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Monday November 25 2013
Juventus turn up the heat

With Roma yet to play, the weekend saw the chasing pack get a chance to make up ground. Giancarlo Rinaldi rounds up who took their opportunities – and who let them slip.

It is the mark of champions that they mess things up much less than their would-be rivals. Cutting out silly mistakes and avoidable defeats or draws is a key element to winning trophies. And Juventus gave proof of their proficiency in that department once again at the weekend.

With Roma to play a Monday night match there was a shot for all the sides trailing in the wake of Rudi Garcia’s men to play a little catch-up. For most of them, the pressure of the situation proved too much to take. That was not the case for Antonio Conte’s team, however, despite taking a makeshift defence on the road to Livorno.

It will have cheered Bianconeri everywhere to see the names on the scoresheet too. Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente are starting to become exactly the kind of double act everyone at the club hoped they would be. It allowed an overtaking manoeuvre which will test the resolve of the Giallorossi when they go into action against Cagliari.

“Every game we play together things get better and better,” said Juve’s Spanish striker in words about his partnership with the Argentine front man which had an ominous ring. “We are getting to know each other more and more and every match we get stronger physically. We did what we had to do and we hope to keep going like that – starting with Copenhagen in the Champions League.”

It was all in stark contrast to the efforts of some of the other sides in the upper reaches of the table who could have made a move forward themselves. Napoli, Fiorentina and Verona all suffered single goal defeats which left them standing still instead of advancing. Each one will have lessons to learn from how they were defeated.

First to taste the bitter pill were Rafa Benitez’s men on Saturday night at home to Parma. An Antonio Cassano strike was enough to decide the game and have the boy from Bari dreaming about a return to La Nazionale. “I am pleased for the goal and, of course, I still think about playing for the Azzurri,” he admitted. “If I go to Brazil I would be happy but, if not, I’ll spend time with my family and go on a holiday to the beach.”

As for the Viola, they flattered to deceive before slipping behind to a Thomas Heurtaux goal in Udine. After that they played some pretty patterns but showed a total lack of cutting edge as Francesco Guidolin’s men got a vital victory for their relegation worries. As for Vincenzo Montella, he might have wanted to pull the purple scarf he was wearing up over his head in frustration. This was not his team’s finest hour and underlined that even a top three finish requires quite a stretch of the imagination.

Defeat will have hurt most for Hellas. To lose a derby game is always a painful experience but to succumb to a side as low on confidence as Chievo will have stung all the more. The Flying Donkeys now lead 2-1 in their encounters in Serie A.

Even Inter, in Sunday’s night game, could not really take advantage of the slip-ups of all those around them. Having fallen behind when Panagiotis Kone finished off a fine, sweeping counter-attack they looked to have paved the way for a comeback with a deflected Jonathan shot early in the second half. However, try as they might they could not quite snap the resolve of Stefano Pioli’s battling side and had to settle for a share of the points.

But nobody took their weekend result more badly than the fans in the San Siro. A home draw with Genoa might be thought of as frustrating but when you have a penalty and most of the match against 10 men to turn things around it takes on a more terrifying aspect. Certainly, for some Rossonero diehards, it was simply too much to take.

And so, after the banners urging their team to show some fight, a group of fans waited outside the ground to voice their displeasure. If they thought that was going to get rid of Max Allegri, they will clearly have to think again – at least for the time being. “I’m absolutely not thinking about stepping down,” he insisted. “We need to have patience and not make a drama out of the situation, Milan will rise again. Now we will go to Glasgow to play Celtic in the Champions League to try to make the knock-out stages.”  Anyone who has seen them play of late, however, must question how realistic a prospect that is and – furthermore – how desirable it would be for this team to cross swords with some of Europe’s elite.

The weekend’s other games saw Catania crushed by Torino, Sassuolo stride out of the drop zone with a win over Atalanta and an epic finale to Sinisa Mihajlovic’s debut on the Sampdoria bench against another of his old teams, Lazio. Leading 1-0 but down to 10 men it looked like the Blucerchiati would hold on for a win but a late, late Lorik Cana goal allowed the visitors to salvage a draw. Miha will be pleased with how his boys battled, but whether that is enough to save their Serie A lives is a matter for some debate.

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Have your say...
@Dennis

Ive heard of him but not anything spectacular. Anyways, we share some views on players which im happy to hear. SES have a lot to prove but I have faith in him. Overall he seems to be a very down to earth guy with skills and those kinds of players usually go far.
on the 30th November, 2013 at 7:34pm
If you have not heard of Daniele Massaro and you are a Milan fan then something is wrong. Where did I say De Sciglio was garbage? said the jury is still out as the phrase promising youngster means little. Bonera was a promising youngster but look at him and his career. I am sure you were talking about SES but I still insist he still has plenty to prove. PS just because I do not agree with your assessment of players does not make me a hater. I have just watched too much football and seen better
on the 30th November, 2013 at 3:59pm
@Dennis

Your aware that De Sciglio is one of the most promising youngster in Italy at the moment right? He has not been garbage at all. He just not been as amazing as he's first half of the season. The guy is 21 years old and balo kind of stole hes thunder. Im convinced he will blossom again. Never heard of Massaro and I watch milan and follow everything around them religiously. Doubt hes better then balo, ses, niang,pazzini..even matri


Have some patience. Hater/
on the 29th November, 2013 at 11:32pm
@MH Ambrosini compared to Rijkaard, Ancelotti, Pirlo, Albertini, Boban, Gullit n Donadoni is average but not compared to Monti,De Jong, Muntari et al. As for Massaro he is as good or better than most of the strikers you have now. @Viktor do you not think that SES is dining out a lot on a decent 6 months? The guy has been garbage since January, mental fatigue or not. I have never seen Saponara play but there is nowt special about De Jong, Niang & d much vaunted Honda. Jury still out on De Sciglio
on the 29th November, 2013 at 4:59pm
@Maldini's Heir i'm from Indonesia, have no Italian blood at all, yet I've been supporting Juve for 17 years, since I was in school. I supported them even when they demoted to serie b. The Juventus Club Indonesia was found several years ago before the last streak of scudetti Juve has, has a lot of members. Doesn't matter where you come from, or what blood you have, Juve has fans everywhere who supported them always
on the 29th November, 2013 at 4:30am
Ahem! Maldini`s Heir, I`m from Canada and I have family in, boston,montreal,toronto,"MILAN" and "TURIN" that`s right.love the Bruins hate the Habs and don`t like the Maple Leafs.I Like Ac Milan and hate Inter Milan,and LOVE JUVE.,.,..TO like or follow something doesn`t mean you have to be from there, that`s being immature and narrow minded.That`s the beauty of 'free will' it`s to pick and choose.I was happy that Milan won against Celtic they put in a fine performance. Bonera not bad!!....
on the 29th November, 2013 at 4:29am
@dennis

Let's break it down for you.

Balotelli, kaka, de scigilio, abate, monti, ses, de jong, niang, saponara, Honda coming soon,list goes on. They definitely have a better squad their current placement. It's 90% allegris fault. He need to grow a pair.
on the 28th November, 2013 at 4:53pm
@ Italian in Canada well I guess it's because the only reason people would support juve is because they're the most successful. They're glory supporters not to put too fine a point on it.
on the 28th November, 2013 at 12:45pm
@ Dennis Of course Ambrosini and massaro deserve respect but they were pretty average players. They were in fairness surrounded by some world class players. You mention helveg and simic. Both were pretty average and both won league titles and the latter a champions league medal. Jimmy traore won a champions league for god sake. The point I'm making is lots of average (and in the case of traore below average) players have had success when their managers have got the best out of them.
on the 28th November, 2013 at 12:34pm
I must say that I like watching Roma. Against Cagliari, if Maicon could have delivered a final ball then it might have been different. I also thot the subs were bad as Florenzi might not be too technical but he gives you 100% unlike that big headed idiot Llajic that feels he is Maradona. As soon as I saw Boriello come on, I thot they might not score and I also thot bringing on Bradley to play right back in place of Maicon made little sense. Relying too much of Pjanic at the moment.
on the 27th November, 2013 at 8:23pm
@Maldini's heir I must say I find some of your posts very baffling. How can you compare Massaro and Ambrosini to the other names you mentioned? I am not a huge fan of either player but they do deserve to me mentioned in Milan folklore. Constant really? He is no more than a Helveg, Simic, Andreas Andersson or Jon Dahl, players I scratch my head seeing in a Milan shirt. Do you really think Heynckes would do anything with this squad? I don't rate Allegri at all but this Milan squad is poor.
on the 27th November, 2013 at 8:10pm
@Maldini's Heir -- I'm personally from Rossano Veneto, but my family is from all over Italy, some originating in the Piedmont. My grandmother is from Naples. I have an aunt from Florence. I share my surname name with a Sampdoria player. :-) Why does the origin of a Juve fan matter?
on the 27th November, 2013 at 6:04pm
@ viktor I was delighted with the game last night but as I've said in the other blog I'm baffled how milan can do one thing in Europe and almost the opposite in the league. And juve seem to be the reverse. It's bizarre
on the 27th November, 2013 at 3:46pm
@maldinis heir

Your joking no? You are not pleased with tonight's victory? We could have scored 1-2 more easily (just as Celtic could have scored 1-2 also)

We played bonera (that for reason did just above average) and same with urby. I wish de scigilio and ses we're fit. I'm curious to see kaka and ses together as they both have an incredible work rate. Curiously enough as soon as balo scored he started running and de more in 45 mins then in 6 games
on the 27th November, 2013 at 1:39am
Quick question all you juve fans. Hands up I you were born or live or have any connection to Turin? One at a time come on. And yes I can say all 3 for milan
on the 26th November, 2013 at 11:03pm
What do any of us really know? Milan cannot pick up a win against the bottom team in serie a and go to Celtic and win 3:0. They're only other decent performances this year have been against barca and psv. In the league nothing. Meanwhile juve are shocking in Europe. It has to be psychological. There's no other explanation. We were even lucky tonight. How does that work? No luck in serie a and luck in champions league? What do any of us actually know?
on the 26th November, 2013 at 11:01pm
@Anonymous

So are you saying juve were undefeated before because manipulated the system? LOL stay away from drugs please.

Joke club? LOL

Serie A: 29 + 2 (revoked)
Coppa: 9
Super Coppa: 6
UCL: 2
UEFA Winners: 1
UEFA Cup: 1
UEFA Intertoto cup: 1
UEFA Super cup: 2
Intercontinental cup: 2

Does your club own a stadium ? Calciopoli? go ask Inter please!

Please stay away from drugs!!!

FORZA JUVE HAHAHAHA
on the 26th November, 2013 at 8:47pm
a Madini's Heir, Milan need a world class coach like Juup Heynckes from last years bayern team, Milan have a very good team they just need to tweak and shift some players around. Not to mention use a 3/4/2/1 formation where really the midfield is the real issue.I say stick with it, and use the right players for that formation.Oh and why isn`t Allegri not using Bonera in defense he`s really good, and what about Nocerino a great support striker or winger.Use what you got and get the best of it..
on the 26th November, 2013 at 8:20pm
@Balodiver.

Where are the Roma fans you ask? Right here if you must know. Still undefeated without manipulating the system. You really think anyone takes Juventus Football Club seriously anymore? Joke club/plastic fans/cheats/despised throughout Europe. They have alot going for them lol
on the 26th November, 2013 at 6:35pm
Juve back on top after week 13 despite all the difficult fixtures at the beggining of the season is true mark of champion! Remain there juve till eternity. Roma and Napoli will continue droping points. Forza juve!
on the 26th November, 2013 at 3:10pm
Juve turn up the heat but we are still fighting hard. Against Cagliari and Sassuolo we dominated both games but largely down to bad luck failed to win both. We need Totti and Destro back asap. We need to show more composure in front of goal we are creating the chances. Last night we where very unlucky, plus clear penalty. Juve are favourites and may win the league but we will fight to the end. If we finish 2nd then I will be very proud of my team. Forza Roma
on the 26th November, 2013 at 1:15pm
@ Luca you make some good points particularly about Milanello. I do think people are focusing too much on the players. Constant does not deserve the treatment he's getting. How are players like Constant and Zapata any different to the likes of Ambrosini, Massaro, Bruno N'Gotty, Luigi Sala and Guglielminpietro. These are all average players who won Scudetti with Milan. Average players can suddenly become a little better than average with the right coach and the right environment
on the 26th November, 2013 at 12:03pm
The criticism of Milan this week and the latest outburst from Boban I think is a little harsh. There's no doubt that Milan are suffering some bad karma as a result of Silvio's bunga bunga parties. Someone has it in for us. But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Saturday was a ridiculous match. Milan should have won. For Boban to criticise Balo now when he's toned down his image and is playing for the team is unhelpful to say the least.
on the 26th November, 2013 at 11:59am
@ Andy I completely agree. I cannot believe Juve fans complaining about Serie A. Even if they don't win the league this year. It'll be interesting to see if they can turn things around in Europe.
on the 26th November, 2013 at 11:55am
Whilst watching the Juventus game, what shocked me the most was seeing that Padoin was actually making a contribution to the team. He's still a below average player who shouldn't really get a starting place but he played decent. All Juventus need to do now is wait until January and strengthen the team on the wings, maybe add a decent midfielder that can impact coming off the bench and I think the title should be in the bag.
on the 26th November, 2013 at 9:37am
YESSSS JUVE FINALLY WHERE WE BELONG, BACK AT THE TOP !! :D
on the 26th November, 2013 at 8:31am
People forget that Juve had a very difficult draw to start the season in Serie A. They have already played all of the real contenders other than Roma. Yet they are still in first place after round 13.

The fixtures get easier for them now while everyone else's ramp up. Time to make some hay in Serie A.

If Juve can stay strong and can get through to the knock-outs in the CL, this could be a special season yet for the bianconeri.
on the 26th November, 2013 at 12:52am
I don't see roma fans around anymore, where are they? The only thing roma can escape defeat or have the 11 wins streaks it's just because they didn't meet juve during the first 11 matches.

So lucky they will meet somewhere between week 18 - 20 anyway 4 goals again for juve? hahaha


Forza Juve
on the 26th November, 2013 at 12:35am
happy to see Roma dropped points~
on the 26th November, 2013 at 12:10am
I have seen some Juve fans critical of their team's performance when they just managed to squeeze out a win in matches where their squad was out of form. They should realize that is the true mark of champions - the ability to win no matter what. Consistency is king in the league, and Juventus have brought consistency like no other team in Serie A. You have to respect them for that if nothing else.
on the 25th November, 2013 at 8:44pm

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