Friday October 4 2013
Are Juventus missing a midfielder?

No matter how good the Juventus midfield presently is, the Italian champions may still be a man light in that department. Antonio Labbate writes.

Is this Juventus squad one central midfielder short? It’s not an often heard question when you consider the Old Lady have Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba in their ranks. Especially when you ponder that, in the opinion of some, such a quartet make up the best midfield in the world game.

Whether that statement is accurate or hyperbole matters not, what is unquestionable is that boss Antonio Conte has four quality players for three roles who he can interchange during a season that could potentially still be in full swing by the first signs of spring. But lose one of those for a period of time – longer than Marchisio’s recent spell on the sidelines – in a particularly congested part of the campaign and Conte may well have to start getting inventive.

As it stands, the only other recognised central midfielder in the squad is Simone Padoin. And with all due respect to the former Atalanta player, he’s not Scudetto or Champions League material. The 29-year-old, who is also used on the flank, was catapulted up the reserve list during the summer after the decision to release Emanuele Giaccherini and Luca Marrone.

That is not a criticism of Juventus. Letting go of Giaccherini on a permanent basis and Marrone on a co-ownership was the right thing to do. Failing to bring in cover for one of those perhaps wasn’t.

The €7.5m offer Sunderland made for the Italian international had to be snapped up when you remember he was used in just 17 Serie A games and four Champions League ties last term. In the present economical climate, it would have been brave to reject such a sum for a player whose technical qualities remain questionable.

As for Marrone, who was basically used as a reserve for camouflaged sweeper Leonardo Bonucci last season, he was desperate for more regular action. At his age and with his potential, he and Juventus couldn’t afford to see him sit on a bench in anticipation of an injury crisis which may or may not arrive.

After flirting with the idea of a deadline day approach for Cagliari midfielder Radja Nainggolan, which was always likely to prove unsuccessful, the transfer window shut without any notable midfield reinforcement. As a consequence, don’t be surprised if Kwadwo Asamoah is let loose in his previous central midfield creation at some stage over the next eight months.

Having arrived in the summer of 2012 from Udinese, Asamoah was transformed into the left wing-back at the Juventus Stadium. Impressed by his power, discipline and technique, Conte unleashed the Ghanaian international with immediate results. The former Bari tactician needed a player who could succeed in one-on-one situations and Asamoah has proved over the last year that he can do just that.

“Conte has spent a lot of time explaining things to me since I arrived,” Asamoah stated last autumn. “He’s encouraged me to try and go past my man more in training and he wants me to do the same in matches.”

Asamoah’s first five months in Turin were immense, a revelation given his positional switch. His performances did start to tail off due to the fatigue caused by the mid-season Africa Cup of Nations, but the former Torino man remains a guarantee on the left for the Bianconeri. And there lies the biggest issue in potentially having to field Asamoah in middle – replacing him on the flank. That task would be handed to Paolo De Ceglie or Federico Peluso and Juventus would be weaker for it.

“I’m here, it all depends on the Coach,” Asamoah said in July when asked about the possibility of a return to his natural role. “I’m ready to play in whatever position. The Coach uses me where he wants and I do what I know. I have no preference. At this moment in time there are two roles which I can play in and I’ll do whatever is necessary.”

That’s an offer that Conte will be hoping he doesn’t have to take up.

Have your say...
i really tink that conte should try to bring a more shaper attacker that can deliver such as lewandoski that is good on the air and on the leg that is our problem for now.
up till til i die
on the 9th November, 2013 at 7:37pm
Juve's only target in midfield has only the name of Verratti. They should do all they can to get him to Juve and be the only replacement for pirlo. Asamoah!!! i prefer to play with one player less than playing him, and two players less when isla is on the field. I prefer marchisio to pogba anytime, marchisio will always keep his feet on the ground. Pogba's mistake on the second milan goal showed his naiivity and that he still is a young kid who needs sometime to mature.
on the 10th October, 2013 at 5:57pm
Winning Seria A twice after finishing 7 th is a fantastic feat for Conte and Juve players, but winning the Champions league requires more from Conte but as Fabio Capello put it last year 3-5-2 is a regressive system I believe we can use this system but need to switch to 4-2-4 among other formations where we can empose our selves on teams and create more chances up front, I don't believe we will be able to capture the Champions league without the courage for something more from Conte
on the 6th October, 2013 at 12:19am
We do not need another CM! We need wingers or wide forwards. Giaccherini should have never been released and they should have tried to bring the likes of Nani and co. Now Conte keeps saying he needs Pepe to play a 4-3-3 but that's crap when Giovinco can and should be playing in that wide role. The personel is not the problem, just the incessant use of the 3-5-2.
on the 5th October, 2013 at 11:41pm
One thing I will agree with is that Isla is abysmal and should never wear a Juventus shirt again. Even Padoin is a better choice than him, as he can actually pass the ball to his teammates and has tactical understanding. For me Isla is now challenging Poulsen as the worst player have ever seen in black and white, and that is saying something. His performance on Wednesday was a disgrace for a professional footballer, especially for the Galatasaray equalizer, and he should be ashamed of himself.
on the 5th October, 2013 at 8:36pm
I believe Conte will only be truly appreciated when he eventually leaves Juventus. Why change a system that has won back-to-back Scudetto's? The only problem is that, apart from the Lazio games, we have not played very well this season. We have still dominated every match, but we have lacked that real cutting edge and have only conceded from individual errors. These things can easily be corrected. Remember the recent dark times and you will find we have nothing to worry or moan about.
on the 5th October, 2013 at 8:25pm
@Timo: Thanks for the lesson mate, I guess I really needed that one!

Now, here's one for you: do you know how you improve your finances ?? By hoarding your finances, and trying to generate revenue from your current assets (who are, apart from the back 3 + Buffon + Pirlo + Tevez NOTHING but mediocre)??

I'll tell you how: you SPEND.... Basics: If we'd have taken a loan of say 50m by mortgaging our stadium, and we'd buy Isco and Coentrao, we'd have paid off that 50m within 6 months. Sense ??
on the 5th October, 2013 at 2:41pm
Most of Juve fans here are having the same ideas and thought.

Juve clearly needs someone like Nedved who can cover flank. Someone who can dribble pass the player and cut into the middle with creativity. Shooting from distance too.

Perfect example are Ribery and Robben. If we have someone like these two on each flank. Liench and Asamoah can be backup on flanks or midfielder. Sell isla and de cigle. Another top striker to partner tevez and replace giovinco would be a dream.
on the 5th October, 2013 at 9:31am
Problem will be solved if Asamoah is made to play in the middle
on the 5th October, 2013 at 5:05am
All they need now crosses when attacking, wait and see by january juventus will fully on attack, llorente now getting there. Would be better getting more winger who good on delivering crosses.

Conte make the 7th place two in a row into back to back champions went to quarter final. He is no joke. Just trust in conte and juve should raise more on the transfer budget.
on the 5th October, 2013 at 3:00am
isla! biggest flop. cant pass, can't keep possession, gets caught out of position. needs to be sold. simple.
on the 5th October, 2013 at 1:10am
Who claims Juventus has the best midfield in the world? Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid have a superior midfield and I am sure there are others that do too. Juve are a class team perhaps the 1 real genuine one in Italy but Italian clubs are behind other teams in terms of having class players. Juve has always had grit but not creativity and that has harmed them in CL in the past as it is now. Having Tevez and Pirlo as the only real creative forces in your team is not enough.Should be beating Gala
on the 4th October, 2013 at 10:20pm
There is nothing wrong with the formation, it has won us back-to-back titles, and stop insinuating Conte is not flexible tactically, when he came to Juventus he brought a 4-2-4 which switched to a 4-4-2 and then 3-5-2 during the first year. If he feels a change is needed he will provide it. I agree with some of the comments on here > shonil, Moggi's Sim Card, Petar, Luca...I think we all think along the same lines. Any issue to me is the inability of our wingers to create chances.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 6:21pm
Reading some of these comments, you would think we were debating the pre-Conte Juventus that finished 7th twice, were hammered at Fulham and had to pre-qualify for the Europa League. We are back-to-back Scudetto champions and are back at the top of the Italian game. It is true that beyond the first 15 players or so, we lack quality, but we do not have the finances to pay massive transfer fees and wages for squad players. Conte has given us a Juventus to be proud of. I'm certainly proud of them.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 5:22pm
The problem with Juventus is they rely too much on long balls which is tougher to execute.They do not have any creativity in the final third.They need either a quality left winger who can get past players or a trequarista like mata.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 4:40pm
I can think of it as many factors. First, the clear drop of forms of Vidal and Marchisio, especially Marchisio who had two full years of non-stop with Juve and La Nazionale considering the Euro and Conf Cups. Even when Prandelli decides to rest Pirlo or De Rossi, he simply changes Marchisio position to fill gaps, not mentioning the injury.

Also, the wings. When one of Asamoah and lichti is out, you can see that something is wrong. No wonder Conte needed more options in the transfer window.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 4:15pm
Buy Cuadrado ASAP
on the 4th October, 2013 at 3:41pm
As brilliant Asamoah is he's no Robben, Ribery, David Silva etc...
on the 4th October, 2013 at 3:40pm
YES, juventus does have a world-class midfield, and NO, they are NOT missing an integral part of it! goals that juventus have given up lately were simply individual ERRORS. period, nothing more. juventus still are the favorites for the scudetto & CL because they are quality. just because juventus wins most games for years and then draws two games inside of a weeks time, now people start talking crazy. settle down people. the league has a long way to go yet, and juventus can advance in the CL.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 3:37pm
Adam has stolen my thunder. Juve have plenty of strikers & central midfielders, but no attacking midfielders, (wingers & trequartista's). This gives them limited tactical options. I still believe that Giovinco could do a job on the left of a front 3, just like he did when he was at Parma. Juve have also missed Pepe & I agree with those that say that selling Giaccherini was an error.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 3:20pm
I don't think padoin is that bad, for a 5th choice CM hes pretty good and he works hard and doesn't make mistakes. I think the 3-5-2 is a bad system when it comes to attacking, its too predictable. I think we need a leftback so we can switch to 4-3-3 and asamoah can add great depth to the midfield. We also need another creative midfielder playing in a more advanced role, maybe bonaventua. This team also appears to have lost hunger and conte doesn't seem to take europe as seriously as serie A.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 3:17pm
Juve have always problems with teams standing behind with eigth and nine players all the time. How can we solve that problem? More speed and fantasy in attack is the answer, in my opinion.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 3:01pm
a good midfielder wouldn't hurt, but in the meantime:
they only keep losing possession, juventus attack is good when they play between the lines and then, boom, a surprise lobbed through ball to someone unmarked
on the 4th October, 2013 at 2:41pm
I will dump Isla next season and sign D'Ambrosio from Torino for FREE!
on the 4th October, 2013 at 2:16pm
The bigger problem IMHO is weakness on the flanks. With no proper wing play and Pepe still not fit, Juve need at least 1 and maybe 2 players who can deliver a proper ball from the flanks.

Right now they are tactically challenged because without this type of player they cannot switch tactical formations or systems as necessary. Conte has complained about this, but no move has been made to rectify it.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 12:55pm
Missing a mid fielder??? Juves problem is the their 3-5-2 system not the purchase of another mid field player, Conte now has the forwards at his disposal and need to adapt to change as teams have adapted to juves present formation, smart coaches keep the opposition guessing, Conte has become to predictable and needs to be courageous and switch to 3-4-3 when needed or 4-3-3 we have the strikers for this role and the players on D ...the jig is up as they say
on the 4th October, 2013 at 12:34pm
LOL people thinking Pirlo is finished on here? Really? Watch him leave you ungrateful fans of Juve in summer join Inter and win league with them or anyone else for that matter guy is the brains of the Juve project.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 12:05pm
Selling Giancharini was never the right thing to do! Intead, offload Isla, Marone and pandoin seen that Gianch is a versitile midfielder. But it has already happened. Now, the problem is that no one can drible and shot from at most a 30 yards. What's wrong with pogba that he refuse to do that anymore. Also, over confidence of our defenders is caursing us a lot. And for tha plan B(433), let just pray and hope Pepe to be fully fit soon or Marota to surprise us wit Alex Sanches in January. 4za juve
on the 4th October, 2013 at 11:19am
@Pinturicchio07 - yeah, because Juve clearly have €18m to spend on Coentrao and €30m on Isco... This isn't fantasy football Juventus are playing. Juventus basically spent the money they recieved for transfers this summer. There was no surplus of €48m... Basic maths mate.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 11:10am
This start of the seasons struggles has nothing to do with lack of hunger, nor is it a question about the formation. It seems like the players are way too bound to the tactics, they run around like robots controlled by Conte on the touchline. Since Conte has been in charge, Juve has successfully tried to reduce the gap between themselves and better teams with mental grit but in order to take the next step, especially in Europe they have to find a way to add more cynicism and style op front.
on the 4th October, 2013 at 11:03am

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