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Juventus v AC Milan MATCH PREVIEW


With the super league saga continuing to provide dull updates, and now constant media focus on Pirlo, Max, Agnelli, Paratici…its easy to forget we have football matches to play. And this coming game against AC Milan could possibly prove pivotal in our aspirations of guaranteeing (UEFA ‘punishment’ pending) entry into the top tier of continental competition for next season.

The financial value of CL qualification is huge. Some suggest 80-90m. And its not just the money, we also have to take into account that this is the platform all players seek. To be able to offer this to potential signings, and current squad players, is paramount. For without this, it will prove much harder and more costly to draw and retain talent.

I do not believe this game is the decisive fixture. A draw, even a loss would not be the end of the road. It would just make further shadows cast on the club though I have long been of the opinion that its harder to exit the top four than to remain, for the teams outside are much weaker and haphazard. They do not have match winners able to nick a goal in tight encounters, nor do they have such deep squads.

Even with Pirlo’s ‘inexperience’, as politely as I can put it, I do not see us finishing 5th or worse. There is too much quality in the ranks regardless of tactics (or the lack of). Especially with Chiesa returning, also Morata, Ronaldo unhappy yet fit and Dybala moving rather slowly through the gears.

Both sides have most if not all of their respective squads available for selection. Pirlo may well opt to continue with a more balanced 4-4-2, which will place Chiesa on the left, Juan on the right with Bentancur and Rabiot in the middle. Expect Morata to get the start ahead of Dybala, as he is the only player capable of offering that focal point and presence in the box, also quite nifty on the counter.

At the back, we should find Sandro – De Ligt – Bonucci – Danilo. With Tek between the sticks.

Other than Chiesa, this could well see no others deployed out of their natural position. With the young italian so brimming with grinta and high octane determination that he can prove potent even on that left flank.

AC are in far from steady form. The recent heavy defeat 3-0 away to Lazio, and home 1-2 reverse to Sassuolo, was calmed to something closer to steady with the 2-0 victory over Benevento last game.

Our old friend Mandzukic is available though unlikely to feature from the start with another ex juventino Ibrahimovic leading the line and no doubt amped up to leave his mark on the fortunes of his current and former clubs. His inclusion is why I ponder that Pirlo may well opt for Chiellini to shepherd his old teammate.

At worst, a loss could see us drop to 5th. Hardly RED ALERT with points still to play for and win, at least a fair portion of, before the fat lady sings…A win could move us into 2nd, yet that will hinge upon Atalanta failing to overcome Parma. Unlikely.

I grew up with AC as not just the star studded superior side, but also one of the greatest teams I have ever since seen perform. They often played such beautiful football it was a joy to behold, even as a juventino to the core…It made little impact upon me to know we were for a fair while second best, for I loved Juve and was in awe of how AC played. A different era, yet I must offer some highlights for those who never lived through such a beautiful time for italian football…>>>

We of course had our own heroes, yet I suppose that period of falling in love with juve and calcio has ever remained within me. I loved the fight of our team, the heroics of Vialli, Ravanelli, Torricelli and those who came after, and whilst the motto remains ‘fino alle fine’, for me personally, Juve have always been about heart and fight, of competing at the highest levels even when not the best side. I really don’t give a damn about silverware, as for me, its never about what we win, its about how we play…Its not all about the winning, its about the fighting…

I dont question the support of the club by others more focused on silverware – the assumption is simply that they support the club in a different way to me. And so what eh!

What I do find remarkably strange however, and often find myself locking horns about with others I enjoy and admire as fellow juventini on social media, is the focus solely on the board and players. For my ranting of Pirlo’s appalling debut…which for me has shown zero promise of ever blossoming into a decent coach..remains the pivotal horror of our current plight on the field.

Besides this, I find the criticisms of the board very much reasonable, for they knew that a coach with zero experience would likely find problems, but this also is a criticism of Pirlo. He is a hugely experienced footballer who performed miracles often at the highest levels, played under some master coaches, and his decision to take the job, when offered – I believe – in a fit of fury by Agnelli, includes his own arrogance. For a coach needs experience. He isnt coming in fully blind as has played the game for many years and attended coaching school and been lauded for his ideas.

Pirlo is not a child. He knew what he was taking on. And I cannot shake the close to conclusive understanding of why he took the job as…He is not the most emotional of chaps. Management is something he had no interest in, then developed an interest in, and we heard rumours of his eagerness to get a full management position. Then into the U23s, probably took some persuading and promise of moving up to the big job. When Agnelli went spastic, fell foul of Sarri and threw fury at Paratici for choosing and persuading him of the merits of Sarri, Pirlo thought ‘well, I kinda like this management routine, and why not take the top role eh!’…

My cogitation leads me to assume this is how this debacle began. Not at all focused solely or even mainly on the cheap wages for Pirlo, for if the club can spend 2.5m on Christopher Lungoyi, from Lugano, then they can easily have afforded to spend a few more million on a manager, which is a hugely more important position than a striker from the swiss league destined for perhaps a run out now and then with the U23 side, if he ever joins them…

No, the financial focus makes no sense at all, unless we consider the management absolutely mangled. They are far from ideal, but they are not totally incompetent.

The point I was trying to make is this>

Pirlo is not exonerated from criticism. He knew the job he was taking on. He decided more often than was forced to change selections 35 times in 35 games. He decided to keep trying to apply his thesis when it has never worked anywhere. He must go. And if the club suggest keeping him on, if he has any love for the club, he must decline…and leave. Cut his fangs elsewhere like all other managers.

forza juve