while Alessandro Matri, Bendtner and Quagliarella have done the same on just two occasions each. That lack of consistent playing time is undoubtedly a factor in performances and a lack of individual goals.

“Saturday’s Inter clash will be a great match, but I don’t know whether I will play as the Coach rotates all of the strikers he has available,” Quagliarella admitted after scoring the opener in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Bologna.

The individual case of Quagliarella is one of the most interesting. He is, by some distance, Juventus’ most potent attacking threat in Serie A this season seeing as his three goals have come in only 307 minutes of action. That’s an average of a goal every 102 minutes and is comfortably superior to Bendtner who has no goals in 202 minutes, Giovinco’s three in 604, Matri’s one in 200 and the rarely prolific Vucinic’s two in 620.

Quagliarella’s numbers don’t just look good inside Vinovo either. Open it out to the events of this Serie A campaign and he compares favourably to Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy who is getting a top-flight goal every 119 minutes, Napoli’s Edinson Cavani on 124, Miroslav Klose of Lazio on 140 and Diego Milito’s Inter average of 176.

That’s not to say that Quagliarella is necessarily the answer to Juventus’ so-called problems in attack, but he remains more than a decent striker, one who would be on the fringes of the Italian national squad again if he was at a smaller club who could guarantee him the playing time he needs. And that’s because when talent alone isn’t enough, form is the next best thing.

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Have your say...
I think Conte is rotating the strikers well, given his options. I think giving Bendtner time is the smart thing to do because Matri hasn't stepped up to that role and one of them has to. If Bendtner can get up to speed with the rest of the squad, he might provide 10+ goals but also the physical presence in the box to advantage the other strikers and midfielders working off him. Both Gio and Bendtner need time to gel with the system, but it feels promising.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 10:03am
We all know that Juventus are missing a big name striker, but they can't do anything about that until January at the earliest. As a result, I do agree that Conte isn't making thngs any easier for his attackers. Look how many goals Matri scored at the start of last seaoan when he goit a run in the side.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 9:57am
Sell Matri or Quag maybe both, i would and some other fringe player Padoin too..make sure u do ur best to get to knock outstages for champs league as the cash windfall will help.

Marotta has no excuses now the squad is ok in depth priority has to be a world class striker! but who! i dunno..ideal world Falcao or Aguero! dont get why we offered 30 mill for aguero and wudnt stump up the cash then go an get Elia for 9 mill! and never play the guy when that could have been added on & bought aguero
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 9:52am
Splash out on two of Torres, David Villa and Lloirente. It would take 40 box but be worth it. Juventus have no top 20 strikers. Sell three fringes players and earn ten box.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 9:39am
The ptroblem in attack is Juventus simply do NOT have a top 20 striker. Vucinic, on a good day is, but is not always clinical enuogh. Get David Villa and Fernando Llorente Torres or Fernando Torres. Yes it woul take 30-45 mill but then sell two fringe players.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 9:17am
Also im not sure if others agree but the leftside of our team is questionable. Asamoah is a top signing but not a wingback, compare that to our right, lictst, Caceres, pepe, look wat we have down the left, Giach and De cegle! im sorry but neither is more then a squad player. a solid LWB wouldnt go a miss along with a pacey Left sided wide attacker.

Also switching from the 3,5,2 from time to time would help as we did last season, we are too predictible this season go 4, 3, 3 seems to work better
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 9:09am
Said it all along we lack a TRUE! world class bomber! simple as that all big teams hav poor games but hav the player up front who can turn a game on its head! theres no hiding it last season & now this season is proving me right. Gio is too fragile & probs needs to step 20yards back to be more effective.

Aguero would have been perfect, dunno if Llorente is the answer or Dzeko! tooo static in my opinion..Benzema would have been ideal or Higuain, still think we are 2 top strikers short not one
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 9:06am
Quagliarella is a great player, but statistics you provided have a limited time frame, thus making it being not the entire truth; extend that to 2 seasons and that would be something to rely on.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 8:54am
That is not exactly the case (the rotation policy). As Juventus is functioning perfectly, won a lot of matches, so long since last lost & yes there are a few draws; perhaps tricky ones (champions league), but even there the performance is promising (against Chelsea holders & table toppers) and it is quite possible Juventus will master the group with flying colors; add to that the frightening fact that Juventus is playing every 3days for 2months now, so i would say Conte knows what he is doing.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 8:47am
Quagliarella and Vucinic as a pairing doesn't work and Vucinic has to play when fit, being our most creative attacker.If Quagliarella manages to change his movements and try becoming more of a poacher, perhaps the pairing could work.Currently they both have very similar movements and tend to get stuck in the same area of the pitch quite often, which narrows the attacking scope and makes us easier to defend against.Quagliarella is easily our best finisher though.Can't see how Bendtner gets a game
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 8:32am

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