Thursday November 8 2012
Juve's qualification questions

Scott Fleming studies Juventus’ chances of Champions League progression after their rout of Nordsjaelland

There couldn't have been a bigger question mark hanging over the Juventus Stadium last night if the Riddler had made it his new lair. In the aftermath of their first defeat in 49 games last Saturday, it felt as if Juve were guests on the Jerry Springer show, their issues being painfully raked over in public.

Angelo Alessio was blamed for not being Antonio Conte. Nicklas Bendtner was blamed for not being the fabled top player. And director general Beppe Marotta was accused of being a sarcastic so-and-so by Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni.

One loss wouldn't constitute a crisis anywhere else in the world, but this is Turin, where they'd forgotten what defeat looked like. The Juventus Stadium had never witnessed one. It was easy to look at Saturday's result and suddenly see the entire season through a prism of negativity, to perceive the narrow victories over Bologna, Catania and Siena as lucky, not gritty.

Against that backdrop of abrupt insecurity, the Bianconeri could have done with a run of the mill League match to get back into the groove, but instead they were plunged right into one of the campaign's biggest games, and confronted with another remarkable record. Only this was one they had no interest in continuing.

Not since August 2010 had Juventus won a European fixture. You had to go back even further, to November 2009, to find their last Champions League victory.

Granted, the opposition were hardly daunting. But in the reverse fixture in Copenhagen, Nordsjaelland had proved they were not the duds the six goals they conceded to Shakhtar Donetsk and Chelsea without reply had suggested.

The nerves were washed away within 23 minutes however, by a chariot charge from midfield lieutenants Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal. Marchisio flashed a low Mauricio Isla cross into the net and Vidal – so often the embodiment of Juve's spirit – somehow managed to score with a sliding tackle.

By the time Sebastian Giovinco whipped in a lovely third La Vecchia Signora were enjoying handing out their second hiding of the season, Zdenek Zeman's Roma being the other victims. Substitute Fabio Quagliarella nodded in a fourth late on and with Chelsea and Shakhtar drawing 2-2 in London, it looked like being a perfect night for Conte and co.

Until Victor Moses struck in the 94th minute at Stamford Bridge that is. Little wonder Conte apparently exploded into rage when he heard someone celebrating the goal in the Press room. His side are now left needing to take four points from their last two games, at home to tournament holders Chelsea, and away to a formidable Shakhtar side that ran them ragged at times in Turin, to qualify for the last 16.

The claims that Juve could actually be in contention to win the Champions League this season always seemed excessive, but what did seem certain was that this was a side that could be relied upon to uphold the reputation of Italian football. And with only two Serie A representatives in Europe's top club competition this year, boy did we need them to.

The prospect of their elimination at the group stage is therefore a frightening one. But what Conte's side proved last night, for the umpteenth time during this tenure, is that they can deliver under pressure. Maybe it’s Chelsea and Shakhtar who should be frightened...

Have your say...
Onofrio - a draw v Shaktar will be enough as both Juve and Chelski will have 10 points - but as Juve beat Chelski in Turin then they would have a better head to head. A draw v an already qualified Shaktar is 100% certain but MUST beat Chelski. The forwards need to prove themselves esp Matri and Gio
on the 10th November, 2012 at 4:43pm
Let's be realistic, both games are going to be extremely tough. I believe Juventus "can" qualify for the knockout stages but don't want to build them up to be left disapointed like the 2012 Euro final...
on the 10th November, 2012 at 12:15pm
vucinec is to lazy way to lazy hes work ethic is below par in my opinion and he is one of the culprits who slow a good counter down along with pirlo and vidal thats what kills mattri and quag as well, the fact that every good counter juve have one of them three wants to dwell on the ball get dispossessed or go sideways instead of forward its annoying,the ball doesn't go forward quick enough or often enough on a counter and juve end up playing in front of a back four instead of in behind
on the 9th November, 2012 at 10:02pm
Juve will win both games remaining and will go through as the winner of the group. The UCL trophy is coming back to Turin this year!
on the 9th November, 2012 at 7:44pm
Which now means, Matri's had, what, 2 good games this season? As for the movement, I'd suggest you look at Quagliarella's goals this year, most of them were assisted nicely by other players but he's done his part by moving into the right position for a tap-in. Classic examples would be his goals against Chelsea, Bologna and the one you mentioned earlier, where you mentioned only Matri's assist.
Newspapers are reporting a possible Vučinić-Quagliarella attack against Pescara, I'd like that.
on the 9th November, 2012 at 7:04pm
who got the assist for guags goal the other night personally i would play them both guag and matri ,matri movement is the best juventus have by a country mile he gets in better positions than any of the other strikers thats obvious to see you have to be in the position to score and he definitely gets into them.he needs games and if he gets games he will score i have no doubt i would say hes trying to hard at the moment but for me hes the best they have with the work rate and positional sense .
on the 9th November, 2012 at 3:51pm
@Sarcasm: What English curse? The one that saw Pirlo do "il cucchiaio" in the Euros, perhaps?
Chelsea are a poor team and have been very lucky. Unfortunately for them, they're going to meet a very angry Juventus at a bad time and so they're going to be cursing their bad luck. Shaktar are a great team who could already be qualified by the time Juve meet them so anything can happen.
on the 9th November, 2012 at 2:48pm
@paul: Quagliarella moves better and, in fact, scores. What I find frustrating with Matri is that, as a striker of his calibe, he should be killing off teams with the chances he gets but instead, he's missing them. He'd be a good supersub until he regains form but that's it.
on the 9th November, 2012 at 2:21pm
quagliarella has to start against chelsea he might not be a wow player but he gets the job done, so far the amount of goals scored in ratio to the amount of time he has actually spent on the field is incredible its better than any other in italy including el sharawi. We cant have 2 different strikers every time we play its not making sense, especially when only vuci,quagliarella and giovinco are any good at all.
on the 9th November, 2012 at 10:41am
@ cile how can you find form as a striker if you don't have game time, matri needs to have a run of games to regain sharpness. He's movement is better than all the others and at least he gets into scoring positions.
on the 9th November, 2012 at 10:08am
The game against Chelsea was a must win even before Chelsea scored that late goal. CL football has always been like this with Juve - getting disappointing results away against minnows, then putting in great performances against the top teams and scraping through the group stage. Shakhtar's fitness advantage is becoming less now that the rest of Europe are also well into their seasons. I could see us going there and winning.
on the 9th November, 2012 at 7:20am
@paul: Too bad he's usually shooting for row Z. And that when actually put into a scoring position. He's a top striker on his day but when off-form, he's just as awful as Bendtner and Borriello last season. I'd put him into rotation and isolate Bendtner but I wouldn't start him, not until he regains his form. In all honesty, I'd send Bendtner back as soon as January, I just can't see how he's any more useful than even Iaquinta (who, for all he's done, is finished).
on the 9th November, 2012 at 1:38am
What's with this whine u put in?

" You, Mr. Fleming, questioned qualification, and then answered yourself
'they (Juve) can deliver under pressure. Maybe it’s Chelsea and Shakhtar who should be frightened'
No objectivity !"
In d same time, he's indirectly saying that Juve Was frightened but not any more. It's about a change in situation.

D dude's wrote some prediction analysis. It's normal to predict. Beside, he still use a "maybe". Shouldn't b a problem of no objectivity.
The only "not objective" things now is d fact that at this time,
Chelsea barely won d game, while their competitor in group,juve gain convincing 4-0 win. like I said, THIS TIME.
If next symptoms show like Chelsea have better chances n they write that chelsea have more chance, it's still nrml.
So if u write prediction based on d LATEST result,this article is just as normal as usual prediction.
on the 9th November, 2012 at 12:12am
These last two remaining group stage matches in the UCL for Juve will matter a great deal to them and should reveal much about the true capabilities of the team. Juve definitely need to stand up and be counted and prove their mettle in BOTH games. Yes, they need to prove that they ARE a team of habit and a force of nature by trying to win BOTH. Without this winning mentality, forget about ordering those "Wembley final" tickets.Winning is the name of the game now!!!
on the 8th November, 2012 at 9:51pm
matri is the best juventus have got he plays on the shoulder of the defender, terry and especially louiz are vulnerable for positional sense and have to take it that chelsea and shaktar will both beat he danes so juventus need 4 points from the remaining gamesi would go with matri every game hes assist and better than the others i don't include gio in this because i dont regard him as a out and out striker more of a play maker.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 9:23pm
Alright people chill out! Inter didn't play good, Juve played bad. Remember last year both home and away they manage to win against Inter and no one talk big about it.

As long as Juventus play like Juventus (4-0 still attacking) they'll for sure going far.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 7:51pm
Whist 4 points would be enough Juve should not (and I'm sure they won't) be settling for that. The Chelsea game doesn't worry me as much as the Shakhtar Donetsk one and it's not because off them playing the Chelsea game at home ! The Ukranians have proved to be a classy and dangerous side and whoever of the top three (obviously really hope NOT Juve) is unlucky enough to drop into the Europa League, would be a strong favourite to win that competition. Still think semi finals ECL for Juve.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 5:42pm
@mustafa... what that paragraph means is coming off a loss against inter and the ensuing questions about Juve's credibility this season (that's the backdrop), Juve would've probably hoped for a normal league game that did not have the pressure this game had, to get their form back, instead the latter is what they got... the record he's talking about is the run of 7(?) european games drawn consecutively, something Juve would want to end with a win
on the 8th November, 2012 at 5:23pm
I agree with Paul, when it comes to Matri. He does get into good positions, and if given regular football, may find his touch in front of goal. He barely plays and when he does, he lacks match fitness. The only remedy for this is to give him regular football, instead of these cameo appearances.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 5:21pm
Juve are capable of achieving anything, but they - at times - have made things very difficult for themselves. Let's understand that beating Shakhtar at home is unlikely, but drawing will be possible (let's not forget the current UCL champions fell away to Shakhtar). Chelsea will be very difficult to beat at home. Juve were/are both gritty and lucky at times, and they're back in a corner - but unlike so many other times in Serie A - in UCL, this corner they might not be able to get out.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 4:30pm
By the way, I've banged on about Juve realistically getting a point in the Ukraine but does anyone actually know the scenarios needed to progress other than beating Chelsea & Shakhtar? For example, if we beat Chelsea will a draw in Donetsk be enough (if Shakhtar of course have beaten the Danes in their next game & Chelsea beat the Danes in their last game)?
on the 8th November, 2012 at 3:44pm
They can get 6pts, if they play with hunger and desire. They have shown in the past their heart. Now they have capitalize on the chances they get!

on the 8th November, 2012 at 3:38pm
D only thing dat scares me is d bad record of italian teams against d english. Otherwise, I could bet dat Juve will beat Chelsea. If u're a fan of italian football in Nigeria, u would undastand d agony of loosing to an english team. I remember hearing d commentator saying chelsea's trip to juve now looks less daunting afta moses scored. Let's hope chelsea are lured into a false sense of security.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 3:37pm
Chelseas late goal means we have to win the remaining games! If they do I can see Juve going on to do great things in the competition cos they would've come through a very tough group involving 2 great teams who can mix it with any team in Europe.

I can see us beating Chelsea at home, but Im not too sure we'll win in Donetsk? a draw is more likely! but I dont think that'll be enough as they're strong, we don't have enough fire power & Chelsea will beat the Danes... Please prove me wrong Juve.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 3:37pm
Great response last night all be it agaisnt poor opposition. Chelsea is a must win game nothign else will do. If Juve believe they can do it. The danger is chelesea only need a point as tehy will beat teh danes at home in their last game. 4 points from teh last 2 will do it Juve. We are all with you for the good of our football. Forza Juve.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 2:55pm
Its a must Win game! simple as that no matter how! would much rather prefer smashing chelksi like Athletic did! but id take a 1 nil to get the points. shaktar will not be easy but we are a doggid team and can get a point out there. Lets just hope Chelski's luck has ran out by the time they play us and we show the world and the biased reporting pundits in the UK what we are made of!

Forza Juve! bring it on
on the 8th November, 2012 at 2:10pm
Yes shaktar will be difficult as for Chelsea personally I would tell the forward to mark David louiz, he has to be one of the worse defenders in the game. Although matri didn't score last night I think he needs to start every game he makes intelegent runs and takes up some good positions i think if he can score one a few more will follow.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 1:59pm
"Against that backdrop of abrupt insecurity, the Bianconeri could have done with a run of the mill League match to get back into the groove, but instead they were plunged right into one of the campaign's biggest games, and confronted with another remarkable record. Only this was one they had no interest in continuing."

I don't understand this paragraph! Is it just me, or someone else feels the same ?
on the 8th November, 2012 at 1:45pm
You, Mr. Fleming, questioned qualification, and then answered yourself

"they (Juve) can deliver under pressure. Maybe it’s Chelsea and Shakhtar who should be frightened"

No objectivity !
on the 8th November, 2012 at 1:43pm
Do you people not take the English curse seriously. Italian teams just don't beat the english. they get dominated and walked over. So Juve can forget about chelsea, that is a loss. It is Shaktar juve have a tiny chance against but i dont really think they are gona take it. the draw with Nordsjaelland was the lynchpin in this disaster of a cl campaign. However if juve actualy grow a pair unlike other italian teams, and be physical with the english then there is a chance.
on the 8th November, 2012 at 1:42pm

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