Myself and my fellow Juvefc.com writers were recently invited to answer a series of topical and thought provoking questions for the site as part of a round table discussion. They surrounded views on hopes, fears, transfers and formations. A nice early season discussion to get the thinking juices flowing I’m sure you’ll agree. Not wanting to steal the thunder from the Juvefc guys I have posted part one here, part two coming soon….
What are the objectives for the upcoming season?
Our joint objective is to defend the Scudetto, to maintain our dominance over the rest of Serie A is paramount given the apparent resurgence of the Milanese and the sustained challenge of Roma and Napoli. The Coppa is an added bonus and I’d gladly sacrifice it for 3 points in the league or winning a Champions League tie, I think we all would.
That brings me on to the Champions League itself; in my opinion this is just shading the Scudetto as our number one priority. We have made massive strides in the competition over the last 3 or 4 years. To prove we’re not a fluke we have to reach the semi final, minimum. We certainly have the quality to do so, much depends on the luck of the draw, but we certainly didn’t do it the easy way last season. An early season test against Barca will demonstrate how far we have progressed and a sustained and successful Champions League campaign will prove how the new signings have strengthened our squad depth.
I would like to see a more ruthless side to our game, too often last season we failed to kill off games and chose to sit back and see the game out. By going for the win early and decisively we’ll be able to relax as the game progresses.
Finally I would also like to see a much needed boost the entertainment department. I have previously described the majority of our performances last season, especially early on, as ‘workmanlike’. This was maybe partly due to the personnel at Allegri’s disposal, but a flair based, attacking game, where permitted, would be a very nice addition. The signings of Bernardeschi, Costa and Cuadrado will help this. Matuidi will also help as he will give Pjanic more licence to influence the attack.
Who are the biggest threat to us winning the Scudetto?
I have rounded it down to two, Roma and Napoli. They have proved they can last a title race and were the best teams we faced domestically last year. They’re both in the Champions League groups which will help them compete with the best teams on a more consistent basis.
I said at the time of our Coppa Semi final against Napoli that they would win the Scudetto within the next few years. I have a little jealousy of their playing style as it is very aesthetically pleasing, only their management can hold them back as at times I have found them to be both crass and unprofessional.
Roma pushed us all the way last year and with some greater consistency they may well have won it all. Now the Totti pantomime is over I see them moving forward to greater things, if they can keep hold of their better players they too will challenge mightily for the Scudetto soon.
Outside of those I guess the Milanese should be mentioned too. In my opinion they have bought some players (with a horribly cheap and nasty ‘fantasy football’ feel about it), they have absolutely not crafted a squad. That is the difference. Winning a league title in England or France may be easy enough for the oil rich, but even they took a couple of seasons to fully rise to the top. Neither Milan club has that winning mentality, yet.
What would be your preferred starting line-up and formation?
I would like to see Allegri play an actual defensive midfielder, not only do we have one now, possibly two with Marchisio, but Bonucci’s sweeper/defensive midfield qualities will be missed. A 4-1-3-2 or 4-1-4-1 formation would be preferable. The starting line up picks itself really and I don’t see any of my fellow scribes deviating much from this.
Simply substitute one of the front two for Khedira or Marchisio where necessary to make up the 4-1-4-1. There is also the possibility of Howedes replacing Lichtsteiner, depending on the form of both.