This post was guest-blogged by Vittorio P.
Don’t panic! It was only a draw!
Ciao, amici, and welcome back to another edition of STTBS. After scraping a tense, exhausting stalemate from Fiorentina, the grind continues for a Juventus which, if you believe the press, are suffering their first official “doubts” of this new, more difficult season.
The antidote? Lavoro, lavoro, lavoro! Juventus host Roma at home, followed by another Champions League fixture vs. Shaktar Dontesk, also a home match. Will there be any turnover, and if so, who will be rested? Who will Conte punish for the lackluster display in Tuscany? Let the speculation begin!
In the meantime, here’s the news.
- Support for Pirlo
Amidst growing concern at Andrea Pirlo’s relatively disappointing start to the season, voices are being raised on his behalf. This comes in the wake of Pirlo’s shocking substitution by Paul Pogba in the second half of the Fiorentina match, a veritable Haley’s Comet-type occurrence for a player who usually plays every minute.
From Paris, PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti offered support for his former player:
Players can go through moments of difficulty. It’s not the first time that it has happened. Juventus can remain calm because you’ll soon see that he will return to his old self.
Ancelotti also rejects the idea that Pirlo should retire from international football:
I don’t think that [quitting] will happen at all. Andrea is very attached to the Azzurri shirt and I doubt anything has changed in that regard.
Closer to home, Massimo Carrera chalks up Andrea’s poor form to a lack of training sessions during this grueling stretch to the season in which Juve are balancing two competitions:
We have to find a way to let (Pirlo) train more. By playing every three days he doesn’t have any time to train and that’s affecting him.
Let’s hope Andrea will reach his previous form sooner rather than later. Siamo con te, Andrea!
- All Roads Lead to Roma (only metaphorically – it’s a home match)
Hopefully the lessons from the Fiorentina draw were fully absorbed in a hurry, as the busy Bianconeri have quickly shifted their focus to Saturday’s clash against Roma at Juventus Stadium.
According to Juventus.com, yesterday a reduced squad took part in a seven-a-side practice match, followed by gym work. Those who struggled against Fiorentina received the standard “warm-down” treatment (what exactly does that entail?)
The full squad will take the field this afternoon for what we hope is one of Conte’s more inspiring training sessions. Friday’s session will likely be followed by Massimo Carrera’s press conference.
- All Quiet on the Zemanlandia Front
So far, there’s been an eerie calm over the Serie A landscape due to a suspicious lack of mouth-running in the press by Bianconeri archenemy Zdenek Zeman. Of course, the official press conference is tomorrow, so we can probably expect if not a storm, at least some drizzle.
Meanwhile, it is heartening to view the recent behavior of old Juventus players toward the ever-offensive Czech coach, who lest we forget besmirched Juve’s good name with his doping allegations in the late 90s.
Exhibit A: Ciro Ferrara conspicuously failing to shake Zeman’s hand before or after the Sampdoria-Roma match. Zeman, for his part, has publicly stated that it is the younger coach’s responsibility to initiate the handshake. But Ferrara’s pre-match comments seemed to preclude that gesture of good will:
During my 20 years as a player he has made statements that have damaged the image of myself and my club at the time, Juventus. For this, and because of the hard work my teammates and myself put on the pitch during that time, I can’t accept him.
Bravo, Ciro! Add that to Gianluca Vialli’s recent verbal lashing on Sky Italia Radio24:
Zeman is a very intelligent person. But he is also a great bastard fighting battles that others would prefer to forget. He has cast a shadow over my career and that of Del Piero and he has not yet apologized for this.
Grande, Gianluca! Although the best retort will be thrashing Roma on Saturday.
In any case, expect a more interesting press conference than usual tomorrow.
- Fiorentina Very Pleased With Themselves
As reported by Juventiknows’ own Adam Digby for ESPN, Fiorentina are wringing the absolute most amount of pleasure and self-esteem from Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Juventus.
The club’s CEO, Sandro Menucci, told Sky Italia that Fiorentina had “destroyed Juve”. Here’s the quote in full:
It gives me great satisfaction to see our team destroy Juventus. We played our game and if there was a winner on points it was undoubtedly us. I’m glad we repaid this extraordinary crowd with a wonderful show, Juve were more humble and submissive tonight than we have seen for a long time. There is a hint of regret of course but for me it is like a victory!
“Submissive”? Sounds like Menucci’s anti-Juve sentiments are getting kinky! To each his own, I guess.
- Juventus Stadium’s Turin Assist
Juve is an active participant in the city of Turin’s bid to become the official European Capital of Sport for 2015, according to Juventus.com.
Mayor Piero Fassino and Minister for Sport and Leisure Stefano Gallo officially presented Turin’s official bid in July. Today, a team of European Delegates inspected the city’s facilities, culminating in a trip to Juventus Stadium, where they were greeted by club director Aldo Mazzia and given a tour of the “stunning purpose built arena”. Sounds impressive, as I imagine it actually is.
The decision will be announced next month. In bocca al luppo, Torino (the city, not the team)!
- Tickets On Sale for Shaktar Champions League Match
Want to witness Juve’s first home match in the Champions League since 2009? Well, act fast!
Juventus.com reports that tickets go on sale today to the general public for next Wednesday’s match against Ukrainian champions Shaktar Donetsk. According to the site, tickets can be purchased from “the Call Center, Listicket website and participating Lis sales points.” I assume the website would work for non-Italian residents, but Italians are obviously at an advantage.
Also, the site expects this match to be “mouth-watering”. Kind of gross, no?
Here’s an English-language link: http://www.listicket.it/segnalazioni/?IdSegnalazioni=2964&S=&lang=EN
- FIFA 13 Juventus Player Ratings
In what is surely joyous news for one and all, FIFA 13 was released this week on all platforms. Now, you may ask yourself: what are the player ratings for Juve?
According to this YouTube video (claims to be official, but not verified), here are the ratings for Juve’s usual starting 11:
Gigi Buffon: 87
Andrea Barzagli: 84
Leonardo Bonucci: 80
Giorgio “of the Jungle” Chiellini: 84
Andrea Pirlo: 87
Stephan Lichtsteiner: 82
Arturo Vidal: 84
Claudio Marchisio: 84
Kwadwo Asamoah: 79
Sebastian Giovinco: 82
Mirko Vucinic: 82
Evidently, several players have improved following last year’s triumph. I personally think Asamoah should be rated higher, but that’s what online updates are for, no? Sadly, at press time there’s no confirmation of the rumored “Bonucci Panic Button!” feature, nor if Vidal is immune to ankle injuries.
For those who are more interested in graphics, here’s a video comparing the faces of Juve players in FIFA 13 vs. Pro Evolution Soccer 13. Opinions welcome!
That’s all for today. Remember, Juventus vs. Roma on Saturday. Tune in Friday for the Roma match preview and TeamEATS!
[STTBS]: Cronaca Juve is a daily feature where the JuventiKnows editorial team discusses the JuveNews stories you need to read, without the “Messi signs for Juve on loan thanks to Nike” kind of nonsense. What does [STTBS] mean? You’ll have to guess that for yourself. We wouldn’t tell you even under pain of torture… (though we do take bribes)