Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Luca Cetta On February - 16 - 2012

Parma Draw Typifying Juve’s Provincial Struggles

Parma and Juventus played out a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Ennio Tardini on Wednesday night in their rescheduled round 21 match, postponed at the start of February due to heavy snowfall.

The result means Juve failed to leapfrog Milan and reclaim first place in Serie A, but moved to within one point of the Rossoneri with another game in hand still to play.

Juventus created the better chances and almost struck immediately, but Giorgio Chiellini’s header hit the base of the post. Mirko Vucinic wasted a counter-attack and on the stroke of half time Nicola Pavarini had to rush off his line to smoother a dangerous Alessandro Matri moment.

Parma increasingly came out of their shell in the second half and Sebastian Giovinco was the focal point of their attacking thrusts. First he burst between the defence and around Gianluigi Buffon, but the angle was too narrow. Then, Parma penalty appeals were turned down as Giovinco went down under a challenge from Andrea Barzagli.

As Juve grew desperate for a winner, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio both came close from distance and substitute Emanuele Giaccherini was denied by a wonderful Pavarini stop. Pirlo fell under the weight of Jonathan’s challenge in injury time, however no penalty was given.

It was another frustrating match for Juve, who once again struggled against a provincial side. Their tenth draw is the equal-highest along with Napoli. Whether Chievo, Siena or Parma, the story has been the same. 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, the situation has not changed. Juve lacks penetration against compact defensive units.

Finishing with 59% possession and 17 shots to five, Juve dominated but Parma had numbers behind the ball and were relatively comfortable. Up front Matri and Vucinic fashioned few clear-cut chances and were ineffective with their backs to goal. The Montenegrin was amassed eight of Juve’s total shot count, yet rarely did he trouble Pavarini. Vucinic is out of form and does not possess the goal threat Juve requires.

Out wide, Marcelo Estigarribia offered little in comparison to Giaccherini, who was busy after coming off the bench. Bursting past the Parma defensive line twice brought about Juve’s best chance and a penalty shout. Estigarribia did not have that same impact.

Pirlo saw less of the ball than usual, in turn creating less, caused in part by Parma’s increased pressing as the match wore on. He completed 50 passes, a figure down on his average (around 80). On a side note, had Pirlo not fallen at the end, he could have tested Pavarini with a shot on goal.

It was the trio of defenders dominating the pass statistic, with Chiellini (73 passes), Barzagli (61) and Leonardo Bonucci (60) all involved in an attacking sense, but their numbers highlight the fact Juve struggled to break through. Bonucci was assured defensively and while Giovinco caused Barzagli a headache on occasion, the former Palermo man was solid enough. Chiellini was unflappable and confident defensively all night.

Arturo Vidal was yellow carded and misses the Saturday night visit of Catania. It is must win for Juve after successive 0-0 draws. Up against another provincial outfit Juventus must find its cutting edge.

Should Antonio Conte continue with the 3-5-2 formation, the Chilean’s absence would best be covered by Giaccherini, who will add dynamism and drive in the centre of midfield. Paolo De Ceglie must be considered to start in place of Estigarribia, with the on-loan winger struggling to carve out opportunities. On the other hand De Ceglie has looked confident in an attacking sense in recent appearances. Up front is another concern, with Vucinic not clinical enough and after the goalless draws a change is required. Fabio Quagliarella was his replacement in Parma and would be better suited to partner Matri.

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