Saturday, May 31, 2008

A look at the Old Lady, and their New Man, but for how long?

GOTTA admit to knowing very little about Juve’s Raffaele Palladino before last night.

This Juventus side was missing so many stars, and not having seen them in Europe for a couple of years, it was hard to know exactly what to expect from Claudio Raineri’s men, despite the impressive third placed finish in their first season back in the top flight.

But I gotta say, it was a mightily impressive performance, and Palladino was always at the heart of the good stuff, proving he is developing into some player.

Little wonder, on this evidence, Arsene Wenger is said to have cast an eye over him. He sure knows how to spot a player, that Wenger. Even Man Utd was reported to have been interested a year ago.

While right-sided Marco Marchionni was officially named man-of-the-match and played well, capped by a wonderful header for Juve’s third, there was no doubt it was Palladino who really caught the eye, proving the perfect link between the midfield an attack, and also bringing to question just who decides these awards.

Often, especially in the first half, it was his final ball that played his team-mates in, and on one breathtaking Juve counter, he teed up Jonathan Zebina with a delightfully weighted diagonal ball that the Frenchman should have rammed home.

Later, in the second period, after Melbourne had an excellent opening 15 minutes, Palladino moved a little further up the pitch and had a massive influence in most of Juve’s good moments.

After tucking away a penalty to restore the lead, he moved out to the left, where, when he did manage to get on the pitch, he spent most of the just-completed Serie A season (unable to get himself in the centre due to the presence of Trezeguet, Del Piero and Iaquinta), did the business on Steven Pace and whipped in a delightful left-footed cross to the back post for Marchionni to head home.

Then the real moment of class, three minutes into stoppage time; reading a superb diagonal ball from deep on the left, he managed to drift away from his marker, Sebastian Ryall, find some space, cushion the ball with a superb first touch, using his thigh, and volley it home spectacularly. Brilliant, just brilliant.

Already capped at national level by Roberto Donadoni, Palladino is certainly one to keep an eye on, and if Juve can’t quite fit him into their plans, there are others, including Fiorentina, set to pounce.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, Palladino and Juve were all class Tony, a good measurng stick of where the HAL and Melbourne in particular are at.


Sun. Jun. 01, 11:40:00 am AEST  
Blogger pippinu said...

Even without their stars, Juve looked every bit like a top 4 Serie A team.

As I Melbourne fan, I was able to enjoy Juve's class, and was thrilled any time we did anything half decent - there wasn't much time and space out there!

Let us be honest - Melbourne was way, way undermanned - and most A-League clubs would have scored 2 or 3 that night against us.

With both Vargas and Allsopp on national team dutes, we had a back 4 of Pace, Muskie, Ryall and Kemp - that's not a particularly strong back 4!

With Arch hobbling on one leg, we had a very young Elasi started up front, and he hasn't even played an A-League game yet!

And even Carlos was barely match fit (and what a thrill it was to see him score).

It was an enjoyable game to watch - the last minute goal made the final scoreline look a little worse than it deserved to be - but let's not try and read too much more into it.

Mon. Jun. 02, 10:12:00 am AEST  

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