Champions League Chelsea v Juventus

February 26, 2009

 

 

 

 

I slept only 3 hours before watching this game, as here in Melbourne it was a 645am kick off. It wasn’t what I hoped for, but the performance was not exactly surprising, given our form since christmas, in which time I haven’t seen us play like a team good enough to hold onto second in Serie A, let alone progress through the champions league knockout phase…

Player Ratings:

Buffon:
Couldn’t do much about the goal. Handled everything else as is expected of a keeper of his class. 8,10
Molinaro
An embarrassment. Both for himself and for the club. I cannot remember a player who has managed to hold down a first team berth at Juve, in 18 years of supporting the club, who I despise as much as Molinaro. He can’t tackle. He has poor pace, a lack of positional intelligence. His crossing is useless. And last night, he made Kalou look world class. That tells a story in itself. And it is largely Molinaro’s fault that we were under the kosh for the entire first 15 minutes. Such is the magnitude of his ineptitude, i would rather see Chiellini on the left, Legro, Mellberg and Grygera taking up the other defensive positions. That is, of course, unless De Ceglie is fit and available. Whatever happens during the summer break, Molinaro must not only be replaced, but sold, given away on a free, or hung. 2,10

Chiellini
He clearly isn’t yet match fit. Didn’t pass well, lacked his usual ferocious pace and spirit. Improved defensively in the second period, but his distribution was shocking. A rare poor showing earns him a 6,10.

Legro
Perhaps at fault for the goal, and lost too many aerial battles to earn a decent rating. He can play better. Its strange how his form is so affected by the form of Chiellini. He appears only able to go as high in form as his central defensive partner. Still, like Giorgio, he improved after the goal, restricting Drogba and Anelka to only a couple of half chances. 6,10.

Mellberg
A galactico in comparison to his opposite number on the left flank, but still, not fast enough to repel Anelka, who several times, could have caused more damage after passing the Swede. I prefer Grygera in this position. 6,10.

Momo
Not the inspirational, NONE SHALL PASS, performance I was expecting from our prime destroyer. He tackled well, and managed to keep Lampard away from goal for most the match, which was an accomplishment of sorts. Still, his distribution, and general control of the ball were poor. Liverpool supporters will be laughing, no doubt. But he is young, and I remain hopeful that he can become one of the greatest anchormen in the world game. Not great, but near satisfactory. 6,10.

Tiago
One gorgeous through ball to DP which almost resulted in a goal. But other than that, only noteworthy for his ability to pass the ball in a straight line, which many of his team-mates failed to do. He likes to keep it simple, but its obvious to the opposition, that the ball is going through him when Momo or centre backs bring it out of defence. 6,10.

Camo

He is world class crosser of the ball, whose crossing last night was terrible. He needs replacing in the summer, more so than Nedved, because he is injured for 80% of the season. Also, behind him in the pecking order in a player who challenges Molinaro for worst player of the season, Marchionni. a disappointing 5,10.

Nedved
worked hard, passed the ball better than everyone around him bar Tiago. One decent shot near the end, his other efforts tame enough for an 8 year old disabled girl to save. Perhaps without the injuries to Camo and Tiago, we would have seen Giovinco appear. Cheeky handball was the highlight of his game for me…or rather, his chuckle after been penalized. 6,10.

Del Piero

Tidy-ish on the ball, but muscled out of everything except the one chance created by Tiago in the first half. Other than his ability to take free kicks, he was another contender, alongside Nedved, for replacement by Giovinco. The service he received wasn’t great but still, I expect more from our captain. 6,10.

Amauri
Difficult to judge as he wasn’t found often, with anything less than two or three players to beat, by his team-mates. Well marshaled by Terry and Alex, but without decent deliveries into the box, his game was stifled. 6,10

SUBS

Marchionni
Had a decent pop with his left boot which wasn’t too far off target. Put a couple of useful balls into the area, but his general play was useless. Its a danger giving him the ball when he is surrounded by opposing players, because he wants to give it straight back. Also, his passing was unforgivable. An expected 5,10.

Marchisio
While he misplaced a couple of passes, his general play was robust, assertive and reliable. I thought he offered a greater balance in midfield than the man he replaced and he can be a threat shooting from long range. Not at his best, but that is likely due to a lack of match fitness. a respectable 7,10.

Trezeguet
His first contribution was a disgusting pass to put Chelsea on the attack, but before his 6 minutes of playing time expired, he found himself reaching the ball first, on the volley, in the box, though the finish was shameful. The fact that he got into that position shows why we have missed him so dearly these last 5 months. I was just happy to see him playing. Obviously in desperate need of time to regain match sharpness, but if he remains injury free over the next two weeks, he deserves at least 45 minutes in the return leg. He never works hard, that has never been his style, but he knows where to be in the box, and is a far easier target man to find, than Amauri. An encouraging 7,10.

Conclusion

While we could have equalized, it is also true that Chelsea could and should have extended their lead. The first 15 minutes of the game must have made the hearts of every juve supporter witnessing the spectacle, sink lower than they have done for three years, such was the excitement prior to this match. We were appalling until Drogba scored, rather fortuitously, because Kalou’s pass wasn’t intended for anyone in particular, yet Chelsea deserved their lead, like they deserved their victory overall. While we managed to weather the storm, assert ourselves on the game as the game progressed, in the latter stages our passing went to the dogs, with the team unable to string more than two passes together at a time. This is not was anyone expects of Juventus. And it must be addressed before the return leg in a fortnight.

Much of the lack of fluidity of our game can be blamed on the fitness of players. With Camo, Chiellini, Tiago and Trezeguet all working towards gaining much needed match sharpness. None of them have been consistently fit for the last few months, and this shows.

Molinaro excepted, if we can gain momentum over the next few games before we face chelsea again, we will have a fighting chance of going through. Their away form in europe is not exactly impressive, though neither is our own form presently, home or away, domestically or in europe. Still, we are fortunate to be trailing by only one goal. And we remain capable of going through.

Although we were outplayed for much of the game, the result was decided by one slip-up by our central defensive pairing. On the opposite end of the pitch, Alex and Terry were almost flawless. Credit also to Lampard and Mikel, who made progress through the middle impossible for Tiago, other than on the one occasion he managed to thread through to Del Piero.

Ranieri Rating:
With the players available, he chose the strongest team. It wasn’t his fault that we started like a bunch of amateurs. That was down to the players. His forced substitutions made sense, and I was pleased that he gave Trezeguet a run-out, which could have resulted in a goal. 7,10.


Last edited by weedguru : Today at 06:46.

 

 

 

 


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