Milos Krasic was the marquee signing for Juventus before start of this season. When Gigi Delneri took over, as coach, it was clear that Juve would need quality wingers to make his 4-4-2 system work. Krasic, a top performer for CSKA Moscow was also linked with Bayern Munich and Manchester City but made it clear that he wanted to join Juventus. After some deliberations on his price tag, Bianconeri finally signed him for a reported fee of 15 million Euros.
The Serbian quickly became a fan favourite. His desire to sign for Juve during the transfer window was one of the reasons. Krasic forked out 10,000 Euros from his own pocket so that he could attend a training session in Turin. Another big reason was the fact that he reminded fans about another blonde, Eastern European winger – Pavel Nedved.
Krasic started with a bang – providing three assists in his first three matches. Against Cagliari, the Serbian became the first Juventus midfielder to score a hattrick in ages. Everything was rosy till the Bologna match when Krasic blatantly dived to earn a penalty. He was subsequently banned by FIGC after consulting video evidence. He got injured before his ban ended and missed out for almost a month. Since coming back in November Milos’ form has significantly dropped. He did score in his comeback match but has been inconsistent since then.
Krasic hasn’t scored a Serie A goal in 3 months, while his assists have also dried up. Worse, he has been prone to quiet and insignificant performances. Juventus fans might be reminded of a similar situation with last season’s big signing – Diego. After a blistering start both Diego and Juve’s season turned into a nightmare. TheHardTackle looks at the possible causes behind Krasic’s decline.
Krasic didn’t have a pre-season break before coming to Serie A. Russian season started on 12th March, 2010, as no football is played during harsh winters. Krasic not only played for CSKA in the league but also took part in most of their UCL matches. He played every match for Serbia in the World Cup. When he joined Juventus he had already played for few months without any breaks.
Under Delneri, Krasic quickly established himself as one of the mainstays for Juventus. Lack of competent substitutes meant that Krasic started for almost all Juve matches including Coppa Italia ones. When Krasic made his Juventus debut against Bari he had practiced with rest of the team just once, days after playing for CSKA.
Like most Eastern European players, he is also blessed with excellent fitness and good work-rate. However, in last few months it looked like overload of football has taken a toll on the Serbian. A fit Krasic has never been benched often playing for entire matches.
It may not be a case of physical fatigue only; Juventus has been playing one match per week for last one month yet Krasic’s form hasn’t improved. He might be affected by mental fatigue also. Adjusting to a new country coupled with incessant football might have caused mental weariness.
Currently Krasic looks like a player, who is not only undergoing a bad patch, but also someone who lacks motivation.
Absence of supporting players
Krasic is not a conventional touchline hogging winger; instead he often cuts back from the wings. He is also a very attack minded player, who rarely tracks back. Wingers who play like this need a proper full-back playing behind them to support their forward runs. Juve has been facing problems with full-backs since 2006. This season Sorensen, Grygera and Marco Motta have played as right-backs in most matches. Grygera has functioned as a full defensive full-back, rarely venturing ahead. Motta on the other hand, was overtly offensive, leaving gaps behind. He rarely combined well with Krasic, often choosing to send a way-ward cross than passing to latter. Sorensen, 18 year old, is a centre-back, who plays as make shift right-back. He lacks attacking attributes for obvious reasons and is prone to miss-passes. So in a way Krasic has never received proper backing from the defensive players.
Gigi Delneri’s insistence on Krasic’s tracking back to help defence has somewhat blunted his impact. Every match Delneri stands on the touchline screaming “Milosh, Milosh” instructing him to help out defence.
Opposition defenders know that marking Krasic will render Juve’s wing play ineffective because they lack a quality left winger. Claudio Marchisio, a central midfielder who plays as left-winger, has a tendency to slide into a more centralized position allowing the left-back to surge forward. Problem is, other than Paolo De Ceglie, none of the left-backs are good enough, when going up. This makes Juve’s system extremely lopsided and Krasic is overworked at times.
After Quagliarella’s injury, there is an absence of mobile strikers. Quagliarella often dropped deep into midfield, dragging defenders out of position, which gave more space to Krasic. Without him Krasic gets lesser space and struggles to beat his markers.
It is not a coincidence that Krasic’s first drop in form came after De Ceglie’s injury and he has been playing even worse after Quags got injured.
Krasic has been found out
In Serie A, stifling opposition players is taken very seriously. Italian coaches spend considerable amount of time exploiting a player’s weakness. Krasic’s biggest weakness is his one footedness. He rarely uses his left foot to shoot or pass. His over reliance on the right foot makes it easier for defenders to mark him. There have been instances where he had found an opportunity to shoot or pass with his left foot; instead he tried to take it with his stronger foot – losing possession.
Krasic isn’t a great dribbler instead he relies on pace to get past defenders. His standard technique is to knock the ball past the defender with a strong push and then darting past the defender. This works fine when he is one on one with a full-back. As we already discussed Krasic is often double marked – so his second marker often intercepts when he gets past the first marker.
Even when Krasic was in blazing form, Pavel Nedved pointed out that Krasic’s shooting needs to improve. The Czech fury was spot on – Krasic’s long range shooting is indeed very poor. Most goals that he scored have come from inside the penalty box. Krasic’s crossing is also not up to the standards of a world class winger. His decision making is sometimes suspect, he chooses to pass when he has a good chance of shooting.
Branded as a Diver
What Milos Krasic did against Bologna was disgraceful and he deserved punishment for that. Since that match lot fouls on Krasic haven’t been called by refs. It seems that officials have developed a bias against the Serbian winger that he always dives. He has been kicked around by full-backs in at least two to three matches where his marker went unpunished. Krasic has struggled to cope with incessant fouling in last few matches.
Juventus have already made a mistake by letting Diego leave and must not make the same mistake with Krasic. Current Bianconeri squad desperately lacks creative players and is mostly filled up with work-man like but ordinary players. Comparisons with Nedved haven’t helped matters, as fans have unrealistic expectations from him. Krasic is an extremely good player but Nedved was in a totally different level. Krasic can still make a huge impact in Turin, should he play with better full-backs and a better left-winger. He played pretty well in first half against Milan but fizzed out in 2nd half due to lack of supply. Juventus fans would be hoping Krasic regains his form, fast.